Ben Kingsley to Play IRON MAN 3 Villain

May be playing a “reconfigured” version of the Mandarin.

Ben Kingsley (‘Ender’s Game,’ ‘Hugo’) is reportedly in final talks to play the villain in Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming ‘Iron Man 3.’

While Marvel has declined to confirm the actor’s deal, Variety’s sources have confirmed Kingsley ’s involvement. Although, according to the insiders  Kingsley will not be the primary villain.

Exact details as to what character he’ll be playing have yet to be announced, but THR has word that he may be playing a reconfigured version of the Mandarin, the classic villain from the ‘Iron Man’ comics.

The story is loosely based on Warren Ellis’ ‘Extremis’ series that introduced a new origin story for Iron Man and focused heavily on nanotechnology. Elements of the six-issue series had been borrowed for the first ‘Iron Man,’ making the character less of an arms dealer and more of a test pilot, with his suit being a jetfighter, of sorts.

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson are all set to reprise their roles under the direction of Shane Black (‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’), who is co-writing the script with Drew Pierce.

‘Iron Man 3’ is scheduled to begin principal photography in May.