Ben Barnes

Benjamin Thomas "Ben" Barnes (born 20 August 1981) is an English actor, best known for his portrayal of Caspian X in The Chronicles of Narnia films Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Ben Barnes was born in London to Tricia Barnes, a relationship therapist, and Thomas Barnes, a professor of psychiatry. He has a younger brother, Jack.

Barnes was educated at an independent school: King's College School in Wimbledon in West London, where he was a contemporary of film actor Khalid Abdalla and comedian Tom Basden. He studied Drama and English literature at Kingston University.

Ben Barnes began his career in musical theatre. As a teenager, he spent a few years as part of the National Youth Music Theatre, whose famous alumni also include Jude Law and Jamie Bell. At 15 years old, Barnes landed his first professional job as a drummer in the West End musical adaptation of Bugsy Malone. He was briefly a singer in the pop boyband Hyrise, which was in the running to represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 with the song "Leading Me On"; however, they lost out to James Fox and "Hold Onto Our Love". Barnes began working in television in 2006, including a guest appearance on the UK series Doctors. That same year, he joined the ensemble cast of a West End production of The History Boys, in which he starred as the sexually provocative Dakin, a role originally played by Dominic Cooper on stage and in the film The History Boys.

Barnes made his feature-film debut as Young Dunstan in 2007's Stardust, directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name. Barnes then starred as a Russian hoodlum named Cobakka in Suzie Halewood's Bigga Than Ben, which was released in 2008 in the United Kingdom and other European countries.

In February 2007, it was announced that Barnes would play the role of Caspian in the film adaption of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, directed by Andrew Adamson. Adamson said "Caspian is a coming of age and, to some degree, a loss of innocence story, with Caspian starting out quite naïve, then craving revenge and finally letting go of the vengeance." While many readers interpret Caspian as a child, a passage in the novel mentions his age to be near that of Peter's, so an older actor was sought to match William Moseley. Barnes had read the novel as a child, and was cast in two-and-a-half weeks after meeting with the filmmakers. He spent two months in New Zealand horse riding and stunt training to prepare for shooting.

Barnes says his Mediterranean accent in the movie was inspired in part by Mandy Patinkin's performance as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. Adamson did not expect to cast a British actor as Caspian, and said Barnes fit well into the surrogate family of Adamson and the four actors playing the Pevensies. When cast, Barnes was appearing in the National Theatre's West End production of The History Boys. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian producer Mark Johnson joked Barnes "probably isn't the National (Theatre)'s favorite actor right now", although Barnes has stated in interviews that he gave the theatre good notice. Barnes worked his way around the world in May and June 2008 to promote Prince Caspian.

A rose cultivar called 'Prince Caspian' was launched by Barnes in June, 2008, at BBC Gardener’s World Live in association with The Royal Horticultural Society at NEC Birmingham. Rosa 'Prince Caspian' was introduced by the rose nursery C&K Jones of Tarvin, Cheshire, and bred by internationally renowned rose breeder Tom Carruth of California. From the sale of each rose plant, a donation (20% of each sale) will go directly to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity as part of Disney’s partnership with the charity, to help raise £10 million towards the hospital's redevelopment appeal.

In the spring of 2008, he finished filming the role of John Whittaker for Noël Coward's romantic comedy, Easy Virtue opposite Jessica Biel. Written and directed by Australian Stephan Elliott, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2008. The film has screened at the Rio, Rome, Abu Dhabi, London and Adelaide Film Festivals. It also screened at the Tribeca Film Festival prior to its U.S. release on May 22, 2009.

Barnes next starred in the title role in a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, directed by Oliver Parker for Ealing Studios. The film was released on September 9, 2009, in the United Kingdom, and had its world premiere that month at the Toronto International Film Festival. For the remainder of 2009, Dorian Gray was released in Australia, Italy, Finland and Portugal. Dorian Gray has a 2010 release in countries that include Russia, Greece, Germany and Spain. In the United States, the film was released on August 24, 2010, as a direct-to-video DVD and Blu-ray.

In May 2009, he was nominated for MTV Movie Awards' Best Breakthrough Male for his performance in Prince Caspian, which went to Robert Pattinson from Twilight.

In June 2009, Barnes filmed the psychological thriller Locked In, directed by Suri Krishnamma, on location in Boston. In the movie (which was originally titled Valediction), Barnes plays an American father named Josh whose daughter seems to be in a coma after being in a car accident.

Barnes appeared as King Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment in the Narnia movie series. Directed by Michael Apted, the movie was filmed from July to November 2009 in Brisbane, Australia, and released in December 2010.

In January 2010, Barnes began filming Killing Bono, a comedy based on the Neil McCormick memoir Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelgänger, in which McCormick recounts his youth in Ireland as an aspiring rock star who is overshadowed by his friend Bono, the lead singer of U2. Barnes plays McCormick in Killing Bono, which is directed by Nick Hamm. Filming started at the beginning of January in the city of Lisburn. Information of the first few days can be found at Flixelpix. Killing Bono is scheduled to be released on April 1, 2011, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Barnes returned to the West End stage in London, with a starring role as World War I soldier Stephen Wraysford in Birdsong, a drama based on the Sebastian Faulks novel of the same title. The Birdsong play, directed by Trevor Nunn and adapted for the West End stage by writer Rachel Wagstaff, began previews at the Comedy Theatre in London on September 18, 2010, and opened on September 28, 2010. The play closed on January 15, 2011.

More of Ben Barnes' pictures below, click to zoom.


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