‘Iron Man 3′: Kevin Feige Praises Sir Ben Kingsley’s ‘Mandarin’ Performance

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 29th, 2012 at 8:21 am,

Iron Man 3 Ben Kingsley Mandarin Praised Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige Praises Sir Ben Kingsleys Mandarin Performance

The announcement that Iron Man 3 would finally introduce classic villain The Mandarin (and that he’d be played by Sir Ben Kingsley) was for many, a mixed omen. The knighted thespian has delivered some iconic and profound performances (HugoGandhi), but in recent years his choice in roles has been far spottier.

According to Marvel studio head Kevin Feige, there’s no need to worry. Sir Ben has delivered the goods like few others who appeared in Marvel’s ‘Phase One,’ apparently crafting a version of the Mandarin so terrifying, anyone on set felt the chill.

If there’s one thing Kingsley is famous for, it’s his ability to both silence a crowd, and produce films as if his life depended on it (come 2013, he’ll have appeared in over a dozen since 2010). It would seem that he saved something extra for his role as Tony Stark’s antagonist, despite a heavy workload. Either that, or the exhaustion is being channeled into a villainous role.

In speaking with USA Today, Feige explained that despite the remarkable actors and actresses who have portrayed Marvel’s heroes and villains so far, Kingsley left a mark like few others:

“On his last take of his first full day as the Mandarin, when they yelled ‘Cut!’ the entire crew burst into applause, spearheaded by Mr. Downey himself…It was pretty amazing to see that.

“That’s what you get when you hire Sir Ben Kingsley. He’s so excited about his part and so into this character, and frankly just scaring the heck out of everybody…They’re like, ‘You’ve broken us out of our skeptical malaise!’

‘Phase One’ saw performances from Jeff Bridges, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Samuel L. Jackson, so the fact that Kingsley’s reception by the cast and crew was one witnessed few times by Feige gives an idea of what fans can look forward to.

The very first image of Kingsley in costume as The Mandarin proved that even comic book fans didn’t know quite what to expect, while the first official trailer for Iron Man 3 only provided a hint at his motives and strategy. We’re still scratching our heads as to what his mysterious tattoo has to do with anything, but his character receiving such a strong response from those behind the cameras means good things for the film’s darker tone (if Feige’s words are taken at face value).

Iron Man 3 Broken Helmet Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige Praises Sir Ben Kingsleys Mandarin Performance

As the leader of The Ten Rings – the terrorist group that abducted Tony in the first Iron Man – there’s no real reason for The Mandarin to physically square off with a suit of flying armor. That’s what henchmen are for. Yet rumors about Stark’s new suit and powers suggest a finale that will be the biggest and boldest in the franchise, and a Marvel insider has confirmed such a showdown will indeed take place. An explosion-filled climax doesn’t exactly mesh with the somber, unsettling narration Kingsley provides in the newest trailer, so something along the lines of Iron Man or Iron Man 2 doesn’t seem to be director Shane Black’s plan.

A warlord who fails to see the difference between terrorism and murder, hurting and teaching, or hero and villain is a fairly distressing concept in itself. We’ve hoped that such an opportunity for a dark, determined character study wouldn’t be overshadowed by pyrotechnics and CGI; if Feige’s comments are true, then fans could expect to see both.

How do you feel about Kingsley’s casting now that the first trailer has arrived? Is an intelligent and disturbing villain more terrifying than a physically dangerous one, or are you most looking forward to the fight scenes and action sequences of Iron Man 3? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3, 2013.


Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: USA Today

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Yeah this movie might make this Kingsley guys career really take off…..

    • your crazy, right? his career is already flying high.

      • I believe it was just a hint of sarcasm :)

        • @DeadPoolSgt. +1

          Maybe I should have said maybe now he will be popular with people who only acknowledge the existence of comic book movies.

    • Watch full here for free bit.ly/11ohS7c

  2. What the f*** did you smoke?! Can I have some of it?

  3. Oh yeah!!!Bravo Kingsley!

  4. I think it’s a brilliant approach that has the greatest potential to bring a Mandarin most similar to the comics, to the screen. If they’d made him Chinese, middle eastern, or something, they’d have to water him down a lot to avoid racial and cultural stereotypes. He’d be a guy in a business suit or fatigues, maybe with a ponytail.

    I’m not sure how it will work out, but I’m intrigued. So far I like it.

    • What do you think of his take on it now? Lol.

  5. What else is Feige going to say,Kingsley sucked?

  6. Intelligent and Disturbing Villian makes a good one ;)Well for me at leats lol.

  7. Uuummm, no.

    • He would, however, make a good Invincible.

  8. hmmm crazy idea, what if they decide to bring in the thunderbolts in phase 3? some disaster happens, and the heroes disappeared, so one major villian(who has survived the previous movies, say if they bring in zemo perhaps?) bands together a group of minor villians(some we have seen others we have not that have existed between movies) and the become heroes to face a major threat, now that would be interesting

  9. I think sir Ben Kingsley will do an awesome job being the mandarin. When I first watched the trailer his voice sent shivers down my spine, and I felt fear for tony and pepper! Tony’s always been so cool and laid back, getting everything he wants and sailing through most things. Now he’s physically and mentally troubled, and completely out of his comfort zone. I really can’t wait to see this film, can’t fault the trailer a single bit.

  10. I hope Feige is right. I want Mandarin to be a great villain. So many comic book movies are defined by the villain.

    Kingsley was good in Gandhi, but I hated him in Hugo.

  11. I am looking forward to great action and great performances. Kingley’s voice in the trailer is determined to say the least. So far I like what I am seeing overall.

    • Kingsley version of The Mandarin acts and talks like he was a student of Ra’s al Ghul and former member of The League of Shadows. If the rings don’t have any magic or alien tech behind them, it’s gonna make the comparison seem even more blatant.

  12. You know what most people failed to see the Kingsley wasn’t Kingsley anymore in Iron Man 3 even though the concept was there the Mandarin is different from the Mandarin even though the correct person to act was there.. You get what I mean? Kingsley is perfect but his beard.. fu man chu moustouche and goatee is missing instead turn out to be one of Thor’s subordinate..

  13. They made a great choice with the choice of actor for the mandarin but I dont like them making a realistic version of him I would prefer more of a comic version of the mandarin and plus this would have been a prefect chance to see fing fang foom on the big screen.

  14. If they reboot Iron Man then they’ll have to reboot everything. They can change actors, sure (although I can’t imagine anyone else as Tony Stark), but no rebooting.

  15. I am SO Styched!

  16. By the trailer, i love him as the mandarin. Hearing his voice gave me the chills. To know that this is such a big foe and knowing what he is capeable of. Along with seeing the destruction of tonys home in the trailer. s*** is going to get real. This mandarin preformance might be as remarkable as ledgers joker in the dark knight.

  17. He is an amazing actor

  18. Watched comic book men the other night they pretty much agree IRON MAN was a nobody in MARVEL before the movies….Is this true?..damn…I always thought he was one of the main heroes.

    Please comment on this..

  19. Shame that Mandarin really doesn’t exist and is just a terrorist made up by Aldrich Killian.

  20. What a rip off.

    While I admit, even in the diminished role of Trevor Slatery (or whatever), Kingsley was very good, I couldn’t help but laugh.

    That said: Not being a reader of Iron Man growing up, I had zero expectations for the Mandarin, who I’ve been led to believe was Iron Man’s ‘it’ villain (per ALL the talk since the first Iron Man film).

    After all that hype- WHAT A LET DOWN.

    And having the Killian character claim “I am the Mandarin!” at the last moment just made for confusion. Clearly there was no Mandarin. I double checked, Killian is NOT the Mandarin. Trying to shoe horn him and the twist in with that throw away garbage line: BOOOOOOOO MARVEL! BOOOOOOOO!

  21. i told you it was Ben Kingly