Pandora: Sir Ben rules out a return to the stage

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The Independent Online

Unlike many of his Hollywood contemporaries, Sir Ben Kingsley has no urge to unleash the creative juices by treading the London boards.

"I've done one play in the last 20 years. I'm very much a film actor," he told Pandora at the South Bank Awards. "I think acting on stage is like landscape painting, and I think acting on film is like fine detailed portrait painting.

"I really love portrait painting, but I find it difficult to pick up that other brush."

While some might think this a bit of a snub to his theatrical roots, I suspect that the ultra-proud knight of the realm won't be tempted follow Anthony Hopkins's example by becoming a permanent resident of Tinseltown.

Once you renounce British citizenship, using a swanky title becomes a strict no-no.

A row for Mendes

One person who won't be joining Sam Mendes and his wife, Kate Winslet, for a glass of champagne if their film Revolutionary Road picks up Oscars this year is the American playwright Arthur Laurents.

Just as the Academy's nominees are to be announced, the writer has re vived an old row with Mendes over his handling of the 2003 production of Laurents's play Gypsy.

Laurents's second memoir, Mainly On Directing, is about to hit bookshops and will feature detailed discussion of the pair's dealings.

"'Surprised' was not the word for my reaction to what Sam Mendes did," reads one passage. "'Surprised' is a happy word."

Also in for a kicking is Mendes's earlier production of Wiseguys, which he undertook straight off the back of making his Oscar-winning film American Beauty.

Wogan won't advance to Australia fair

The career of Sir Terry Wogan has, in many people's eyes, been one high point after another – but there is one ambition he has resigned himself to not being able to fulfil.

"I sometimes get the feeling I'm the only person in British showbusiness who has yet to go 'down under', but it is one of those things I've left too late in life, I'm afraid," says the 70-year-old presenter.

"Because for all its undoubted attractions it is a little far for a man of my advanced age to visit – and besides I'm really not sure I want to spend 14 hours in a plane."

It's a shame for Sir Tel, though possibly for the best. A trip to Oz is actually more likely to take the best part of 24 hours.

Diplomats in distress?

Further proof that the current economic meltdown is a truly global phenomenon can be found at the Indian High Commission in London. Pandora was casually walking past the building this week when I noticed two Mercedes limousines in the diplomatic parking spaces outside. Both currently have "for sale" signs in their windows, informing any interested parties to get in touch with a fellow called Satya.

Provocative work from Rosie

The burgeoning modelling career of Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley has, as predicted in these pages, come on in leaps and bounds. The 21-year-old is fronting a new promotion for Agent Provocateur, the racy lingerie company whose previous campaigns have featured Kate Moss and Daisy Lowe.

Huntingdon-Whiteley, who has also graced French and Italian Vogue, appears in a short film on the Agent Provocateur website called "Love Me Tender... Or Else!" which shows he roughing up her boyfriend. Not her real beau, mind (that's Ronnie Wood's youngest son, Tyrone) but as my picture shows she's clearly not to be trifled with.