Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley star in Learning to Drive as two New Yorkers who strike up an unlikely friendship while approaching new stages in their lives.

Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley

Kingsley’s Learning to Drive character is a Sikh named Darwan, who makes a living giving driving lessons. When Clarkson’s Wendy begins to prepare for life after marriage, she realizes that now might be the time to learn to drive. As Darwan teaches her the rules of the road, Wendy prepares him to meet the wife his family has picked for him back in India.

“We both suffered. We’re both at odd ends of our lives and Wendy is this fiery, unhappy, fierce woman and he’s this calm, sultry soul and ‘never the twain shall meet,’ but they do,” Clarkson told uInterview on the red carpet at the Learning to Drive premiere. “They come together and kind of rub elbows and arms and slowly their lives change. Chemistry changes within them.”

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Kingsley believes that fate is the only explanation for Wendy and Darwan’s meeting and the resulting relationship. At that specific point in their lives, they each needed the other, and happened to find one another in what would ordinarily be a relatively mundane interaction.

“By accident. That’s the magic word, that they are thrown together by fate,” Kingsley said. “But you know fate has a very strange way of bringing to you the very people that you need to learn from.”

“Even if you think, ‘Oh my goodness, why did fate send me that?'” Kingsley explained. “But you have something to learn, sometimes it’s a very hard test, sometimes it’s a delightful test. Between Wendy and Darwan you have a mixture of both: the very difficult and challenging and the very easy and comforting.”

Learning to Drive, directed by Isabel Coixet from a screenplay by Sarah Kernochan, hits theaters Aug. 21. Grace Gummer, Jake Weber and Sarita Choudhury also star.

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