He also talked about stepping into the shoes of a fellow artist and playing Trevor Slattery in the MCU.
Sir Ben Kingsley has played nearly every role imaginable in every manner of film imaginable, from playing Trevor Slattery in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to portraying Mahatma Gandhi in an Oscar-nominated turn for 1982’s Gandhi. With Mary Harron‘s Dalíland, however, the larger-than-life actor has found a larger-than-life role. With him starring as the legendary painter Salvador Dalí alongside the embattled Ezra Miller as the younger Dali, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival a few days ago. Before the world saw Harron’s biopic, however, Kingsley sat down with Steve Weintraub at the Collider Supper Suite and Media Studio at Marbl to discuss what it was like to get in the mind of one of the art world’s most bizarre figures.
Dalíland sees Kingsley star opposite newcomer Christopher Briney who plays Dalí’s assistant James whose eyes the story is seen through. It mostly follows the later years of the painter’s life and his marriage to his wife and muse Gala (Barbara Sukowa) as cracks begin to form in their once seemingly unbreakable bond. Beyond Dalí himself, the film explores the latent corruption in the art world and the cons living as associates in Dalí’s little world.
Kingsley expressed in the interview how his deep admiration for Dalí interested him in the film and dug into why Harron’s title is so fitting given the story, its characters, and the cast alongside him. Kingsley reaffirms his knowledge of the artist’s life but also discusses how Dalíland opened up the story of Dalí and Gala to him. He also goes into the difficulties of capturing Dalí’s life, including his stunning transformation into the famed painter and how he nailed his iconic look. Beyond that, he delves into his mindset surrounding the myriad characters he plays and even discusses his looming return as Trevor Slattery.
Check out our Q&A session with Kingsley above to hear more on his career and what it was like for him to become Dalí including:
- What was it about the script and the character of Dalí that encouraged him to take the role?
- How did Harron’s title of Dalíland work so well for the film?
- Is it easy or difficult for him to let go of characters after filming completes?
- What day was the most exciting or difficult for him to come in to shoot?
- How much did he know about the relationship between Dalí and Gala?
- What did he know about the corruption in the art world before coming into the film?
- How did he develop his costume, particularly the iconic mustache, for playing Dalí?
- Does he prefer the shorter, rushed schedule of the film or a prolonged shoot?
- Is he surprised by how much fans love his role in the MCU and is he surprised he’s coming back?
- Does he feel the love fans give him for playing Trevor Slattery?
Special thanks to our TIFF 2022 partners A-list Communications, Belvedere Vodka, Marbl Toronto, COVERGIRL Canada, Tres Amici Wines, Toronto Star, and Blue Moon Belgian White beer.