The Oscar winner is virtually unrecognisable as pickpocket Fagin in the new movie, and he credits old photographs of late 19th century Jews with his amazing transformation.
He explains, "When I was filming Schindler's List I bought some sepia photographs in a store in the Jewish quarter of late 19th century Jews in Krakow.
"They had wonderful faces, extraordinary clothes... and I was very fond of them. They were part of the performance in Schindler's List.
"I loved them and I wanted them to be part of my Fagin too."
As for Fagin's moth-eaten costume, Kingsley called on an old antiques dealer friend to give him the perfect look.
He adds, "The costume came from a junk dealer I met as a child - he sold foreign coins, stamps, old musical instruments, clothing.
"I used to go and buy things from him I was fascinated by him. He wore three overcoats tied together with a piece of rope, just like I do as Fagin."