Ben Kingsley and Patricia Hodge in Betrayal
Former rock singer Khrishna Bhanji changed his name to Ben Kingsley and began a stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He went on to star in several film roles, including Gandhi and The Jungle Book.
Betrayal is an adaptation of Harold Pinter’s searing drama about a seven-year affair. It first premiered on Broadway in 1980 and was revived in 2000 with Juliette Binoche, Liev Schreiber and John Slattery.
1. Jeremy Irons
One of England’s most gifted actors, Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. He has won a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Tony Award for his work.
In this intelligently filmed version of Pinter’s play, Emma (Patricia Hodge) and Jerry (Irons) meet for lunch after she discovers that her husband Robert is having an affair with his friend, publisher. This complex, chilling drama examines the many facets of long-term relationships through their complicated love triangle.
Jeremy Irons, who was nominated for an Oscar for this film, has been a mainstay in international cinema since the early 1980s. He has starred as Fokine in Nijinsky, a Polish laborer stranded in London in Moonlighting (1982), a courageous missionary in The Mission (UK/France, d. Jerzy Skolimowski, 1986), the hapless star of an amateur light opera company in A Chorus of Disapproval (1989), and as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune (1990). In the 21st century, he has appeared in films such as Being Julia (2004), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Appaloosa (2008), Margin Call (2011) and as G.H. Hardy in the Srinivasa Ramanujan biopic The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) and as Batman v Superman’s Alfred Pennyworth in several films.
2. Ben Kingsley
After a stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, British actor Ben Kingsley broke into film in 1972’s Fear Is the Key. His role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 drama movie Gandhi brought him international acclaim and an Academy Award. He followed up with roles in films like Bugsy and Searching for Bobby Fischer, as well as a Jewish accountant in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.
In addition to film, Kingsley has appeared on Broadway in a number of plays. His credits include the acclaimed play Edmund Kean, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination.
Born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, Kingsley has mixed Indian Gujarati Khoja and Isma’ili Muslim ancestry and British heritage. He was raised in Pendlebury, Lancashire. He was turned down for admission to medical school and opted to study acting instead. He has since been knighted for his services to the arts. He has four children. His wife is Brazilian actress Daniela Barbosa de Carneiro.
3. Patricia Hodge
Patricia Hodge is best known for her work on stage and screen, playing Phyllida Erskine-Brown in the TV series Rumpole of the Bailey and Jemima Shore in Jemima Shore Investigates, as well as Mrs Pumphrey in All Creatures Great and Small. Her elegant, stately presence and cool, intelligent dialogue in Betrayal add a sense of gravitas to the film.
In reverse chronological order, the film follows key moments in a seven-year extramarital affair between art gallery owner Emma and literary agent Jerry. Kingsley and Irons convey the chilling nuances of their love and betrayal with a deft blend of insecurity, sexual power and frustration.
Director David Hugh Jones respects the material, allowing his performers to shine. The result is a riveting drama that manages to be both humorous and disturbing. The chemistry between the two stars is palpable, making this a must-see film for fans of Pinter and discerning theatergoers. Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley deliver shattering performances, while Harold Pinter’s literate dialogue and adroit direction make Betrayal an unforgettable experience.
4. Harold Pinter
Pinter was a renowned British playwright, actor, director, poet and screenwriter who wrote twenty-nine plays including such classics as The Birthday Party, The Caretaker and No Man’s Land. He also wrote screenplays for scores of films, several of which were directed by himself or others.
Betrayal was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter from his 1978 stage play of the same name. The film focuses on the interlocking relationships between a London publisher, his wife and his best friend. It uses nine sequences that move backward in time to reveal significant moments of their seven-year extramarital affair.
Daniel Craig sheds his 007 persona to portray Robert, a successful book publisher, whose wife Emma (Rachel Weisz) is having an affair with Jerry, the husband’s literary agent friend. The movie has been praised by critics. Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley also star in this drama. In his later years, Pinter became a leading member of the antiwar movement in Britain.