Sir Ben Kingsley
This shoot with Sir Ben Kingsley was to take place on his home territory; a big manor house hotel in the outskirt of Oxford. As we followed the sat nav to get to this destination we ended up on a dead end road, leading into a farm. We drove 200 meters into the farm where we met the farmer and asked for further directions. He asked us to drive back out the drive way, a few lefts and a few rights, a little straight on, up and down some hills and then we should be there. We turned around and as we headed out we could see behind the high fencing on the farm that this was no ordinary farm. Monkeys and Penguins were spotted and I felt that I was in some Roald Dahl story or David Lynch film, rather than on my way to a shoot with Sir Ben Kingsley. I rubbed my eyes, got my assistant to pinch my arm, and checked my water bottle for any traces of LSD. Nope – it was real.
After 5 minutes we arrived at the destination, a manor house hotel with a 1/2 mile driveway through a golf course. The green fields and trees were only interrupted by trousers that would put any raver to shame. Everything from neon colour trousers, often a whole group with matching ones, to a man proudly prancing around with his Union Jack slacks. I have never been a golfer and I have to admit, that what I saw on that golf course made me scared of ever finding myself on a golf course again. You never know, it may be contagious.
Finally, we arrive at the destination. We’re showed to the big room overlooking the great fields of green, with neon coloured legs wandering around dragging their buggies. The hotel was traditional and did not reflect the trousers in the field or the monkeys on the farm. Sir Ben’s team were there and were as nice as can be. Sir Ben turned up and I introduced myself reminding him of our previous shoot which was to shoot him as an Oscar winner, with his Oscar statue at a classy London hotel. Sir Ben looked the part with his maroon jacket and eloquent posture. Easy to compose and was willing to take direction. A short affair, but we got on. He did of course insinuate that I would be best off heading back to the monkey farm after the shoot. Farming monkeys has since been a thought I have considered a good career option. Although I do assume that Sir Ben was perhaps not referring to me as responsible enough to look after a shrewdness of Apes, but more as a life style option. (My banana eating skills are after all second to none.)