- “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.
Official Warner Bros. WebsiteEdit
- 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 looses his temper and corners Hogarth on two separate occasions. After finding a photograph of the Iron Giant Mansley, even traps Hogarth in the shed by his home and interrogates him, while his mother 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 and trapping him in his room to prevent him from helping his friends. His cruelty is only rivaled by his cowards though. Even after dooming the city of Rockwell, Mansley refuses to take note of the towns fate and tries to escape Rockwell in order to save himself, leaving the rest of the citizens to fend for themselves and likely perish.
Role in the FilmEdit
After the Iron Giant destroys the Rockwell power station and damages multiple power lines, while trying to consume their metal, Agent Kent Mansley arrives in Rockwell the following morning, after Earl Stutz calls the government about the “invader from Mars” he experienced in his boat. Immediately arriving at the station, he is greeted by foreman Marv Loach who shows him the inexplicably damage incurred at station. Although there are no recorded eyewitnesses, Marv is able to afford Mansley a crushed bb-gun recovered from the incident with the markings “Hog- Hug-”. Marv personally believes that some kind of “enormous beast” must have caused the destruction, however Mansley is very disbelieving as Rockwell is a small town where “the biggest thing is probably the homecoming queen”. Ready to leave, Mansley returns to his car to discover, to his horror, that around half of his car has been consumed. Quickly bringing Marv to the cite, they find that the entire 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 and leaves the station.
Meeting at the MayorsEditSometime 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 train crash nearby. Mansley helps himself to the mayor's car and leaves immediately for the incident.
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) confessed 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, however, after realizing the hand is gone, he opens the door to Mansley begrudgingly. 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 leaves the residence shortly after however, he turns around after realizing the bb-gun is Hogarth’s. After return, 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. With Mansley always present, Mansley keeps constant watch over Hogarth until Hogarth tries to leave the house. Unfortunately for Hogarth, Annie suggests he take Mansley with him to see the city sites. Visiting Eddy’s Rexall, Mansley begins to speak of the Sputnik and his fears of the thing lurching in the woods. When Hogarth acts oblivious to Mansley’s obvious hint at the giant, Mansley explodes into a rage and corners Hogarth. However before he is able to interrogate further, he is forced to the bathroom by coca-lax that Hogarth spiked his soda with.
Searching for EvidenceEdit
With 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.
Heading through the woods, Mansley talks with Benny who shows him the half bitten end of his truck and a damaged.
After a long and exhausting evening, Mansley strikes a camera…the very camera Hogarth took in to the woods while searching for the Iron Giant.
Invading the JunkyardEdit
Assault on the GiantEdit
- 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.
- Kent Mansley was originally scripted to work for the U.P.D. branch of the United States Government. “The Unexplained Phenomena Department”.
- Originally, Mansley was suppose to meet Annie Hughes at the Chat n' Chew Diner after overhearing busboys say 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, greatly irritating Hogarth.
- 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 the General Rogath that he was “under arrest... ‘and all that that implies’” as a crack at his signature phrase.
- “Hey there scout. Kent Mansley, I work for the government.”
- ”The army arrives in the morning, Hogarth. Don’t get cute.”
- ”You know, this sort of thing is why it’s so important to really chew your food.”
- ”Hundred-foot robot? He, he. That’s nutty. [laugh] What else did he say?”
- ”Screw our country! I WANT TO LIVE!”
- “Hog, Hug…HOGARTH HUGHES!”
- ”You want evidence? I’ll get you evidence. And when I do, I’m gonna want a memo distributed…And I’m gonna want that memo carbon copied and redistributed-!”