On Music: Sir Ben Kingsley’s Personal Musical Nightmare
Golden Globe winner Sir Ben Kingsley was a budding musician in the early ‘60s and his band, The Vikings, raised the interest of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. But it all came to an end when his promising acting talent took over. We met Sir Ben recently for another incredible portrait: Adolf Eichmann, the SS monster behind the murder of six million Jews, captured in Argentina and brought to stand trial in Israel as depicted in the film Operation Finale. How much does music, as a form of expression, help you as an actor? we asked.
“It certainly does, but sometimes music helps me in unexpected ways. I can recognize a certain cadence of notes that is appropriate to my character. Certainly, when I played Dmitri Shostakovich we did played his music on set and that was immensely nourishing to me as an actor. There is a little bit of music in one of my scenes in Operation Finale where I’m listening to Argentinean music, but what I did listen to, and it’s a very odd coincidence, happened at home, in Beverly Hills with Dani, my wife : I suddenly clicked onto the Horst Wessel Lied, which is a disgusting song, the Nazi anthem, and I was absolutely mesmerized to hear the song sung by a choir. (The video) was probably filmed in the late-30’s but also the innumerable masses of people who are also joining in and singing that song… it was that horrible tune that sometimes used to drift across my mind, that these men and women had an anthem almost like a hymn to their atrocities so I’m afraid it used to occasionally invade me. I didn’t invite it, but it would occasionally drift across. Bam bam bam bam. Horrible.”