Walk of Fame: Ben Kingsley

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Ben Kingsley timeline

Ben Kingsley calls himself "a happy man," which is hardly surprising -- after all, he's won an Oscar for "Gandhi," starred in two films for Steven Spielberg ("Schindler's List," "AI: Artificial Intelligence"), been knighted by the Queen -- and now he's getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His latest project, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," opens Friday. He recently spoke about it with The Hollywood Reporter's Jenna Frimmel.

The Hollywood Reporter: 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.

THR:
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.

THR:
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.

THR: Are there certain roles or types of movies that you let 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.

THR:
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.

THR:
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.

THR: 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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