There are a lot of baffling things in this week's sci-fi extravaganza "Ender's Game," but one aspect of the film that we won't have to puzzle over much longer involves Ben Kingsley's weird face tattoos. The actor, who costars in the adaptation of Orson Scott Card's beloved 1985 novel as a decorated fighter pilot who single-handedly stopped a marauding alien race from destroying mankind, was on Jimmy Kimmel and explained what those tattoos were all about.
"They are Maori tattoos. They're called Tā moko, and the tattoo gives you the lineage for your whole family, your status as a warrior," Kingsley explained to Kimmel, the studio audience (and me). "In my case, my father's status as a warrior. All his forbears, it's all mapped out in the face. So when you greet a Maori, you know their history."
Kingsley's character Mazer Rackham (good grief why do names in sci-fi movies have to be so eye-rolling?) is a half-Maori New Zealander and his accent is ridiculously spot-on. The tattoo seemed to be incredibly important to the actor, who said that he was consulted about what the tattoo should look like, but didn't actively contribute to its design ("I'm just an actor"). "When you greet a Maori...there's not a lot of handshaking and sharing of family photographs," Kingsley explained. "You just stare at each other and read their faces."
It should be noted that Kingsley's performance is one of the better aspects of "Ender's Game" (opening this weekend), although it's nowhere near what he did in "Iron Man 3." Check out the video below.
[via The Wrap]