Oscar-winner and acting legend Ben Kingsley on why he's still grafting in the acting business
An Oscar-winner for his lead role in Gandhi, Sir Ben Kingsley returns to the screens this month in a trio of roles – as a spiritual healer in Mike Myers comedy The Love Guru, a literature professor in Elegy and a pot-smoking psychiatrist in The Wackness.
This week, you feature in The Love Guru with Mike Myers, though you’re not known for comedy. What made you do it?
I know that;s a bit hocus-pocus, and I make no apologies for that, but I put a thought out there. After doing yet another really distressing role, where I committed suicide at the end of the film [House of Sand and Fog], I decided I’ve got to do some comedy and make people laugh. I’m quite good at making them cry, and now it’s time to make them laugh, and it’s starting to filter back.
Next week, you play a literature professor who becomes embroiled with his student in Elegy and then a shrink in The Wackness at the end of the month. Why so busy?
It’s happened over the last two years that I’ve had a tremendous amount of work. I welcome it and I love it. I’m very happy to participate in the film business to the fullest of my abilities, so I’m trying to produce, I’m helping writers, I’m bringing directors together on projects that I’ll hopefully act in over the next few years. It’s just some shift in the universe and suddenly I’m very busy. I really love it. The more you do, the more you want to do.
You’re 65 this year. Do you ever worry about getting old?
I go blank with this question. It never crosses my mind. I’m so busy. I’m so active. It hasn’t happened yet.
You’ve just got married for a fourth time [to actress Daniela Barbosa de Carneiro]. How’s it going?
It’s hard for actors to stay in touch with themselves and their own feelings because they’re so earnestly trying to be inside someone else’s emotional mess. But it’s a very equal partnership, I’m happy to say. So far, so good. It’s just about trying to be alert all the time to the needs of the relationship as well as our individual needs with our careers.
You’ve been famous for over two decades. Do you manage to lead a normal life?
I am myself. I’m not being facetious. I’m not playing a game. I’m not a mass of disguises. I continue to be myself all the time – unless I feel I have to protect myself from somebody really dangerous and corrosive. Then my boundaries will come up. But for most of the time, 24/7, I’m myself. I lead a normal life.
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The Love Guru opens on 1 August 1st. Elegy is released on 8 August. The Wackness opens on 29 August.