Ben Kingsley set to menace Robert Downey Jr in 'Iron Man 3'

Which bad guy will the Oscar-winner play?

<p>Tony Stark's looking for a few new bad guys to smack around in 'Iron Man 3,' and it sounds like Ben Kingsley is going to be one of them.</p>

Tony Stark's looking for a few new bad guys to smack around in 'Iron Man 3,' and it sounds like Ben Kingsley is going to be one of them.

Credit: Marvel Studios

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Shane Black begins shooting on "Iron Man 3" next month.

Really, that's the thing that excites me most.  I am such a fan of "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" that even if you told me Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. were collaborating on a film called "Drew McWeeny Is A Big Fat Jerk," I'd still be excited.

Since the film is in the final stages of prep, it makes sense that we're going to start hearing casting decisions in the weeks ahead, and today's news, via Variety, is that Ben Kingsley is in final talks now to play a villain in the film.

No word on if this is "the" villain in the film, but I would imagine Kingsley isn't going to sign on to stand around in the background.  Latino Review broke the story in March, and since then, I've heard the same rumors that other people are reporting about this film loosely building off of the Extremis storyline that ran in the comics, but if this is "adapted" the way the other Marvel movies have been, you'll recognize elements but in a radically refigured way.

Speculation is already rampant that Kingsley will play The Mandarin, which Variety says Marvel sources deny outright.  The Extremis story that Warren Ellis told dealt with a sort of nanotechnology virus that is stolen and unleashed into the general population, with Tony Stark eventually having to accept the treatment, changing himself into more of a mechanical being than ever before.  He's essentially a nanotech version of Captain America after the treatment.  Eventually, the Mandarin got involved as well, and so it's not a wild guess to imagine he could be in the film.

There are concerns, though, raised even before Favreau made the first "Iron Man," about how to use the character, and some fear that no matter what they do, it will be taken as a stereotype.  With no firm word yet as to who Kingsley is playing, it's not worth getting worked up one way or another right now.

For me, the writing is what's most important, and with Black reportedly working with the Drew Pearce drafts to get it into final shape, this is where the movie will either succeed or not succeed.  I like a lot about "Iron Man 2," but it's mostly actors and FX and shots and imagery, not the script.  I would love to see this third film really work as a story first, and with this team in place, I expect nothing less.

"Iron Man 3" is set for release May 3, 2013.

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Drew McWeeny
Film Editor
A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.
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