When an actor wins an Academy Award, it’s a huge honor, but it’s not always a career booster — the post-win films of Cuba Gooding Jr., Mira Sorvino and Halle Berry spring to mind. But there are certain Oscar-winners who specialize in alternating between highbrow and popcorn pictures.
Take Sir Ben Kingsley, who won his statuette for his riveting performance as the title character in Gandhi. After his seminal role, he went on to work with auteurs such as James Ivory (Maurice), Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List) and Warren Beatty (Bugsy). Kingsley snagged his second Oscar nod for Bugsy; he would go on to earn two more nominations, for Sexy Beast and The House of Sand and Fog.
And yet, Kingsley’s career choices also include a number of B-grade action flicks. There’s the Uwe Boll directed BloodRayne, the big screen adaptation of Thunderbirds and let’s not forget Species,
which turned out to be a minor hit. With his gleaming bald pate and his
bulging temple veins, Kingsley plays tortured and misguided scientist
Xavier Fitch, who engages in an ill-advised genetic experiment
involving human and alien DNA. The creature he creates — a
supermodel-gorgeous nympho — turns on her maker and all of mankind.
It’s easy to goof on the film, including Kingsley’s trying-too-hard
performance, which includes a hilarious close-up of the actor with one
solitary tear trickling down his cheek as he tries to destroy his
hybrid child, but the film — which owes great debts to Alien, Lifeforce and even Frankenstein — is actually pretty tasty. Bravo Sir Ben for not being a Brit snob!