Ben Kingsley Probably an 'Iron Man' Villain

April 10, 2012

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Further burying his credibility in another layer of cartoonish villainy (see: BloodRayne, Thunderbirds, What Planet Are You From?, War, Inc., Suspect Zero, and the historical docudrama Prince of Persia), Sir Ben Kingsley has reportedly entered talks to play a bad guy in the Shane Black-directed Iron Man 3. But it's probably not the bad guy you're thinking, assuming what you're thinking is, "They're going to have Ben Kingsley be Chinese, aren't they?"

The story was first reported on Variety, where it was claimed Kingsley would play "the villain" but specifically not Mandarin, the ring-based Asian supervillain many assumed would emerge in the third Iron Man film. It seems Marvel isn't quite ready to make the Breakfast at Tiffany's-like move of equating "Chinese" with "Ben Kingsley in some eyeliner." Rather--tying into the the six-issue Extremis storyline Iron Man 3 is said to be rooted in--Kingsley is said to play a character "involved in the spread of a virus through nanobots." Still might have some nano-eyeliner, though.

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, is not so certain on the subject of Kingsley's possibly-Chinese origins. According to their sources, the script is still being written, and it might be that the nano-virus crap is somehow being worked into the story of Mandarin, leaving the possibility that Kingsley has that part. That seems unlikely, though, as THR's story goes on to say Kingsley's character "will not be the primary villain." Still, doesn't mean someone won't be playing the Chinese supervillain. Christopher Walken, what have you got on your plate?

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