May 27, 2010 / 4:44 AM / in 8 years

Ben Kingsley denies he's a serious man

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Ben Kingsley returns to theaters on Friday with Disney’s “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” The day before, the Oscar-winning “Gandhi” will get his first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Cast member Ben Kingsley arrives at the premiere of the movie "Shutter Island" in New York February 17, 2010. REUTERS /Natalie Behring

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF MAKING “PRINCE OF PERSIA”?

Ben Kingsley: Horses make me very nervous. It’s not that I don’t really like horses but rather they don’t like me. I did have to do some riding and then I was in a full suit of black armor — and then it decided to be 120 degrees. It was awful.

YOU PLAY A BAD GUY. WAS THAT AWFUL OR FUN?

Kingsley: My character, Uncle Nizam, isn’t a baddie. This was a man driven by envy and regret. He was a normal chap and when envy and regret started to eat away at him, he turned bad. With that richness of character in mind, I was on that knife-edge of being good and bad, which I love.

DO YOU RESEMBLE HIM AT ALL?

Kingsley: I’m not Uncle Nizam, eaten up with envy and regret. I’m a happy man, and maybe it’s because I let things pass.

PASS?

Kingsley: I avoid working with directors who are bullies and patronizing and really don’t understand the process of creation in front of the camera. I wouldn’t work in a film that I felt wasn’t a bridge builder.

THAT’S NOT TOO SURPRISING. WHAT WOULD SURPRISE US ABOUT

YOU?

Kingsley: People tend to think I’m very serious, but I have a wicked sense of humor.

IF YOU COULD TURN BACK THE “SANDS OF TIME” YOURSELF, WHERE

WOULD YOU GO?

Kingsley: I am completely mesmerized by Shakespeare. If I could go back to Stratford-upon-Avon while he was alive and walk across the fields with him and have a really good chat, I’d be really happy.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MOST HAPPY?

Kingsley: I got very fond of India when I filmed “Gandhi” and the Indians welcomed me as a part of their history. That’s one of my magic places. Another is Los Angeles. I enjoy Hollywood very much indeed. I love the smell! It’s an incredible mixture that’s a really exciting aroma. It’s sort of eucalyptus-y, pine, a little bit of gasoline. I can’t quite describe it, but you can definitely smell it.

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