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- "I'm filming Ender's Game in New Orleans right now and then I go onto a film called The Physician, which is a beautiful film about a physician and then I go into Iron Man. Quite soon I'll be with everybody and we'll be discussing the look and the feel and the direction of the character. It's very early days yet, but I'm so thrilled to be on board."
- "I had peripheral vision of the universe. Kevin Feige came to my house in Oxfordshire. After Sexy Beast, he’d realized I could be really unpleasant on screen. We sat down and had a nice conversation. My garden looked splendid, which I think helped..."
- "I didn’t have any template to copy. I’m undereducated as far as Marvel comics are concerned, and that can be a good thing, like coming to a Shakespeare play fresh rather than having done it 20 times."
- "He's a human portrayal of evil, on a grand scale. Mandarin released demonic layers in me...I did go a little crazy!"
- "There are demonic layers. He's in a state of solitude a lot of the time, and there's nothing to give him a boundary. I go crazy. You can put him in quite a different category from Whiplash, who's reliant on brute force. The Mandarin is reliant on manipulation of the media. He's an all-pervading presence through modern technology. He'll hack into your cell phone. He'll broadcast across the nation on TV."
- "It's great. Of the many devices that The Mandarin employs, all of them are rooted in observation on my part and I won't name names, but some members of the audience might be able to recognise that I'm doing them. It's a beautiful script and as Shane rightly points out, there's very little deviation from what was on the page by Drew and Shane. There was our mandate and we followed it pretty well to the letter."
- "When I heard from Shane Black, I hadn’t in fact seen Iron Man or Iron Man 2. So he very kindly sent me a wonderful package of drawings, graphics, Marvel comics, artwork, and of course the two movies, which I watched while I was filming another film in New Orleans. It was very very I was really delighted to join the group. enjoyable to watch, how the characters are not stereotypical. They are really layered. I’m very inspired by Robert and Gwyneth, in particular. I don’t single them out, but they’re the sort of the spine of the film. And then, Don, of course wonderful, has joined. It’s not your usual copy of a copy of a copy. There is something original about the, dare I use the word, intelligent approach to this film. Therefore, I think the rule when one is approaching, what is rather lazily called the bad guy” (laughs), is that the actor has to accept that those characters are the polar end of a film that serve as a dark anchor of the film. They have a sense of righteousness that actually normal, good people don’t have. Normal, good people are really quite modest about themselves and rather self-deprecating – like our hero and heroine are. They don’t take themselves too seriously. But, the evil nature, the destructive nature tends to be grandiose, narcissistic and totally immersed in their sense of rightness. So when our beloved Mandarin broadcasts to the President or to the nation, he’s not being “evil”, he has a sense of rightness, and a sense of grandeur."
- "I think his motivation is to turn the pyramid of civilization, as we know it, on its head by referring quite accurately to iconography, to history, to ironies that are contained in any civilized state. He picks at them quite viciously and remorselessly to justify with a sense of rightness, the correctness of his approach to destroying this particular civilization, which he considers, very intelligently, to be absurd. It’s a sense of rightness that he has, not a sense of evil, and it’s that rightness that motivates him and therefore motivates my approach to him. He wishes to basically turn the iconography of western civilization, and all our landmarks and the things we cling onto as emblems of our civilization, on its head."
- "Whenever you have a great dynamic with another actor, I think that you can certainly see the beginnings of it in rehearsal, but then in rehearsal we all know that we really shouldn’t burn up too much fuel because we are mortal, we’re not machines. Once Harrison Ford told me that when a director says “action” to an actor, the adrenaline shock is equivalent to a fighter pilot taking off in a jet. That’s what happens to the body. I’ve heard a different comparison, but the absolute one is a cousin of the other. It’s acknowledged as a truth that on the word “action,” the shock to the body chemistry is so thrilling that then it does become, as I say, a very fast tennis match. And Robert and I are quick and we love that trust. I can throw this at you, and you’d throw it back. I knew he’d throw it back. But it’s tacit; it’s not discussed. It’s just, “Good morning, good morning. Come on, let’s do it.” Robert and I enjoy a very fine level attention on each other when we’re acting, and it’s very exciting."
- "Totally. Because the way that Drew and Shane constructed those political broadcasts, they’re very well thought through. The attack on Western iconography, cultural values, historical context of imperialism -- all that weaponry at his command to manipulate and terrify his viewers with these broadcasts with which he interrupts the airwaves were very compelling indeed. I forgot all about the twist until I got to it in the script. I just read it page by page. And I totally would have accepted The Mandarin as The Mandarin, actually."
- "Well, I was told by Kevin. And reading the script, I didn’t know when the reveal would occur. And I was delighted when it did, it’s timed beautifully. So it’s just a great role. And the team are wonderful: They’re very competent, they’re very well disciplined, and they welcome new members to the team so graciously. It was a pleasure to join them and to work with them."
- "I think they have enormous taste as creative artists. There's nothing lazy or gratuitous about their work. They are at the top of their game, and they're great company to keep."
- "It's a secret Marvel project. I'm not allowed to say any more, you're going to have to wait and see."
- "I wasn't worried about fan reaction. I truly wasn't worried. When I worked a lot in the theater before I became heavily involved in movies, which I love, I was privileged to play a lot of Shakespearian roles that most people in the audience were familiar with and everyone has their preconception of...so, it had to be my Mandarin. It had to be my Trevor."
- "I don't get too heavily involved with feedback; I express and then I'm done. I paint my portrait and then I put my brushes down and I walk away. But it has filtered through to me in a gentle way that very, very, very few people indeed were upset by that twist. Even avid Marvel fans, they went along with it."
- "I honestly don't know. I know they're keen to seeing how this film goes. They were all there at the screening that they kindly invited me to -- all the guys, they love it. I honestly don't know. Trevor is so unpredictable anyway, I can't answer for him! He's mad -- he's probably lying in a pool of blood and Guinness somewhere."
- "I missed Trevor. The script was so beautiful, I never changed a line or distorted it. I might have added some nuance or rhythm to it that was perhaps unexpected even to Drew but I didn't stray off it at all, I love telling the story. I love being useful to the telling of the story - and his story was so charming in a way. Trevor's a very vulnerable man. And he's a great survivor. Even in prison, he creates his own environment. It's always good to find something in a character you admire and I admire Trevor's capacity to survive and adapt. He's a chameleon."
- "Audiences may always see Trevor in whatever figure he plays. So, it's up to the powers that be to decide whether or not they'd want to introduce Trevor, whether or not they'd want to reintroduce the Mandarin. Has the Mandarin invented Trevor, or has Trevor invented the Mandarin? Which is which? The Mandarin could be so supremely intelligent that he could have said, 'You know what? I'll invent this actor, and he will be my mask.' You know, which is which? Who's pulling the strings. Now, this is me just free-thinking here, but I would love to revisit that world. But Trev, bless him, may have made an indelible mark on that world. So everyone might say, 'Is it Trev under there?' So they'd have to approach it quite carefully, and so would I, but I would love to go back to that world, yeah."
- Ben Kingsley was set to play Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Spider-Man 3 before the character cut from the script.
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