Sir Ben Kingsley Listens to Russian Orthodox Choirs, Florence and the Machine: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Sir Ben Kingsley 25 Things
Sir Ben Kingsley 25 Things Ian Gavan/Getty Images

British actor and Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley, whose new film Learning to Drive is in theaters now, shared 25 surprising (and very English) facts about himself with Us Weekly

1. I most admire Simon Wiesenthal for sharing his incredible life story as a Holocaust survivor. 

2. I’m looking forward to the films in production with our company, Lavender Pictures. 

3. I’ve never taken anything from a set. 

4. My stage name [real name: Krishna Pandit Bhanji] comes from family nicknames. Ben was my dad's nickname. Kingsley is from my grandfather's nickname, King Clove.

5. My childhood nickname was Cupid. 

6. If I could eat one food every day it would be vegetable curry because of all the variety. 

7. My preferred mode of transportation is by aircraft carrier. I have great admiration for our Royal Navy. 

8. The last books I read were the Whirlwind books by Eugenia Ginzburg. They have telling insight into Stalin’s gulags. 

9. Landscape design and gardening are my secret talents. I’m very ambitious about them. 

10. Still, I wish I had a green thumb. I’m working toward my own English garden. 

11. I always make sure to be alert to those around me, a lot like my Learning to Drive character. 

12. My favorite restaurant has to be Lilly’s in Ouarzazate, Morocco. 

13. My favorite way to spend a lazy day is being unlazy. I much prefer to be as productive as possible. 

14. My favorite music to listen to is Russian Orthodox choirs. Oh, and Florence and the Machine!

15. My best memories from filming Ghandi are being with Richard Attenborough every day. 

16. I’ve never had a plan B, so I’m fortunate everything worked out. 

17. I was a worse musician than actor. 

18. I keep my Oscar in the library. It’s a lovely room. 

19. My wife [Daniela Lavender] is my food critic. I love to make anything that wins her approval. 

20. My favorite accent is 1930s and ‘40s British. The language itself is so beautiful, as well as the rapidity and ease. 

21. The last time I cried was from laughter at the classic Laurel and Hardy films. Such pure humor. 

22. I love tea. My personal favorites are English breakfast, Yorkshire, Kenya, and Irish breakfast. 

23. The Prince’s Trust is my favorite charity. It achieves so much for disadvantaged youth. 

24. The one movie I never get tired of watching is Never Take No for an Answer from 1951. 

25. I’ve only been starstruck once — and I got over it!

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