Ben Barnes (actor)

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Ben Barnes
Ben Barnes by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Barnes at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2013
Born Benjamin Thomas Barnes
(1981-08-20) 20 August 1981 (age 35)
London, England, UK
Occupation Actor
Years active 2006–present

Benjamin Thomas "Ben" Barnes[1] (born 20 August 1981) is an English actor. He is known for his portrayal of Caspian X in The Chronicles of Narnia films Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, for playing the title character in the 2009 adaptation of Dorian Gray, for his supporting roles in the films The Words and The Big Wedding, and for his portrayal of American Founding Father Samuel Adams in the 2015 miniseries Sons of Liberty.

Early life and education[edit]

Barnes was born in London, to Tricia, a relationship therapist, and Thomas Barnes, a professor of psychiatry.[2][3] He has a younger brother, Jack. His mother, who is Jewish, is originally from South Africa.[4][5]

Barnes was educated at two independent schools for boys: Homefield Preparatory School in Sutton, Surrey[6] and King's College School in Wimbledon, south-west London (where his classmates included the film actor Khalid Abdalla and comedian Tom Basden),[7] followed by Kingston University in Kingston-upon-Thames, where he studied drama and English literature, and from which he graduated with BA Honours in 2004.[6][8]


Early work and Prince Caspian[edit]

Barnes at the UK premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, June 2008.

Barnes began his career in musical theatre. As a teenager, he spent a few years as part of the National Youth Music Theatre, whose alumni also include actors Jude Law and Jamie Bell.[9] At fifteen, 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 boy band 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".[10] 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.[9][11]

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.[12]

In February 2007, it was announced that Barnes would play the role of Caspian in the film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, directed by Andrew Adamson.[13] 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."[14] 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.[15] Barnes says his Mediterranean accent in the movie was inspired in part by Mandy Patinkin's performance as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.[16] 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.[17]


In the spring of 2008, Barnes 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 8 September 2008.[18] 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 22 May 2009.[19] Barnes next starred in the title role in a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, directed by Oliver Parker for Ealing Studios.[20] The film was released on 9 September 2009, in the United Kingdom, and had its world premiere that month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In May 2009, Barnes was nominated for MTV Movie Awards' Best Breakthrough Male for his performance in Prince Caspian, which went to Robert Pattinson from Twilight.[21] 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.[22] Barnes appeared as King Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment in the series. Directed by Michael Apted, the movie was filmed from July to November 2009 in Brisbane, Australia, and released in December 2010.[23][24]

In January 2010, Barnes began filming Killing Bono,[25] 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.[26] Barnes played McCormick in Killing Bono, which is directed by Nick Hamm.[27] Filming started at the beginning of January in the city of Lisburn. Killing Bono was released on 1 April 2011, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[28]

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 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 18 September 2010, and opened on 28 September 2010.[29][30] The play closed on 15 January 2011.[31] He was then cast alongside Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana in The Words.[32] He played the younger version of Jeremy Irons character whose manuscript, based on his life in France, has been found by Bradley Cooper. The film opened to generally negative reviews from critics.[33]

In 2013 Barnes had one film released, The Big Wedding, a remake of the original 2006 French film Mon frère se marie (My brother is getting married). The movie starred an ensemble cast which included Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams.[34] He played Alejandro Griffin, the adopted son of Don Griffin (played by Robert De Niro) and Ellie Griffin (played by Diane Keaton), who is getting married to Melissa "Missy" O'Connor (played by Amanda Seyfried). He asks his divorced parents to get along for the duration of his marriage as his biological mother, Madonna Soto (Patricia Rae), believes divorce to be a sin. The movie release on the 26 April 2013 to largely negative reviews.[35] It currently holds a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 101 reviews with the site's consensus stating that its 'all star cast is stranded in a contrived, strained plot that features broad stabs at humor but few laughs.[35]

Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Sergei Bodrov, and Alicia Vikander speaking in the Seventh Son discussion during the Legendary Pictures panel at the Comic-Con International, July 2011.

Barnes played Tom Ward in the film Seventh Son (2014)[36] [37] - is a epic fantasy action film directed by Sergei Bodrov and starring Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore, based on the novel The Spook's Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the US) by Joseph Delaney.[38] The presentation was at Comic-Con International 2011. Filming began in March 2012.[39] The film was released in France on December 17, 2014, and in Canada and the United States on February 6, 2015. [40]

In 2015, he starred as Sam Adams in the History Channel's three-part fictional mini-series Sons of Liberty.[41] The miniseries centers primarily on the years (1765-1776) prior to start of the American Revolutionary War. Various American Revolutionary and British Army officers such as Samuel Adams, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and British General Thomas Gage are central characters.[42] The History Channel billed the series as a "dramatic interpretation of events" and a work of "historical fiction", arguing the goal of the miniseries was "to capture the spirit of the time, convey the personalities of the main characters, and focus on real events that have shaped our past". [43]He also starred with Katherine Heigl in the romantic drama Jackie & Ryan.[44] Jackie & Ryan was nominated at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.[45]In July 20, 2015 it was announced that Barnes will replace Eion Bailey as Logan in HBO's science fiction thriller Westworld, the first season of which aired in the fall of 2016. [46] The first season has a 89% approval rating based on 73 critics on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 8.2 out of 10, and an average episode score of 94%.[47]

In September 2016, Barnes was cast as Billy Russo in the upcoming Netflix series The Punisher.[48] His character Billy Russo is Castle’s best friend from when he served in the Special Forces. Russo runs Anvil, a private military corporation.[49]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Bigga Than Ben Cobakka
2007 Stardust Young Dunstan Uncredited role
2008 Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, TheThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Prince Caspian X
2008 Easy Virtue John Whittaker
2009 Dorian Gray Dorian Gray
2010 Locked In Josh Sawyer
2010 Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, TheThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader King Caspian X
2011 Killing Bono Neil McCormick
2012 The Words The Young Man
2013 The Big Wedding Alejandro Griffin
2014 By the Gun Nick Tortano
2014 Jackie & Ryan Ryan Brenner
2014 Seventh Son Tom Ward


Year Title Role Notes
2000 S Club TV Himself Co-Host/Presenter
2006 Doctors Craig Unwin Episode: "Facing Up"
2006 Split Decision Chris Wilbur TV movie
2015 Sons of Liberty Sam Adams TV miniseries
2015 Exposed Stoya TV movie
2016 Westworld Logan Lead role
2017 The Punisher Billy Russo Main cast


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Bugsy Malone Drummer National Youth Music Theatre
1997 The Ballad of Salomon Pavey Ralph National Youth Music Theatre in association with King’s College School Wimbledon.
1998 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 50th Birthday Celebration Himself / Performer (National Youth Music Choir) National Youth Music Theatre
1999 The Ragged Child Anthony Ashley-Cooper National Youth Music Theatre
2001 The Dreaming Alexander National Youth Music Theatre
2002 Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me Michael National Youth Music Theatre
2003 Exposure Harry Larkyns Presented by KUDOS (Kingston University Drama On Stage)
2004 LOVING OPHELIA Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Pleasance Theatre
2004 Judi Dench & Friends (extracts from Murder In The Cathedral) Beckett The Rose of Kingston Theatre
2005 Blag – The Musical Jimmy Jesus New Musicals
2005 Sex, Chips & Rock N Roll The Wolf The Royal Exchange Theatre Company
2005 Talking To Mr. Warner Corelli New Musicals
2006-07 The History Boys Dakin Wyndham's Theatre
2010 Birdsong Stephen Wraysford Comedy Theatre, London

Video game[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (video game) Caspian X

Music video[edit]

Year Artist
2016 Where Is the Love? The Black Eyed Peas


Year Title Album
2008 "A Room with a View" Easy Virtue Soundtrack
"I'll See You Again"
"When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going"
2011 "Do Anything You Wanna Do" Killing Bono Soundtrack
"Some Kind of Lovin"
"Cry Baby"
"Where We Want To Be"
"Kicking Off Again"
"Better Way"
"On My Own"
"Love Never Dies"
"Play Dead"
2012 "La Marseillaise" The Words
2015 "Georgia Crawl" Jackie & Ryan Soundtrack
"Last Kind Words"
"Dance All Night"
"I Know You Rider"
"Sitting On Top of the World"
"900 Miles"
"Birds Fly"
"As the Road Goes"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Work
2008 National Movie Awards Best Performance - Male Nominated The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
2008 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Breakout Male Nominated The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
2009 MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Male Nominated The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
2011 National Movie Awards Performance of the Year Nominated The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Pending Westworld


  1. ^ - Ben Barnes: Chatting with "Caspian"
  2. ^ Rollings, Grant (30 June 2008). "Ben's a prince among men". The Sun. London. 
  3. ^ Stated on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 13 May 2008
  4. ^ "Ben Barnes: gerne on Tour". Fan Lexikon. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2012-05-30. sagte der 26-Jährige: "Ich würde mir noch gern mehr von Neuseeland anschauen. Oder ins Geburtsland meiner Mutter reisen... nach Südafrika..." ("said the 26-year-old: "I would like to see more of New Zealand. Or travel to the birthplace of my mother... South Africa...") 
  5. ^ Hay, Carla (2011-11-13). "Ben Barnes opens up about his musician mindset and working with legendary actors". u2360gradi. Retrieved 2012-05-30. "My mum was raised Jewish, my dad is very scientifically minded..." ("Mia madre è stata sollevata ebreo, mio padre è molto mentalità scientifica...") 
  6. ^ a b Ben Barnes - Biography Ben Barnes Website Retrieved: 4 November 2011.
  7. ^ Ben Barnes: Prince of hearts The Independent newspaper online. Created: 19 June 2009. Retrieved: 5 November 2011.
  8. ^ Ben Barnes: the new prince of Hollywood The Daily Telegraph Created: 25 June 2008. Retrieved: 4 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Rise to stardom - Ben Barnes - Features". The Stage. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  10. ^ CosmoGIRL! magazine. June/July 2008.
  11. ^ "Ben Barnes Back on Stage in Birdsong Premiere - Birdsong at The Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly The Comedy Theatre) - London - News". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  12. ^ "Bigga Than Ben: A Russian's Guide to Ripping Off London (2007)". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "In brief: Barnes skips History for Caspian". The Guardian. London. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  14. ^ Tom Johnson (11 April 2008). "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Character Guide". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  15. ^ Edward Douglas (19 October 2007). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Archived from the original on 14 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  16. ^ Dan Jolin (April 2008). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Empire. p. 96. 
  17. ^ "Orchestrating Magic in Narnia All Over Again". Disney Insider. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  18. ^ Cameron Bailey. "A film that is as clever and hilarious as it is well crafted". Toronto Film Festival. 
  19. ^ "Easy Virtue, Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, to Get May 22 Release - Theater News - Apr 2, 2009". 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  20. ^ Stuart Kemp (18 May 2008). "Ben Barnes to shine as Dorian Gray". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  21. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (2009-05-29). "Can Anyone Beat Robert Pattinson For Breakthrough Male Performance? | MTV Movie Awards". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  22. ^ Terri Schwartz (15 June 2009). "Exclusive: 'Dollhouse' Star Eliza Dushku Reveals Details of New Thriller 'Valediction'".'s Hollywood Crush. 
  23. ^ ""The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" Begins Filming in Australia's Gold Coast". 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  24. ^ "Dawn Treader Casting Call for Australians". NarniaWeb. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  25. ^ Felperin, Leslie (2011-04-03). "Review: 'Killing Bono'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  26. ^ "'Killing Bono' Redirects Sheehan's Shooting Star | The Irish Film & Television Network". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  27. ^ "Nick Hamm Starts 'Killing Bono'". The Irish Film & Television Network. 6 January 2010. 
  28. ^ "Killing Bono Stars Chat To FILMCLUB | Film Club | News | MTV UK". 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  29. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (18 June 2010). "It's About to Get Busy on the Western Front". London: Daily Mail. 
  30. ^ "London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more - WhatsOnStage". whatsonstage. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "The Words (2012) ***1/2 Movie Review by Chris Pandolfi". Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  33. ^ "The Words". 7 September 2012. 
  34. ^ "Lionsgate Says 'I Do' to 'The Big Wedding' With Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton". TheWrap. 
  35. ^ a b "The Big Wedding". 26 April 2013. 
  36. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2011-06-24). "'Narnia' star Ben Barnes is WB's 'Son'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  37. ^ Gallagher, Brian (24 June 2011). "The Seventh Son Gets Ben Barnes". MovieWeb. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  38. ^ "Jeff Bridges to Play Exorcist in THE SEVENTH SON". Collider. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  39. ^ Gallagher, Brian (1 November 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Ben Barnes Talks The Seventh Son and The Chronicles of Narnia". MovieWeb. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  40. ^ Kroll, Justin (2013-11-27). "Universal, Legendary Push Back 'Warcraft,' 'Seventh Son' Dates". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  41. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (23 January 2015). "From Valiant Prince to Smoldering Rebel". New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  42. ^ "History's 'Sons of Liberty' miniseries casts Dean Norris, Ben Barnes, Henry Thomas". 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  43. ^ "Discover the Truth Behind History Channel's Sons of Liberty Series - Journal of the American Revolution". Journal of the American Revolution. 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  44. ^ Lodge, Guy (2014-08-31). "Venice Film Review: 'Jackie & Ryan'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  45. ^ Mann, Ami Canaan; Barnes, Ben; DuVall, Clea; Lind, Emily Alyn (2015-07-03), Jackie & Ryan, retrieved 2017-01-15 
  46. ^ Hibberd, James. "Westworld casting switch: Narnia star replacing Once Upon actor". Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  47. ^ Westworld: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 2017-01-15 
  48. ^ Ausiello, Michael (12 September 2016). "The Punisher: Ben Barnes Joins Netflix's Latest Marvel Spinoff as Series Regular". TV Line. 
  49. ^ "Netflix Original Series 'Marvel's The Punisher' Announces Three New Cast Members". News | Retrieved 2017-01-15. 

External links[edit]