Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley is in negotiations to play the role of the chief villain in Iron Man 3. Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Shane Black will direct the third Iron Man film, which will be in theaters on May 3rd, 2013 (see “Captain America Sequel Set”). The fact that Marvel Studios can regularly land actors of Ben Kingsley’s caliber provides additional evidence (if any is needed) that the once despised genre of comic book movies can now attract top talent on both sides of the camera.
The Hollywood Reporter speculates that Kingsley might play the classic Iron Man villain, the Mandarin, but that character was created in 1963 during the height of the Cold War and before mainland China became a major market for Hollywood movies. If the Mandarin does appear in Iron Man 3, his character is likely to be modified in order to make him more acceptable to the increasingly important overseas audiences.