- “Every so often things happen that can’t be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.”
- ―Kent Mansley to Marv Loach
Kent James Mansley is a government agent that came to Rockwell to investigate the report of a monster and learns a young boy may have the answers as to whether it's true. He was voiced Christopher McDonald in the 1999 film The Iron Giant, serving as the main antagonist.
Official Warner Bros. Website BioEdit
- The manipulative, ambitious government agent sent to investigate the Iron Giant. With a sleazy charm & a secret agenda to empower his own career, Kent is hot on Hogarth’s trail to get the information he needs. Believing he has proof to the Iron Giant’s existence and eager to make his reputation, he calls in the United States Army Military to protect the townspeople from the threat he perceives in the Giant.
Kent Mansley is a paranoid but ruthless agent with a hunger to improve his own career. Scripted as a lowly agent in Washington, District of Columbia, Kent has spent most of his life as a Federal Government Agent of Unexplained Phenomena Department working in a cubicle. With the possibility of a "monster" in Rockwell, Kent is hoping to upgrade his own career by becoming a hero by destroying the creature lurking in the woods of Maine. Through his charm and charisma alone, he is able to fool both Annie Hughes and General Rogard into trusting him, proving his power of manipulation. Like many villains, Mansley is relentless in his quest to seek his ultimate goals however, contrastingly he is also afraid. Mansley mainly exemplifies the era of Cold War fears over the creation of the Russian Soviet Union Sputnik 1; he does not care who created the Giant or whether it is actually dangerous: It must be destroyed for the safety of humanity. His paranoia is also his greatest weakness however, as his own foolishness causes him to launch a nuclear missile toward Rockwell and its citizens in his attempt to destroy the giant.
Mansley also appears to be rather aggressive as well. As time passes, Mansley's techniques become more vicious in desperation to find the giant. Mansley not only harasses Hogarth for his knowledge of the giant but openly loses his temper and corners Hogarth on two separate occasions. After finding a photograph of the Iron Giant, Mansley goes so far as to trap Hogarth in the shed by his home and interrogate him while Annie is away at work. He even threatens to take Hogarth from his mother to pry the information he needs out of him, before cruelly knocking him out and trapping him in his room to prevent him from helping his friends. His cruelty is only rivaled by his cowardice though. Even after dooming the city of Rockwell, Mansley refuses to take responsibility for the town's fate and tries to escape Rockwell in order to save himself, leaving the rest of the citizens to fend for themselves and likely perish. Kent Mansley is also arrogant because he works for the government, and is not above using his position as a federal agent to get what he wants.
Kent Mansley is a handsome, clean-cut, and generally good-looking 37-year-old gentleman. Well above the average height of other characters, he is thin and relatively large compared to Dean. Whilst he is well built, he is not as broad-shouldered nor as muscular as his employer, General Rogard. It is unknown how physically formidable Mansley actually is, however, his sheer size and strength enable him to throw the driver out of a jeep, and easily overcome the much younger Hogarth. Like almost every character in the film, he has fair skin and auburn hair similar to Hogarth and his mother. He also has a very pronounced chin and light blue eyes. Throughout the film, he generally wears a grey suit with either a normal coat or dark grey trench coat and a dark grey fedora with a crimson tie a white collard shirt and brown leather shoes. While at the Hughes's home and interrogating Hogarth about the location of the Giant, Mansley also wears a pair of yellow suit pants with a green blazer and red tie instead of his usual grey suit and crimson tie while keeping the same white collard shirt and and brown leather shoes.
Role in the FilmEdit
Soon after the Iron Giant destroys the Rockwell electrical substation while attempting to consume the steel structures supporting it, Government Agent Kent Mansley is first seen arriving in Rockwell the following morning. Earlier revealed to Dean at the Chat'n Chew, Earl Stutz contacted the government regarding the alleged “invader from Mars” he encountered in his boat weeks earlier, as well as multiple strange occurrences around the town.
Immediately arriving in his official government vehicle on the site to investigate, Kent exits his vehicle puffing on his pipe and surveys his surroundings with a steely-eyed, square-jawed gaze while introducing himself as a member of the "United States Government Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena" to the head electrical foreman, Marv Loach. Relatively uninterested in Marv, Mansley swiftly follows the foreman through the tree line to the wrecked station, while Marv admits he is unsure what caused the inexplicable damage to the station. Cables, fencing, and jagged fragments of metal litter the ground around the pulverized walls of the station, as workers and trucks, swarm through the site, carefully retrieving the scattered pieces of rubble. The foreman personally believes the devastation could not have been the result of a storm, and from the way the towers are twisted, it's as if they were bitten by some kind of “enormous beast”. Mansley spurns the thought of such a possibility, however, as he records the foreman's words. He sarcastically suggests the destruction is the result of an aggressive escaped gorilla, rather than some massive creature as Marv suggests. Marv questions Mansley's department as a result, but Mansley reveals very little of his position; only that he is the government's response to unordinary occurrence such as the one at hand. No sooner does he finish his explanation of his department, Mansley inquires as to whether any eyewitnesses were present at the time of the event, but unfortunately there are no known witnesses. Instead, Marv provides Mansley with a crushed bb-gun handle recovered from the incident, with the markings “Hog- Hug-” from a dumpster on the site. Marv confidently proclaims that with the U.S. Government overseeing the case, there must be something lurking in Rockwell, but Mansley scoffs at the idea again, believing "big things happen in big places," and returns to his car.
Continuing to mock the foreman's belief as he approaches his vehicle, Mansley seats himself in his car once more and places the bb-gun on the passenger side only to discover, to his horror, that the passenger seat and roughly half of his automobile has seemingly been ripped clean off. Terrified and panicked by the situation, the agent doubles back to the station and quickly brings Marv to the site of his car. Unbeknownst to Mansley, however, the rest of his automobile was taken by the giant the moment he left the vehicle to share his encounter with Marv, and the two are perplexed to find that his car has disappeared, leaving only a few parts and the bb-gun behind. Retrieving the small piece of evidence from the ground, Mansley takes the situation much more seriously, believing that there is "something big" in the woods, and leaves the station.
Meeting at the Mayor'sEdit
Sometime after his visit to the power station, Mansley arrives at Rockwell City Hall. While there, Mansley proceeds to discuss the information from the night before with the mayor and his associates. According to Mansley a foreign object had been detected entering Earth's atmosphere off the coast of Rockwell, originally assumed to be a downed satellite or meteor. As a result of Earl Stutz's testimony and his own personal experience, Mansley believes that the crashed object is something very different than previously thought by the US Government. Mansley continuous to discuss details until the Mayor's office receives a phone call of a strange train crash nearby. Hearing the news, Mansley asks to borrow the mayor's car, as his own has disappeared, and immediately heads to the crash site.
The Train CrashEditNot long after the Iron Giant is struck by a train while attempting to repair the railroad tracks the very same night, Mansley visits the site of the train wreck to recover more evidence. Although there is once again little to no evidence of a machine or monster, one of the engineers (suffering from a concussion) confesses that he saw what appeared to be a “giant metal man” on the tracks before the train’s impact. Mansley, concluding that the incident is linked to the power station, asks for the nearest telephone and is directed toward the Hughes Home.
Meeting the HughesEdit
Soon after the train wreck, while Hogarth is attempting to smuggle the Iron Giant’s hand out of his house without his mother finding out, Mansley arrives at the Hughes home to use their telephone. Initially, Hogarth slams the front door on him, believing he’d see the giant’s hand behind him. After realizing the hand is gone, however, he begrudgingly opens the door to Mansley. After Mansley introduces himself to Hogarth and asks if his parents are home and Hogarth replies that they're eating dinner, his mother, Annie Hughes, kindly lets him borrow their phone, with which he calls General Rogard. After a short argument to the disbelieving general, Mansley is forced to hunt for more evidence to prove to the general that the “giant metal monster” does exist. Mansley thanks the Hughes for their help and leaves the residence. Shortly after, however, while remarking on Hogarth's name, he turns around after realizing the bb-gun belongs to Hogarth. After returning and giving Hogarth the bb-gun as he asks Hogarth if he had seen something in the woods, Hogarth starts acting strangely (continuing to hide the Giant's hand) which draws suspicion from Mansley. Finally leaving, Mansley assures Hogarth that they will see each other “real soon”.
Spying on HogarthEdit
The next morning, it is revealed that Mansley has rented out the room at Hogarth’s house, much to Hogarth’s displeasure. All the while, Mansley keeps constant watch over Hogarth and pummels him with questions until a fed up Hogarth tries to leave the house. Unfortunately, Annie suggests he take Mansley along with him, and Kent happily agrees.
While visiting Eddie’s Rexall, after Hogarth shows Kent how to make a "landslide" (a chocolate bar called coca-lax crumbled and mixed with an ice cream sundae), Mansley begins to speak of the Soveit Sputnik satellite and his fears of the thing lurking in the woods and asks Hogarth if he feels safe. When Hogarth attempts to feign ignorance at Mansley's obvious hint at the Giant, Mansley explodes into a rage and sends Hogarth at the corner. However, before he is able to interrogate Hogarth further, Mansley hears a gurgle in his stomach and rushes to the restroom, which allows Hogarth to flee.
Searching for EvidenceEdit
With Hogarth gone from his sights and coco-lax still in his system, Mansley heads out into the forest surrounding Rockwell again to find more evidence of the giant's existence. Heading through the woods, Mansley talks with a farmer named Benny who shows him the half eaten end of his truck, a damaged silo next to his barn, and damaged trees on the west side of his property. Mansley takes notes on the destruction before his irritated bowels force him to use the farmer's outhouse.
Traveling deeper into the woods, Mansley comes across the boulders and the uprooted tree that Giant had pulled from the ground when Hogarth was trying to teach him how to speak. Mansley also finds the bent shut off switch from the power station that the giant had presented to Hogarth in gratitude before his bowels force him to use a bush. After a long and exhausting evening, Mansley bumps into a camera hanging from a tree branch, the very camera Hogarth took into the woods while searching for The Iron Giant.
Later that evening, Mansley uses the bathroom at the Hughes' residence as a darkroom to develop the photos from Hogarth's camera. Turning over the pictures one by one, he comes across the picture Hogarth had taken of the metal panel he set on the tree stump in the woods to lure the giant. Flipping the next one, he uncovers the photograph Hogarth had taken of himself while waiting for the giant to appear. To his delight and shock, standing behind a smiling Hogarth, stands The Iron Giant.
That night, while Hogarth is putting his bike in the shed near his home, Mansley traps Hogarth and prevents him from leaving its interior as Mansley informs Hogarth that his mom is working late tonight, he was forced to go to the corner by Mansley. After turning on a bright light and forcing Hogarth onto a chair, Mansley is finally able to interrogate Hogarth without any distractions. Hogarth still refuses to answer, but is dumbfound when Mansley reveals the photos that Hogarth took, including the one where he accidentally took a picture of himself and the Giant. Mansley tells Hogarth that he is careless as Hogarth tells him that it doesn't prove anything and Mansley tells Hogarth that it's enough to get the Army here with one phone call, but when Hogarth mocks Mansley by asking what is stopping him, Mansley pushes the light in rage and furiously inquires the Giant's whereabouts.
Becoming even more devious, Mansley also threatens to have Hogarth removed from Annie's care if Hogarth doesn't comply, much to Hogarth's shock. Hogarth eventually breaks down and confesses to Mansley that the Giant is in the junkyard at the McCoppin Scrapyard. Mansley discovers where the Giant is hiding as he becomes pleased about the information that he's been searching for, he then tells Hogarth that he wouldn't have to worry about it and informs him that this is only a bad dream as he stuffs Hogarth with chloroform and Hogarth is knocked unconscious.
Hogarth awakens later to the sound of Mansley speaking to General Rogard over the phone about the evidence he has uncovered. Trying to escape to warn Dean and the Giant, Hogarth runs into Mansley in the hallway, now done with the call. Rather coldly, he brags to Hogarth that the army will be arriving in the morning and forces Hogarth back into his room, where he discovers Mansley has nailed his window shut. With Hogarth unable to leave the house and get to Dean, Kent plans to watch him until morning, and the two eye each other until around 3 AM when Hogarth seemingly falls asleep. Four hours later, however, Mansley wakes in horror to see Hogarth out of bed and a dummy inside of his bed as it is revealed that Hogarth has snuck out and made a decoy in his room while Mansley was sleeping before he took off and warned Dean and the Giant. He quickly composes himself, though, as a rather irked Annie questions why the army is in their front yard. Kent suavely tells Annie to call him Kent, before he, Hogarth, Annie, and the army head off to McCoppin Scrap.
Invading the JunkyardEdit
After the army arrives at McCoppin Scrapyard, Kent demands Dean to show him where the Giant is. Dean is undeterred which slightly concerns Mansley, and he becomes impatient when Dean stalls with a story in front of the door leading into the shed holding the Giant. Finally entering the shed with zeal and confidence, Mansley's face and composure quickly fall at the sight of the Giant, as it appears to be nothing more than another sculpture concieved by Dean. Infuriated, General Rogard sarcastically chastises Mansley outside the shed for wasting both his own time and the government's money for a worthless trip to Rockwell while Hogarth smugly watches from a window. Mansley is promptly dismissed from his government position and he leaves, defeated, with the rest of the troops before Annie leaves and Dean tells the Giant that the coast is clear.
Assault on the GiantEdit
While leaving Rockwell distraughtly with the military convoy after getting fired by Rogard, Mansley sees Dean and Hogarth traveling on Dean's motorcycle in the opposite direction. Suspicious of the pair, Mansley looks back toward Rockwell. To his surprise, he sees the Giant standing in the city and panics, resulting in him crashing his vehicle. Seizing his chance, Mansley alerts the convoy and lies to them that the Giant is attacking the city when the Giant is actually looking down at the citizens without causing any harm. Now awestruck and fearful, General Rogard listens to Mansley, prompting the convoy to return to Rockwell.
Striking the Giant squarely in the back with a rocket, the US military rolls back into Rockwell to destroy the unsuspecting Giant, under Mansley and Rogard's orders.
Forcing the giant to flee, Dean tries to explain to Mansley that the Giant only acts defensively and Hogarth is in his hands. Kent tells Dean he will take care of it, but instead lies to the General that the Giant has killed Hogarth, resulting in the President of the United States and the U.S. Navy and Air Force getting involved.
Soon afterward, while dodging a squadron of fighter planes, the Iron Giant (and Hogarth) are blown out of the sky, and an excited Kent and General Rogard move in to capture the Giant. While the recovered Giant is mourning the presumed death of Hogarth, Mansley takes the opportunity to strike and orders the military to open fire. Enraged by the continued assault, the Giant reverts into its heavily armed mode and attacks the military relentlessly.
Unable to defeat the Giant using guns, tanks, or battleships, Kent suggests to the General that they can destroy the Giant using a nuclear missile from the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571). General Rogard questions the plan, but Kent thinks the Giant can be lured out of the town, then destroyed.
- “Screw our country! I wanna live!”
- ―Mansley's last words before his defeat
As the military is ordered to fall back and the missile is prepped to be launched, Hogarth (after regaining consciousness) brings the Giant back to his senses and realizes that they must show the military the Giant is no longer a threat. Meanwhile, Annie tells them not to fire the missile, as her son is still alive, and Dean directly explains to General Rogard that the Giant is friendly and is only retaliating as a result of the military’s actions. Ever defiant, Mansley’s still asserts that the Giant must be destroyed and tells Rogard that Dean’s claim is a trick to avoid the missile’s launching. However, the Giant arrives holding Hogarth in his hands to prove that he's not a threat, and upon realizing that Hogarth is still alive, Rogard orders his men to stand down. Rogard attempts to have the launch aborted for good and in return not to make the same mistake again, but Mansley on the other hand, still assuming the Giant is a threat to the town, refuses to stand down and quickly snatches the radio from Rogard, screaming the order to the Nautilus to launch the missile.
Shocked and infuriated, Rogard informs Mansley that the missile is targeted to the Giant's current position, which will destroy not only the Giant, but also Rockwell and its entire population when the missile re-enters Earth's atmosphere. Wishing to survive, Kent tells the General that they can duck and cover in a nearby fallout shelter for safety, but the angry General tells him there is no way to survive the blast and that they are all going to die for their country thanks to Mansley's foolishness. Finally humiliated in front of his fellow Americans and refusing to take responsibility for his actions, Mansley snaps by renouncing his patriotism and attempts to escape in a military jeep after throwing the driver out in order to save himself and leave the entire town to its fate, declaring he wants to live. However, the Giant stops him by blocking his path with one of his hands, allowing General Rogard and his soldiers to hold Kent, as he is presumably removed from his position permanently and is sent to prison for his crimes and treachery.
- In the original script, a scene was to take place where Mansley and General Rogath go out to eat at Chat n' Chew Diner for a meeting, but both forget their wallets. The scene bears striking resemblance to the missile scene, which made it to the final cut. Mansley's orginal call to "dine and dash" is later replaced with the more conventional "duck and cover" as seen in the final cut.
- Although it is never mentioned in the film, Mansley is said to work in a small windowless office on Capitol Hill and his desire to catch the Giant stems from his want to further his own career.
- In the original script, Mansley was troubled by the peeling "Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena" emblem on his car and had to fix it manually, illustrating the neglect and insignificance of his position in the eyes of the government.
- Later scrapped in the final version, it appears that the army jeep stolen by Mansley was originally owned by him.
- Originally, Mansley was supposed to meet Annie Hughes at the Chat n' Chew Diner after overhearing the waitress saying Hogarth had told the children that he went to the power plant the night of the incident.
- Kent appears to have been originally scripted to woo Annie Hughes more than he does in the film to appear as the perfect father figure, to Hogarth's irritation.
- Rather than holding Hogarth hostage in his room like in the movie, the script originally had a scene where Kent spent “family” time with Annie and Hogarth where it is revealed that Hogarth’s father died in the Korean War and Hogarth goes to bed after arguing with Mansley.
- In an alternate ending, Kent was told by General Rogath that he was “under arrest... ‘and all that that implies’” as a crack at his Sources.
- Tommy Lee Jones, Alec Baldwin, Burt Reynolds, James Woods, Kevin Spacey, Patrick McGoohan, Dennis Hopper and Patrick Stewart were all considered to voice Kent Mansley before Christopher McDonald was cast.
- http://viooz.co/movies/3601-the-iron-giant-1999.html (Use at own risk)