Casting Kingsley in any role will be a boon; he is one of the best actors of his generation, endlessly game, and possessed of some of the greatest range one will find anywhere. Casting him as Salvador Dalí, however, was rather clever. Harron, in researching “Dalíland,” found the painter and sculptor to be childish and cowardly — qualities that, in her mind, linked right up to Trevor Slattery in “Iron Man 3.” Before seeing that movie, she had struggled to picture Kingsley in the role:
“I remember when his agent suggested that, I said, ‘But he’s so powerful!’ I was thinking of ‘Sexy Beast’ and ‘Gandhi.’ And Dalí was a tremendous coward! Like a child in a lot of ways and a hypochondriac. Also, we were watching ‘Iron Man 3,’ where he’s the scary character and then he’s playing this cowardly British actor, Trevor, and he’s so funny. The other thing about Ben, he’s fearless. He said, ‘I’m terrified of playing Salvador Dali.’ But he really will go there and take on an icon, which a lot of people don’t want to do.”
At the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022, as reported by The Wrap, Harron made similar comparisons, noting that she had never seen Kingsley perform such a broadly comedic role before. “He was brilliant,” she said, “But we hadn’t seen that aspect of his range. And we said, ‘Wow, it’s so loose and funny and goofy,’ and that was Dalí.”
Kingsley returned to the role of Trevor Slattery for the MCU film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” He was just as funny the second time.