Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 18 April 2015

Kingsley would set Macbeth in WWI

Sir Ben Kingsley has said he would consider playing Macbeth with the action set in World War I.

Gandhi star Ben, who started his career with the RSC, has never played Macbeth before but revealed he may be open to offers of the role.

When the 69-year-old was asked whether he would play Shakespeare's tragic hero, he said: "It's a good thought. It hasn't crossed my mind but it's a really interesting, fascinating idea."

Being careful not to mention the word Macbeth, thought to be bad luck for an actor, Ben continued: "Many years ago I thought of setting him in a World War I context, with his witches being the poor souls you see in old sepia photographs, horror stricken at the dead bodies on the field with the villagers coming out afterwards to clear up."

Ben, who has played both Hamlet and Othello at the RSC, is well known for playing villains in films.

He can be seen as the enigmatic enemy of Tony Stark, the Mandarin, in Iron Man 3 at the moment and is rumoured to be playing King Herod in the upcoming Mary Mother Of Christ.

The Schindler's List actor said: "I have to put the magic word 'villain' to the back of my mind because great villains have a classic sense of righteousness and destiny.

"As an actor I can't judge [Herod], I've got to say here's my portrait of Herod to the best of my ability, now you can draw your own conclusions.

"I have to give Herod his sense of righteousness."

He also admitted that in the past he has studied footage of Hitler's speeches in preparing for roles: "I didn't for Marvel but I have for other projects and there are even gestures that might have crept into my performance."

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