Ben Kingsley Makes 'Iron Man 3' Even Better

[caption id="attachment_109710" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Getty Images"]Ben Kingsley[/caption]

Apparently, "Iron Man 3" is going to be one big glorious apology for "Iron Man 2."

"Iron Man 2" wasn't a bad film. It just … wasn't particularly very good. It felt rushed (it was) and underloved, a movie that no one but Marvel Studios wanted so hot on the heels of the first (and excellent) "Iron Man." Sam Rockwell stole the show as the villainous Justin Hammer and Scarlett Johansson looked hot as Black Widow, but Mickey Rourke flailed about in an underwritten (and severely underdirected) role, and the overall plot was just … eh.

"Iron Man 3," however, is shaping up nicely now that Marvel is taking its time with Tony Stark's third adventure (or is just too distracted by the impending mega-hit that is "The Avengers," opening May 4). Jon Favreau has (understandably) left the director's chair and been replaced by Shane Black, who helped pave the way for Robert Downey Jr.'s comeback with the fantastic action comedy, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." Black, who penned such late '80s and early '90s hits as "Lethal Weapon" and "The Last Boy Scout," is also taking on the screenplay with Drew Pearce.

And now "Iron Man 3" is looking even better, as "Hugo" star Ben Kingsley is in talks to play the film's villain, according to Variety.

Somewhat unfortunately, insiders are saying that Kingsley won't be playing the Mandarin, a wealthy Chinese scientist and martial arts expert who, by backing the warlord who imprisoned Tony Stark, was indirectly responsible for his creating Iron Man. Instead, Kingsley's character is involved in the spread of a virus through nanobots, as "Iron Man 3" is loosely based on Warren Ellis' 2005 six-issue miniseries, "Extremis."

Personally, we wish Kingsley were reprising his role as Don Logan in "Sexy Beast." We'd watch two hours of him verbally abusing Tony Stark in a thick Cockney accent and utilizing impossibly vulgar British slang.

Ben Kingsley joins a returning cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow and Don Cheadle as James 'Rhodey' Rhodes/War Machine. Production begins in May in North Carolina with a look toward a release date of May 3, 2013.

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