The Jungle Book is out this weekend which reminded me about interviewing SIR Ben Kingsley last year, who’s voiced Bagheera (the panther) for it. It was the morning after the general election in May, so I was quite tired because I’d stayed up all night
staring dreamily at David Dimbleby watching the surprise results roll in. I was also a bit nervous because SIR Ben Kingsley is a serious, old-school actor. I mean he’s Gandhi FGS, so I tried my very hardest to charm him.
Me [quite gabbly, because am nervous]: ‘Morning SIR Ben, lovely to meet you. Did you stay up watching the election last night?’
SBK [after a pause]: No. I was recording The Jungle Book late in the studio.
Me [still nervous]: Oh of course. You’re Bagheera! I was Bagheera once in a school play and my mum made me a felt hat with sticking-up ears.
It was my attempt at bonding with him, but I’m not at all sure it worked. He was perfectly civil in the interview apart from when I asked him about the rumours that he insists being called SIR Ben Kingsley at all times on set. I was quite nervous about asking this too, so I dressed the question up as follows: ‘Now, Sir Ben, I have to ask you about the title thing. Do you insist on being called it? I don’t mind if you do insist, we’re Tatler. We LOVE titles. But I do have to ask.’
Anyway, here’s the interview.