When Ben Kingsley showed up at the world premiere for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it confirmed the chatter that the screen legend would be reprising his role as Trevor Slattery in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest blockbuster, finally paying off a subplot set in motion by One-Shot All the Hail the King back in 2014.
Iron Man 3‘s Mandarin twist might remain one of the most divisive moments in the franchise’s history, but regardless of how you feel about the big reveal, there’s no denying that Kingsley was an absolute hoot as the washed-up and substance-abusing actor. With an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Grammy and more under his belt from a career dating back almost 60 years, one that’s seen him rack up close to 150 credits in the process, Kingsley’s place in cinematic history is assured.
However, the actor admitted in a new interview that he empathizes with Trevor Slattery more than you might think, comparing their respective journeys as Shakespearean veterans transported to a world that takes them as far out of their comfort zones as possible.
“I, as an actor, uh, Trevor, of course, is a Shakespearean actor and he finds himself transported into a completely exotic environment, but he survives. And thanks to the welcome that Kevin Feige and Destin Daniel Cretton, and my beautiful colleagues gave me, I have done seventeen out of Shakespeare’s whole canon of plays. So, I’m sort of a Shakespearean actor.
But as soon as I arrived on set, the fact that my colleagues were from a different culture was immaterial. Completely immaterial and irrelevant. We are actors together. We live on empathy and transformation. And this is our currency. All the rest is irrelevant. And if we can demonstrate that energy, I think it will ultimately be soothing and healing. People will realize there’s very little difference in storytelling and very little difference in our hearts.”
Kingsley has appeared in his fair share of middling action thrillers over the course of the last decade or so, but the mega budget blockbuster sandbox isn’t one that he gets to play in too often. He clearly had a ball as Trevor in Iron Man 3, and it’ll be equal parts interesting and exciting for audiences to see how a storyline that’s remained untouched for seven years is paid off as part of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ narrative.