Ben Kingsley Joins Robert Pattinson And Dane DeHaan In James Dean Biopic 'Life'

Principal photography has begun for Anton Corbijn’s next film, Life, which means we may one day soon get a good look at what Dane DeHaan looks like playing James Dean, the beloved actor whose early death stunted what would surely have been an accolade-filled career. DeHaan and Life co-star Robert Pattinson haven’t exactly achieved Dean’s prestigious status in their young careers just yet, but maybe they’ll get some pointers from the Academy Award-winning Ben Kingsley, who has signed on along with Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi, giving the film even more international flair to this German/Canadian/Australian co-production.

The Dutch director Corbijn, whose upcoming thriller A Most Wanted Man will feature one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final complete performances, is working from a script written by Australian writer Luke Davies. The story will center on the 1955 road trip that Dean took with Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson), just months before the actor’s death. Stock was responsible for some of the most iconic images of Dean, taken on the trip from Los Angeles to New York and in Dean's hometown of Fairmount, Indiana. Chances are, you’ve seen the image below about a billion times in your life.

james dean

Unfortunately, THR makes no mention of what roles either Kingsley or Mastronardi will be playing. I’m not familiar enough with the story’s details to make any predictions, though it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the twenty-something actress to play a love interest of some kind. Maybe Kingsley will play Stock’s boss at Life. Who knows?

What we do know is that Kingsley is perhaps the busiest he’s ever been in his career, with no less than seven films currently scheduled for release in 2014. Those include Jon Wright’s sci-fi adventure Robot Overlords, Brad Anderson’s spooky thriller Eliza Graves, the third Night at the Museum film and Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus. Plus he’s filming a couple projects that will be coming out in 2015. Hopefully all of them pull in bigger profits than last year’s Ender’s Game adaptation, which Kingsley starred in. Want to see his latest work? Check out the Marvel One-Shot Hail to the King, a clip from which you can watch below.

Mastronardi, meanwhile, has had a strong career in Italy and broke out here in the states in 2012 with a role in Woody Allen’s not-so-well-received To Rome With Love and the Encore series Titanic: Blood and Steel. She also stars as Juliet in the Italian miniseries adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

Currently filming in Toronto, Life will also be shooting on location in Los Angeles, with no word on a planned release date.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.