Ben Kingsley says working with Learning to Drive director Isabel Coixet made him feel “immensely empowered”.

In the film, Ben stars as driving instructor Darwan, who builds a close relationship with tutee Wendy, played by Patricia Clarkson, after her marriage breaks down.

Veteran actor Ben, 71, has starred in films helmed by directors including Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese.

And Ben says in a new interview that he believes Isabel is just as talented as Scorsese.

“Of all the great directors I’ve worked with, Scorsese is the master of male vulnerability,” Ben told Entertainment Weekly magazine. “I think Isabel is his female equivalent. All the great ones, they’re right there, watching. She operates the camera, so what you see on the screen is what she has seen down the lens.

“I felt immensely empowered as an actor, because you never have to worry that she’s going to miss that moment where something special happens.”

Learning to Drive, which has already been tipped for huge success after premiering to critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival, is the second time Ben has worked with both Isabel and co-star Patricia. The trio first teamed up on 2008 movie Elegy.

Ben was recently seen starring as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. And amid speculation that there could be more to his character than initially thought, Ben admits he doesn’t know whether his role could be reprised in a further instalment in the franchise.

“I’ve not been invited [back] but neither have I been barred,” he said. “I don’t know what’s on the horizon, but I really enjoyed working with them.”