It didn't take much arm-twisting for Ben Kingsley to star in Clare Peploe's gender-bending romantic comedy Triumph of Love. He plays crotchety 18th-century philosopher Hemocrates, who's anti-women and decidedly anti-love — that is, until tricky co-star Mira Sorvino seduces him. Hemocrates falls hard, which is what made Kingsley fall in love with the part.

"Coming from the theater, I thought, 'Do I really want to do another play on film?'" he tells TV Guide Online. "[But] the script read beautifully and I really liked my character very much. He was very empowered, and then he loses all his power, then gets it back by learning something."

Naturally, the Oscar-winning actor (Gandhi) and recent nominee (Sexy Beast) says he looks for such juicy complexities in all his screen characters.

"It was good to inhabit Hemocrates and, obviously, I needed to," Kingsley says. "He allowed me to say to the audience, 'Boys and girls, let me tell you about falling in love, but let me concentrate on the word fall! You will make an idiot of yourself [and] make yourself very, very vulnerable in the process of this fall.'

"My job as a storyteller is to say that you cannot have sunlight without a lot of shadow," he concludes. "And I'm only here to remind you it's okay. Films that do that for me, I find uplifting and delightful and beautiful."