Watch Ben Kingsley Play Salvador Dalí in Trailer for New Film, Dalíland
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Watch Ben Kingsley Play Salvador Dalí in Trailer for New Film, Dalíland

The prospect of seeing Sir Ben Kingsley play Salvador Dalí alone would be enough to get more than a few moviegoers into the theater (or onto their couches, streaming). But then, so would the prospect of him playing virtually anyone: Mahatma Gandhi (as the Academy has acknowledged), or Georges Méliès, or Dmitri Shostakovich, or some crass London mobster. Dalilandwhich comes out next month, promises a rich portrayal of Dalí not only by Kingsley, but also by Ezra Miller, an actor with a physical resemblance to the artist in his youth as well as a public life seen as scandalous and sometimes criminal.

This casting choice, with the troubled Miller playing the young Dalí and the ultra-respectable Kingsley playing the old, reflects a certain desire to capture the duality of the character himself. Kingsley has spoken of developing his interpretation of Dalí “according to his language; his behavior; his taste for love, life, food, wine and everything; and also his audacity to break so many rules.

You can hear her reflect more on the experience in the Deadline Hollywood video just below. “I love his work,” he says. “I love his fearlessness, and he was exhilarating and exhausting to play, just as I anticipated.” He also praises director Mary Harron, known for her adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis. American psycho.

Harron’s feature debut was I killed Andy Warholabout Warhol’s near-murderer Valerie Solanas and his most recent, charlie says, tells the story of Leslie Van Houten and the Manson family. Such images demonstrate his facility with biographical drama, as well as his investment in the culture of postwar America and the eccentric personalities that both enlivened and darkened it. Daliland takes place in the winter of 1974, which Dalí and his wife Gala spend at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. Its protagonist, a young gallery employee played by Christopher Briney, is drawn into the world of Dalí and becomes responsible for ensuring that the artist has all the work ready for his upcoming exhibition.

“The film’s 70s setting allows it to be a portrait of when the art world underwent its tectonic shift, merging with the culture of money, becoming something of a piggy bank for the wealthy,” writes Varietyis Owen Gleiberman. “Dali and Gala have, in their own way, played in it. They are exploiters of the Dalí legend who, in turn, have been exploited. At this time, Dalí still had about fifteen years ahead of him, but Kingsley considers this period as “perhaps the last chapters of Dalí’s life”, the setting of “his acceptance of mortality, a subject with which he struggled terribly.” The phenomenon witnessed by Briney’s character, and thus the audience, is “how a genius leaves the world” – and, in this particular case, leaves it considerably more surreal than it found it.

Related content:

A sweet self-portrait of Salvador Dalínarrated by the great Orson Welles

Two Vintage Films by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel: Un Chien Andalou and The Golden Age

Sir Ben Kingsley reads a letter written by Gandhi to Hitler (in the voice of Mahatma Gandhi)

Salvador Dali walks on The Dick Cavett Show with an anteater, then talks about dreams and surrealism, the golden ratio and more (1970)

Watch: New film from Roman Polanski, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Ben Kingsley and Prada Shoes

Salvador Dali where What is my line?

Based in Seoul, Hake MArshall writes and broadcaststs about cities, language and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter city ​​books, the book The City Without a State: A Walk through 21st Century Los Angeles and the video series The city in cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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