Ben Kingsley presents the Desert Palm Achievement

first_img Ben Kingsley presents the Desert Palm Achievement actor award to Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” at the 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in Palm Springs, Calif. Kingsley says he tried “very hard” not to judge his character, a fugitive war criminal, in the film “An Ordinary Man.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Q&A: Ben Kingsley on trying not to judge his character in ‘An Ordinary Man’ TORONTO – Actor Ben Kingsley says he tried “very hard” not to judge his character, a fugitive war criminal, in the film “An Ordinary Man.”But the time he has spent with Holocaust survivors, for films including “Schindler’s List,” was in the back of his mind.Now available on demand/digital HD, the drama stars Kingsley — whose many award wins include an Oscar, Grammy and BAFTA — as a former general wanted for crimes against humanity committed during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar plays an agent hired to protect him.Brad Silberling wrote and directed the story that’s co-produced by British Columbia native Rick Dugdale.“I’ve met and spent precious time with great survivors,” said Kingsley, whose other Holocaust-related projects include “Murderers Among Us” and “Anne Frank: The Whole Story.”“With Simon Wiesenthal, I portrayed him in a film and spent months with him; Elie Wiesel, with whom I spent precious time, and others. I have been embraced by that diaspora and by the Jewish people as a witness to the Holocaust.“Therefore all my rage against anti-Semitism comes to the fore, is part of the energy, if you like, the fuel of my portrait, when it comes to portraying men like this and trying very, very hard not to judge them — just present them to the audience saying, ‘Look, boys and girls: this man, if you met him in the pub, you’d said, ‘Yeah, quite ordinary. Bought me a beer, quite pleasant,’ as they do about serial killers and they find bodies buried in their garden and then they say, ‘Kept to himself, quiet, chatted occasionally.’”The Canadian Press spoke with Kingsley this week in a phone interview from Belgium, where he’s shooting a spy thriller involving Syria and Israel’s Mossad secret service.CP: What attracted you to this role in ‘An Ordinary Man’?Kingsley: Given the fact that the director wrote the piece, I felt that we would be guided with a special passion for the content…. (The general) is an archetypal creature. He’s not a copy of a copy. He’s an original and that, I think as a storyteller, is worth presenting to the audience: these men exist, look at them, let’s examine them.CP: What are the challenges, maybe for audiences, with a protagonist like this?Kingsley: Perhaps I can quote beloved director Peter Brook, with whom I worked many years ago and with whom I’m still in close contact. He was talking about a theatre experience, not a film experience. But he said, ‘Let us hope that the audience will have thoughts, having seen the film, that they would not have had had they not seen it.’So all I can hope for is that I provoke new thoughts. What those thoughts are, I have to let go of and hand that over to the audience.CP: What was it like on the set, shooting in Belgrade, and along the Serbia and Bosnia border?Kingsley: I think Brad chose very wisely to film it in Serbia. The scars and the aftershocks of the suicide of Yugoslavia are still very evident and I sensed a grief and a valiance to move forward. An extraordinary experience.CP: “Schindler’s List” hits its 25th anniversary this year and you’re slated to attend the Tribeca Film Festival for a screening of it with director Steven Spielberg. How much has that project meant to you over the years?Kingsley: I wear it as a badge of honour, absolutely, and was thrilled to be one of the most exquisitely made films ever to hit the screen. A genuine work of art and I’m sure (it) provoked thoughts in millions of people that they would not have had had they not seen the film.— This interview has been condensed and edited.center_img by Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 20, 2018 11:21 am PDT Last Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 12:01 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more