- “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 Mansley is the main antagonist of the 1999 animated science fiction film The Iron Giant, voiced by Christopher McDonald. He is a suave and conniving government agent who wishes to uncover Hogarth’s secret, with the intent of destroying the Iron Giant. He is also Hogarth Hughes' arch-enemy.
Official Warner Bros. Website BioEdit
- The manipulative, ambitious government agent sent to investigate the Iron Giant. With sleazy charm and a secret agenda to boost 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 military to protect the townspeople from the threat he perceives in the Giant.
Although suave and well mannered on the outside, Kent Mansley is a paranoid and ruthless agent with a hunger to further his own career. Scripted as a lowly agent in Washington, Kent has spent most of his life as an unnoticed federal government agent working in a cubicle. With the possibility of a "monster" in Rockwell, Kent hopes to expand his 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 fear over the creation of the Soviet 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 a handsome, clean-cut, and generally good-looking man in his mid thirties. 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 shear 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 black tie and white collard shirt. While at the Hughes home, Mansley also wears a pair of yellow suit pants with a green blazer and red tie instead of his grey suit and black tie.
Role in the FilmEdit
Soon after the Iron Giant destroys the Rockwell electrical substation and its overhead power lines while trying to consume the steel structures supporting the station, Federal Government Agent Kent Mansley is first seen in Rockwell the following morning. Earlier revealed to Dean, Earl Stutz called the government about the “invader from Mars” he encountered in his boat weeks earlier, as well as multiple strange occurrences around the town, prompting the government's action.
Immediately arriving in his official government vehicle on the site of the station 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 member of the "United States Government Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena" to the head electrical foreman, Marv Loach. Relatively uninterested in Marv, Mansley swiftly folows 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 Mansely 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 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 Mansely, however, the rest of his automobile was taken by the hungry 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'sEditSometime 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' 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 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 HughesEditSoon 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. 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, 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 HogarthEditThe 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 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 corners Hogarth. However, before he can interrogate the boy further, he is forced to the bathroom by the coca-lax that Hogarth spiked his ice cream soda with.
Searching for EvidenceEditWith Hogarth gone from his sights and coca-lax 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.
Cornering HogarthEditLater that evening, Mansley uses the bathroom at the Hughes' residence as a dark room to develop the photos from the 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, informing him that his "mom is working late tonight". Quickly forcing him into a chair and turning on a large light, Mansley is finally able to interrogate Hogarth without any distractions. Hogarth initially acts oblivious to his question and refuses to talk, but is dumbfounded when Mansley reveals the photos from his camera. Now cornered, Mansley threatens to make a phone call to the US army to destroy the giant, but when Hogarth mocks him by asking what is stopping him, he lashes out, pushes the lamp off the the table, and furiously inquires the Giant's whereabouts.
Becoming even more devious, Mansley tells Hogarth that he can't protect the Giant and anymore than his mother. Threatening to remove him from his mother's care, Hogath breaks down and tells Mansley that the Giant is hiding at the McCoppin Scrapyard. Pleased with receiving the information he's been searching for, Mansley tells Hogarth he won't have to worry about the incident they've just had because it's only been a bad dream. He then uses a Choloform rag to knock Hogarth unconscious, and puts him to bed.
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, Kent wakes in horror to see Hogarth out of bed and a dummy inside of his bed. He quickly composes himself, though, as a rather irked Annie questions why the army is in their frontyard. Kent suavely tells Annie to call him Kent, before he, Hogarth, Annie, and the army head off to McCoppin Scrap.
Invading the JunkyardEditAfter 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 harshly 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 GiantEditWhile leaving Rockwell distraughtly with the military convoy, Mansley sees Dean and Hogarth travelling 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 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 Rogarth’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.
Missile LaunchEditAs 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 neither aggressive nor destructive. 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, ordering the Nautilus to launch the missile. Shocked and infuriated, Rogard angrily 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 arrest Kent for his crimes and treachery. After the Giant sacrifices himself to destroy the missile and save Rockwell, Kent's ultimate fate is never revealed, though he is presumably removed from his position permanently and imprisoned for his crimes and treachery.
- 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.
- Originally, Mansley was supposed to meet Annie Hughes at the Chat n' Chew Diner after overhearing the waitress saying Hogarth had told their 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 were 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 signature phrase.