Date of Birth
20 December 1981, London, England, UK
Benjamin Thomas Barnes
6' 1" (1.85 m)
British actor Benjamin Thomas Barnes was born in London, England, to Patricia (Becker), a relationship therapist, and Thomas Barnes, a professor of psychiatry. He has a brother, Jack. His mother is from South Africa while his father is English.
Barnes studied at Homefield Preparatory and King's College, both independent all boys' schools. He began acting in musical theatre, including at the National Youth Music Theatre, and was a member of Hyrise, a boy band. In 2004, he graduated with BA Honours from Kingston University, where he studied drama and English literature.
In 2006, Barnes played Dakin in The History Boys on stage, and made his television debut on the series Doctors (2000). His first film was Matthew Vaughn's Stardust (2007), and his second major film role was the epic The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), in which he played Prince Caspian. He next co-starred with Jessica Biel in Easy Virtue (2008), played the title role in Ol Parker's Dorian Gray (2009), and reprised his role, now as King Caspian, in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).
In 2011, he co-starred with Robert Sheehan, playing brothers, in Killing Bono (2011). He also had major roles in the films The Words (2012) and The Big Wedding (2013).
In 2015, Barnes played the title role in the fantasy adventure Seventh Son (2014), opposite Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore. The same year, he portrayed American founding father Sam Adams in the History Channel mini-series Sons of Liberty (2015).
Member of the National Youth Music Theatre 1997-2003.
Graduated with a degree in English and Drama from Kingston University in 2004.
Is one of a number of actors to be photographed by Claire Newman-Williams, including Alison Doody, Thomas James Longley, and Adam Garcia.
Was in the short lived boy band Hyrise; his band performed their song, "Leading Me On" in 2004 for Eurovision Song Contest.
His parents influenced him to go to university first before heading off to become a serious actor.
He can also sing, play drums and piano.
He has a younger brother named Jack.
Appeared in The Kooks' music clip for "The Sofa Song".
Said that he based his Prince Caspian accent on that of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride (1987) because the night before auditions, he was sorting through his DVD collection trying to find something to help him.
Because England had not qualified for Euro 2008 (football), Ben supported the Dutch. Ben's maternal grandmother was born in the Netherlands.
Favourite movie is This Is Spinal Tap (1984) .
His father is a psychiatrist and his mother is a therapist. Ben's father is of English background. Ben's mother, who was born in South Africa, is of Jewish heritage. Ben's maternal grandfather, Emil Becker, was from Germany, and Ben's maternal grandmother, Cornelia Havelaar, was from the Netherlands.
Wore hair extensions for the role of Prince Caspian.
He is widely known as Bin Bons on the Internet.
Supports Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Tried to purchase the picture of himself used in Dorian Gray (to give to his mother), but the painting was not available for sale and is now in a museum.
Was one of the four finalists for the role of "Edward Cullen" in Twilight (2008).
Good friends with "Narnia" co-star, Will Poulter.
Was one of two finalists for the role of "Aro Volturi" in the Twilight movies.
Ben is a third cousin, twice removed, of Henry Kissinger, who served as United States National Security Advisor and United States Secretary of State. Ben's maternal grandfather, Emil Becker, and Henry Kissinger, were third cousins. Henry Kissinger's great-great-grandfather, Meyer Loeb Kissinger, was Ben's great-great-great-great-grandfather. Ben and Henry are each descended from a different wife of Meyer's, Ben from Meyer's first wife and Henry from Meyer's second wife (his wives, Marianne David-Stahl and Schoenlein David-Stahl, were sisters).
Usually stars in period movies or fantasy films
Dark brown eyes
I got involved [in "Caspian"] very late, very late, literally a couple of weeks before they had to start shooting. I think they were desperate, at this point. 'Whoever walks in the door next, THAT'S the guy.' And it was me. (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, May 13, 2008)
Obviously, you wouldn't be human if you didn't get a disposable camera and try and get a picture of yourself by your own movie billboard (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #16.89 (2008)).
The audition was to play a Los Angeles lifeguard. So I turn up, pasty, skinny, off the plane, black shirt. I walk in, there's like ten guys in there, blonde, tanned, enormous. And I kid you not, one of them had his pant leg rolled up and was going, "Dude, I just don't know how to get the definition in my calves. I can't do it." And I thought, I'm in the wrong place (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #16.89 (2008)).
I played a rock star alien. I even made my own guitar -- out of cardboard. It was spectacular, if I may say so myself. (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, May 13, 2008)
My favorite one to eat pizza with is Anna [Popplewell]. My favorite one to go to the gym with is William [Moseley]. My favorite one to mock and be mocked by is Skandar [Keynes] and my favorite one to hug is Georgie [Henley].
(on being recognized) Not on a regular basis. You'd be surprised how people don't put two and two together. I was on a plane from New York to L.A. and the only movie that was playing was 'Stardust'. And the first 10 minutes of that movie is pretty much just me. I was thinking, "Oh no, this is embarrassing, everyone's going to be looking at me." And ... nothing! Nothing ... so maybe no one will recognize me in 'Caspian' either.
(About the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)) I felt awkward when they first gave me the shirt and it had like flowers on it. And I was like, "Really? Flowers? Flowers on the shirt?" But then when they gave me - when they showed me, "Yeah, but later on you get the big armor with the lion on it". I was like, "Okay. Cool. Trade."
(On his reaction to the The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) posters) I don't know. It's a combination thing. Mostly it's just weird. Mostly it's just surreal. I mean you walk, you know, you drive down Sunset Boulevard and there you are, you know, fifteen stories high. And it is surreal. And it's a little bit ... it's embarrassing. But it's flattering at the same time. You know, a big part of you thinks it's really cool and then another part of me worries that, you know, this is kind of an ensemble film why is there not, why haven't they got a busy poster like they had for the last one? You know, it's starting to feel like pressure to be this kind of action hero, which is not the character at all. But, you know, it's great and it's scary.
(when asked if he has Googled himself) Have I Googled myself? Yeah, well, a little while ago. I don't like it; I don't like the Internet. No. It's not a healthy place to go if you're in the public eye. Because there's too many people who have too many opinions about you, and about your acting. And, you know, everyone wants to be a critic. I just don't really approve of it. I've never been on the Internet saying what I think of somebody else's performance in something. [How do you deal with that?] Well, you have to ignore the really over the top good stuff and you have to ignore the really over the top bad stuff. And kind of be confident in the fact that you know it's probably somewhere in the middle. And that's sort of what I'm trying to do at the moment.
[About whether or not he based his accent for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) on Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride (1987) ] You know what, when I got the audition sides, it said on the bottom, "Please prepare with a Spanish accent," and I went and rummaged in my DVD collection and went, "I gotta have something with Antonio Banderas in it, surely!" I started watching Desperado - he doesn't talk! He just looks moody. And I was like, "Ah, man, this isn't gonna do," so I found, I suddenly thought, "Princess Bride! Inigo Montoya. 'You killed my father, prepare to die.'" And then, I get on set and I've got my first scene with Miraz, my uncle, and I've got my sword at his throat and it's "Why did you kill my father?" and I'm thinking, "This sounds familiar..."
I don't wear underpants in bed. They are really uncomfortable. I don't wear anything in bed. I like girls to wear the same as me. His 'n' hers matching invisible outfits. But I think I am a gentleman in bed.
[on religion]: I didn't really have much of that growing up. My mum was raised Jewish, my dad is very scientifically minded, and my school was vaguely Christian. We sang hymns in school. I liked the hymns bit, but apart from that, I can take it or leave it. So I had lots of different influences when I was younger.