Ben Barnes might not be a household name just yet, but landing the lead role as Prince Caspian in Disney’s second installment of “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise is about to change everything for the young actor.
Fans might recognize Ben from his role in the fantasy romp “Stardust,” and theatergoers lucky enough to catch him in the London West End production of “History Boys” already have a taste for the talents of AccessHollywood.com’s newest Rising Star.
Upon hearing the news he had been crowned Access Hollywood.com’s new Rising Star, he wondered if he had won something. When told the prize would be all eyes on him, he responded with a nervous laugh, “That’s slightly terrifying. Let’s hope I can live up to it!”
In between his busy schedule of film premieres and an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange, Access caught up with Ben to talk about “Narnia,” his newfound fame and how he ended up stepping into the coveted role of Prince Caspian.
“I saw the film for the first time last week. It was exciting to see seven months of work come together,” Ben told Access. “I don’t love to watch myself on screen, however.”
Ben was discovered for the role of Prince Caspian when a casting agent saw his performance in the popular British play, “The History Boys.” After landing the plum role of Prince Caspian, Ben was forced to decide between the stage and the screen.
“It was a difficult decision, but I had been part of the production for six months and playing the role of Prince Caspian was not a role I could ever turn down,” he said.
In fact, the role of Prince Caspian was a childhood fantasy for Ben.
“I grew up reading the books and getting the part was two dreams come true for me,” he said. “The first landing a leading role in a Hollywood film, and the other having the opportunity to play such a beloved character.”
Though Ben’s name might be new to most, his face has popped up across the country on billboards and buses in an advertising blitz that he said is making his head spin a little.
“The first time I saw the poster I turned to the producer and said, ‘Is this sensible? You know no one knows who I am!’ It’s all a bit overwhelming, really,” Ben admitted. “But, my brother said something that really made sense. He pointed out that it’s not Ben Barnes. It’s Prince Caspian. So where I know that’s my face, it’s still a character.”
Character or not, Ben Barnes mania has hit America as fans prepare for another trip to the enchanted land of Narnia. The craze over Ben has even caught on with Access producer Kathy Suarez, who said of her first encounter with the young star, “his hair was literally blowing. His smile was perfection and that British accent sealed the deal.”
The Ben mania doesn’t show any signs of slowing, as he and the rest of the “Narnia” cast start shooting the next installment, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” in October.
After “Prince Caspian” premieres and Ben gets a much-needed break, he said he’s excited to checkout fellow summer blockbusters, “Iron Man,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “The Dark Knight.”
Next up for Ben is the romantic comedy “Easy Virtue,” where he’ll star opposite Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, and Kristin Scott Thomas. But first, find out if Ben can save Narnia from evil forces in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” opening May 16.