Sir Ben Kingsley, renowned for his iconic roles in “Gandhi” and “Schindler’s List,” takes center stage once again in the heartwarming sci-fi dramedy “Jules.” The new movie is a charming tale of three seniors forming an unlikely bond while helping an alien named Jules return home. However, the strangeness surrounding Kingsley extends as his first impression of the script was that it’s a Shakespeare tragedy. Let’s dive in to know strange facts about Ben Kingsley and his new movie Jules.
1. He once posed as a corpse for eight hours straight!
In a remarkable display of commitment during the filming of Gandhi, Kingsley posed as the deceased activist on a funeral wagon for eight hours straight! Despite facing constant challenges from extras attempting to break his concentration, he maintained focus through yoga. He also earned an applause from a record-breaking crowd for his effort.
“We were to use a dummy for the scene. But [director] Richard Attenborough didn’t like it,” Kingsley told The Economic Times. However, by the end of the eight hours, the actor was hardly able to get up as he became stiff from maintaining the same position.
2. Changed his ‘nonsense name’ birth name to support his career
Born Krishna Bhanji, Kingsley, known as Krish in his youth, adopted the stage name “Ben Kingsley” in the late seventies. He deemed his birth name a “nonsense name” due to its mixed heritage. Kingsley embraced the persona of a storyteller, signing his portraits with the name he chose for his film career.
“The first name is Hindu and the second name is Muslim. Such a name would never exist in the whole of the Indian subcontinent; it’s a nonsense name. Now that I’m blessed with a film career, I see myself as a portrait artist, and for many, many years I have signed my portraits Ben Kingsley. That’s who I am.”Ben Kingsley (Radio times)
3. He is a real ‘Hermit’ when working
Kingsley, self-proclaimed as a “hermit” on set, prefers limiting social interactions with cast members off-camera. He believes this approach enhances authenticity during on-screen interactions and ensures a more genuine camaraderie when the cameras roll.
“I love to hold back that interaction until we get to the real deal of interaction, which is when we do our job in front of the camera. We’re not there to have a good time, we’re there to work.”Ben Kingsley
4. Strange coincidence when he was cast as ‘Gandhi’
The universe seemed to send a sign six days before Kingsley received the call to play Gandhi. Ben was exhausted from work and his wife had put books in front of the actor to relax. Strangely, within that pile of books, he stumbled upon a book titled “The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi.” The coincidence added a surreal layer to his portrayal of the iconic figure.
Once he received the call from the director Attenborough, he went on to tell what he was reading at the time and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
5. He demanded others call him “Sir”
Knighted for his contributions to the British film industry, Kingsley initially demanded to be called “Sir.” Jonathan Miller, a fellow knight has once referred to Ben as “a little twerp” as he was so fond of his title.
Co-star Penélope Cruz also had her share of doubts about what to call the actor during the filming of Elegy. However, someone has given her the reminder to call him “Sir Ben.”It then slipped out one day and she called him ‘Sir’ for the remainder of the shoot.
However, this preference seems to have evolved over time. He has since downplayed such requests, emphasizing his identity as Ben Kingsley rather than the title. This is one of the strange facts about Ben Kingsley.
6. Learned about his wife’s cheating from the internet
In a twist of fate, Kingsley discovered his wife’s infidelity through a German newspaper’s publication. The images on it have caught her kissing another man. The shocking revelation came at a vulnerable time for the actor, adding a personal layer to his complex life.
German-born socialite Alexander Christmann, and Ben tied the knot in 2003. Their marriage ended just after fifteen months.
“It came at a very vulnerable time for me and I was deeply, deeply shocked because until then I had no idea. It’s very difficult for a man to learn on the internet that his wife has a boyfriend.”Ben Kingsley
7. He was once nominated for the ‘Worst Supporting Actor’
Even esteemed actors have their lows. Kingsley received a Razzie Nomination for ‘Worst Supporting Actor’ in the film “Blood Rayne” (2005), showcasing the unpredictable nature of a celebrated career.
8. He has given his voice to popular video games
Beyond his cinematic prowess, Kingsley lent his voice to popular video games like “Fable III” and “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,” showcasing his versatility in the entertainment industry.
9. His own mother was bitter and jealous of him
Kingsley had a harsh childhood with a difficult relationship with his mother. When Ben was knighted, his mother had a bitter and jealous reaction. It reflected a strained relationship that never fully acknowledged the actor’s achievements. Therefore, Kingsley’s knighthood became a source of pride to him.
“My mother refused to acknowledge my knighthood, which I found bitterly hurtful. The wonderful woman who is the Queen and who is almost like a mum had said, ‘We accept you and love what you do’. But my mother refused to acknowledge it had taken place. She was embarrassed and bitter and jealous. She had a circuit missing and that made her distant and somewhat baffled by her four children, two girls and two boys. Thinking perhaps it would all go away. Adulthood? Whoa. She couldn’t handle it.”Ben Kingsley
10. His Character as an abused child coincided with His inner voice
In an interview with Larry King, Ben has revealed some surprising things about his character in ‘Sexy Beast.‘ When Larry King asked about Kingsley’s favorite role, he immediately says ‘Sexy Beast.’ Larry goes on to question the cruelty in that role. However, that ended up with Ben revealing his secrets in performing such an iconic role.
The character is about an unhealed abused child and the character has resonated with his inner voice. It’s a scream that he also has wished to take out.
“Well it was a scream that I wanted to be heard and it coincided. Sometimes your work, your craft and inner voice coincide. You find yourself privileged to scream something at the top of your voice.”Ben Kingsley
11. Biggest pet peeve is ‘Tea that’s not hot enough’
In the same interview with Larry King, Ben has said that his biggest pet peeve is ‘Tea that’s not hot enough.’ The actor went on to add, “Life’s so beautiful. That’s the only peeve.”
12. His first impression of the ‘Jules’ movie script was that it’s a Shakespeare tragedy!
Despite the lighthearted nature of “Jules,” Kingsley’s initial impression of the script was surprisingly dark, comparing it to Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Parade did an interview with Kingsley to discuss his new film and career. The interviewer Walter Scott asked Ben about his first impression of the movie script. The actor went on to explain his strange first impression. “Oh, this is a tragedy. This is like Shakespeare’s King Lear; this is heavy, dark stuff,” Ben has thought.
As Kinsgley read the script up to page 11, he realized that the movie has a similarity to classic Sci-Fi, E.T. “Yikes! No, this is E.T., this is wonderful!,” Those were his next thoughts. However, the next pages gave the hilarious setting of the movie. According to Ben’s own words, “Not overtly comedic but very funny.”
Ben Kingsley’s life and career are as multifaceted as the characters he portrays on screen. From posing as Gandhi to navigating personal challenges, Kingsley’s journey is a testament to the complexity and richness of his experiences. As he continues to captivate audiences in “Jules,” his strange and intriguing facts only add depth to the legacy of this seasoned actor. The article takes you on a ride to learn strange facts about Ben Kingsley and his new movie Jules.