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Sir Ben Kingsley Goes Sci-Fi, the Remarkable Shelf Life of Aging Movie Stars

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by Anne Thompson
June 4, 2013 3:59 PM
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Ben Kingsley in 'Ender's Game'

There's a magic zone with male movie stars in their 50s and 60s, where they're old enough to have accrued gravitas and authority, but not too old to no longer be believably physically powerful. Once in the zone but now aging out of it are actors in their 70s and 80s: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, and Dustin Hoffman. They can play an elder statesman or eminence grise, but aren't athletically threatening. Of this group, both Clint Eastwood, 83, and Morgan Freeman, 76, have remarkably extended their action threat.

Still in the zone are Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington, Colin Firth, Sean Penn, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day Lewis, Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Costner, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Viggo Mortensen, Antonio Banderas, Alec Baldwin and Sir Ben Kingsley.

Kingsley, at 69, is enjoying quite a run: he stars as the terrifying Mandarin in "Iron Man 3," has a pivotal role as a powerful warrior in the upcoming sci-fi adventure "Ender's Game," and will also star in upcoming sci-fi thriller "Our Robot Overlords," directed by Jon Wright ("Grabbers," "Tormented").

Three years after an alien invasion, robots hold the Earth under harsh military rule, confining humans to their homes. Kingsley stars as menacing manipulator Smythe opposite tough gun-toting mom Katie (Gillian Anderson, "The Last King of Scotland," "The X-Files") as a rebel gang led by Sean (Callan McAuliffe, the young Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby") mounts a counteroffensive against the deadly machines.

VFX company Nvizible ("Kick Ass 2," "Iron Man 3," "Skyfall") will create the robot overlords. Pinewood Group, Isle of Man Film, Umbra Telegraph (Film Finances), Northern Ireland Screen and British Film Company co-finance the second collaboration from director Wright and producers Piers Tempest and Ian Flooks. Embankment Films is handling global sales.

Financed and developed with the support of the BFI Film Fund, the team of newly formed Pinewood Pictures, Umbra Telegraph (Film Finances), British Film Company, Wasted Talent, Isle of Man Film and Northern Ireland Screen combine to finance this Brit sci-fi adventure.

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