'The hands of the Mandarin have ten fingers-- And each one is a mighty weapon in itself.' – Character description of the Mandarin
It seems that Comic Book screen adaptations are hot in Hollywood lately. The Blockbuster 300 based on Frank Miller’s comic book has drawn an outrage in the Persian Community lately but the rising interest in Special Effects and the great leaps in digital wizardry and spectacular stunts have encouraged Hollywood Studios to invest into nearly any project involving a Comic Book Super Hero. Hollywood Stars are also jumping on any occasion to be cast as the next super hero be it Batman, Superman or Spiderman to name a few. Even actors reputated for more “intellectual” roles seem to be drawn by such Larger than Life characters. Nicolas Cage for instance recently got noticed for his role in Ghost Rider based also on a Marvel Comic Book Hero and our National Hollywood Celebrity Shohreh Aghdashloo got noticed in last Summer’s 3rd Sequel to X-Men series cast as Dr. Kavita Rao.
It seems that another fellow Persian Compatriot Shaun Toub ( Crash, The Nativity Story) is paving his way to becoming the next Super Villian The Mandarin in the Upcoming Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr in the title role. Iron Man is a Super hero who is in reality a troubled billionaire by the name of Tony Stark who creates a life support suit to assist him after a life threatening accident and who ultimately decides to use its technology to fight evil and crime. A surprising and exciting choice for Toub who is best known for his tormented role in Paul Haggis’ Oscar Winning film Crash. After playing aside fellow actor and compatriot Shohreh Aghdashloo in the Christian Epic The Nativity Story, Toub has just finished shooting in The Kite Runner based on the best selling novel by an Afghan author Khaled Hosseini and directed by Mark Foster director of the excellent Johnny Depp movie Finding Neverland.
As a mysterious Villian, The Mandarin, to be played by Shaun Toub, made his Marvel Comics debut in February 1964 in Tales of Suspense #50.:
From a castle deep in the remote vastness of Red China comes the most mysterious, the most feared oriental of all time! Some claim he has lived for many centuries-- Others claim he is far more than human! But no one knows the true power of the evil genius of the East--the dreaded Mandarin!
Considered as Tony Stark's (IRON MAN) most mighty foes. The Mandarin, one part mad scientist, one part mystic sage, the awesome power he possesses matches the evil in his heart. Wearing his trademark rings, cape and flowing robes (although the outfit has changed over time), he resembles a kind of ancient Chinese Master. And over time he has gone from being a master of science-- whose evil genius rivaled Stark himself --to becoming a mystical shaman intent on destroying technology. Many consider the Mandarin Tony Stark's arch nemesis and chief adversary. And although his early and later stories set up the dichotomy, episodes in between have relegated Mandy to just another villain in Iron Man's rogues' gallery; impressive, but hardly an arch-enemy.
Stark first encountered the Mandarin when he was sent by our military command to find out more about him in the heyday of the Cold War (TOS #50). Dismissed in the West as little more than a fearsome legend, U.S. Intelligence revealed that he was the greatest single power in China, back before the United States even had relations with the sleeping commie giant. In fact, even the most powerful generals in the communist government groveled in front of him in fear.
Called the smartest enemy Iron Man has ever faced, he is a master of science-- He is also described as “the greatest karate master the world has ever known.')
A tragedy shadowed his birth, an ill-omen. His father, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, displeased the gods by marrying beneath his station, wedding a high-born English woman. When the Mandarin was born a large idol fell on his father, killing him. When his mother heard the news, she died too. As if that wasn't enough to set Mandy off on the wrong path, he was left to be raised by an aunt, who only wished to get her hands on the family fortune.
A bitter woman, she taught him to hate the world as she did. Every bit of gold he had inherited was spent to teach him the sciences of the world, the arts of warfare and the subtle crafts of villainy-- But soon the money was gone. When they could not pay their taxes, they were kicked out of their palace and off of their land. Though poor, this fallen prince did not starve because he had a destiny to fulfill. When his aunt finally died, the Mandarin spent 'not one second mourning her.' Truly, the blood of Khan flowed in his veins. The Mandarin has no superhuman powers to speak of, he instead makes use of technology. Over the years, he would frequently attempt to turn various nations’ weapons against them. His costume projects a powerful skin-tight force field. He can even split Iron Man’s magnetic-beam reinforced alloy armor with repeated blows from his hands. He possesses ten rings of alien origin which grant him vast powers.'