Ben Kingsley tells Letterman why he changed his name

Sir Ben Kingsley was on The Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday to promote his new film Shutter Island.

I thought this interview was notable because it was the first time I had ever heard Kingsley talk about being half Indian. After Letterman asked the actor if “Ben Kingsley” was his birth name, Sir Ben talked about how his given name is Krishna Bhanji. He also spoke about his Gujarati grandfather, a spice trader who went by the nickname “King Clove” in Zanzibar. Kingsley attributes his decision to change his name to the difficulty he had auditioning with an unpronounceable name.

Interestingly, Kingsley never mentioned his heritage when he discussed filming Gandhi with Letterman back in 2008.

Part 1 of the interview starts at 5:07:

Part 2 (where he discusses his name and background):