Interview: Ben Barnes Of Prince Caspian
You may be sick of seeing Ben Barnesí face all over posters, billboards and your television, but you probably donít feel nearly as weird about it as he does. The 25-year-old British actor, whose biggest movie role before this was in 2006ís little-seen The History Boys, is the star of one of Mayís biggest movies, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. With a Mediterranean accent, a hairpiece and a big olí sword, Caspian in the movie isnít a whole lot like Barnes himselfóin fact, Barnes is much more fun to be around. After the interview youíll read below, the collected journalists found him out in the hallway, playing with a plastic version of the sword he himself carries in the movie. Call me crazy, but it seems that Prince Caspian himself should not have to ask for a version of his own swordóit should be handed to him on a platter.
Read below for our interview with Barnes, who lied his way into the part by saying he could ride horses, pretended a wire on a stick was his hero Eddie Izzard, and thinks he might have a future in dandruff commercials thanks to his breakout role.
Were you pleased seeing yourself in the completed film?
I canít believe they made a film out of it. Itís been so long since we finished, I was wondering what they were doing. Now I see, because itís so different from what we actually were making.
Is it surreal to see yourself on all these billboards? Theyíre using your face as the selling point.
L.A. is a really dangerous place to be this week if youíre me. Just donít drive down Sunset Boulevard, because itís dangerous. They just leave me completely breathless. You get this slight tingle of nerves, and youíre not quite sure why, because itís this 8-story man on a building looking down at you. You know that itís you, and you know that itís a character youíve played, and yet thereís a part of you that just refuses to acknowledge that. Itís a very, very difficult emotion to explain. Itís almost quite confusing to see yourself on those things. Yes, itís very surreal. Someone says thereís going to be an action figure, and you think, ĎAmazing, I played with He-Man and Transformers.í And then you realize what you did with your He-Man and Transformers, which was smash them against each other, and chew their arms off. You think, itís cool to have an action figure if itís a collector in a box, but what theyíre really there for is for people to smash them up.
Youíre doing this movie with the four kids who grew up together working on the film. Did they make it easy for you?
Oh, completely. When I got the part, I got the DVD and watched all the DVD extras. I listened to Georgie sit there, like, ĎOh yeah, Willís like my brother, and Andrewís like the dad when dadís not there, and itís all lovely and itís really nice.í And I just thought, ĎOh, get me a bucket. I donít believe you.í And then I walked into the production office on the first day, and they were playing table tennis with each other, and they were sitting on each others laps and sharing ice cream. It was like something out of a Disney film. [We all pause for a moment and remember that Prince Caspian is, in fact, a Disney film]. Right. It really was like that. There was a family atmosphere on set, and they were all very welcoming. Anna and Will were a little emotional last night, knowing it was their last one. What people donít realize is that Anna is now 19, and Willís 21, and they were 13 and 15 when they first auditioned for these movies. Itís a big part of your childhood to give up to a project of this size. I think itís 100% worth it, theyíve got something to really show for it. But itís emotional for them. Itís hard for him to give me that sword at the end of the movie, you can see.
Did the scenes all remain intact from the way you shot them?
Iím not sure any scene remained intact, to be honest. Most of the dialogue changed, from what I can remember, because the animated characters you can change up to the last minute. Reepicheepís dialogue was nothing like what it was in the script. But it was brilliant, I mean, Eddie Izzard is one of my heroes. Iíve seen him countless times onstage. To have done scenes with him that he wasnít even there for is a great treat.
How did you do scenes with him? Did they play back audio on the set?
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