One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Isabel Coixet’s Learning to Drive. The film stars Sir Ben Kingsley as a driving instructor who teaches a successful Manhattan writer (Patricia Clarkson) while both of their lives are going through dramatic changes. While I expected the film to follow the conventional path of two people from different worlds falling in love, it was refreshing to see Coixet’s film focus on people just helping one another overcome difficult situations through friendship and support. With a film like this everything rests on the actors, and Kingsley and Clarkson deliver honest and realistic performances.
Shortly after the premiere I landed an exclusive video interview with Sir Ben Kingsley. He talked about what drew him to the project, how his process has changed over time, his approach to a performance once he meets his fellow actors, if he still gets nervous on set, and more. In addition, he talked about Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, the King Tut miniseries he’s about to shoot, and his passion project he’s developing about the British Navy in World War I, Victoria Cross. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
- What drew Kingsley to this project.
- 2:05 – He’s not a method actor. Describes his inspiration.
- 3:00 – Talks about how his process has changed over time.
- 4:20 – Kingsley rarely sleeps before the first day of shooting out of anticipation. He was also very nervous before the TIFF screening.
- 5:40 – He develops his approach to the performance once he meets his fellow actors.
- 7:20 – Shares a memory from an old project to compare to a moment he thinks they achieved in this film.
- 9:00 – Laments how little opportunity he has had to wear a military uniform on screen. Talks about a passion project he is developing, Victoria Cross, about the British Navy in WWI.
- 11:20 – Talks about working with Robert Zemeckis on The Walk.
- 13:40 – Talks about working with Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings.
- 15:10 – His production company has six films on the slate. Kingsley is about to fly to Morocco to shoot the King Tut miniseries.