Ben Barnes (actor)

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Ben Barnes
Benjamin Thomas Barnes.jpg
Benjamin Thomas Barnes

(1981-08-20) 20 August 1981 (age 39)
London, England
Alma materKingston University
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1997–present

Benjamin Thomas Barnes (born 20 August 1981) is an English actor and singer. He is best known for his roles as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia film series, Logan Delos in Westworld, and Billy Russo in The Punisher. He is set to star in the forthcoming Netflix series Shadow and Bone.

He has also played Tom Ward in the fantasy film Seventh Son, the titular role in Dorian Gray, supporting roles in The Words and The Big Wedding, Samuel Adams in the 2015 miniseries Sons of Liberty, and Benjamin Greene in 2019 miniseries Gold Digger.

Early life and education[edit]

Barnes was born in London, to Tricia, a relationship therapist, and Thomas Barnes, a professor of psychiatry.[citation needed] He has a younger brother, Jack.[citation needed] Barnes cites his mother's Jewish South African childhood, his father's scientific education, and his attendance at what he felt was a "vaguely Christian" school where he "liked the hymns" as formative influences.[1][2]

Barnes was educated at two independent schools for boys: Homefield Preparatory School in Sutton and King's College School in Wimbledon, south-west London (where his classmates included the film actor Khalid Abdalla and comedian Tom Basden),[3] 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.[4][5]


1997–2008: 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.[6] 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".[7] 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.[6][8]

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.[9]

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.[10] 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."[11] 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.[12] Barnes says his Mediterranean accent in the movie was inspired in part by Mandy Patinkin's performance as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.[13] Adamson did not expect to cast a British actor as Caspian, and said Barnes fitted well into the surrogate family of Adamson and the four actors playing the Pevensies.[14]


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,[15] the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 8 September 2008.[16] The film has screened at the Rio, Rome, Abu Dhabi, London and Adelaide Film Festivals.[17][18] It also screened at the Tribeca Film Festival prior to its U.S. release on 22 May 2009.[19] Easy Virtue is a social comedy in which a glamorous American widow, Larita, impetuously marries a young Englishman, John Whittaker, when they return to England to meet his parents, his mother takes an immediate and strong dislike to the new daughter-in-law.[20] The score contains many Coward and jazz-age songs, some of which are sung by Barnes. In the United States, the film enjoyed some commercial success. Sony Pictures Classics paid an estimated one million dollars (US) to acquire the film's distribution rights in the United States, Latin America and South Africa.[21]

Barnes next starred in the title role in a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, directed by Oliver Parker for Ealing Studios.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

Barnes appeared as King Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), the third installment in the series. Directed by Michael Apted, the movie was filmed from July to November 2009 in Brisbane, Australia. It premiered on 30 November 2010 at a Royal Film Performance in London.[25] and released in December 2010.[26][27] It was released in traditional 2D, RealD 3D, and Digital 3D, and a limited release in 4D.[28] The film was the 12th highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide.[29]

In January 2010, Barnes began filming Killing Bono,[30] 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.[31] Barnes played McCormick in Killing Bono, which is directed by Nick Hamm.[32] 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.[33] The European premiere was at the Savoy Cinema in Dublin.[34] Sony Music Entertainment released the movie's soundtrack worldwide.[35]

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 opened on 28 September 2010, running through 15 January 2011.[36][37] He was then cast alongside Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana in The Words (2012).[38]

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 that included Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams.[39] The movie released on 26 April 2013.

In December 2012, Barnes began filming the modern day crime drama By the Gun with co-stars Harvey Keitel and Leighton Meester. By the Gun had its world premiere at the 2014 Zurich Film Festival,[40] theatrical premiere in Boston on 2 December 2014,[41] and a limited theatrical release on 5 December 2014.[42] It was released on DVD on 20 January 2015.[43]

Barnes played Tom Ward in the film Seventh Son (2014).[44][45] Directed by Sergei Bodrov and co-starring Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore, it is based on the novel The Spook's Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the US) by Joseph Delaney.[46] The presentation was at Comic-Con International 2011. The film was released in France on 17 December 2014, and in Canada and the United States on 6 February 2015.[47]

In 2015, Barnes starred as Sam Adams in the History Channel's three-part fictional mini-series Sons of Liberty.[48] Barnes also starred with Katherine Heigl in the romantic drama Jackie & Ryan.[49] On 20 July 2015 it was announced that Barnes would replace Eion Bailey as Logan Delos in HBO's science fiction thriller Westworld, the first season of which aired in the fall of 2016.[50]

In September 2016, Barnes was cast as Billy Russo in the Marvel Netflix series The Punisher.[51] In October 2019, Barnes was cast as the Darkling in upcoming Netflix series Shadow and Bone.



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Stardust Young Dunstan Thorn
2008 Bigga than Ben Cobakka
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Prince Caspian X
Easy Virtue John Whittaker
2009 Dorian Gray Dorian Gray
2010 Locked In Josh Sawyer
The 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 Jackie & Ryan Ryan Brenner
By the Gun Nick Tortano
Seventh Son Thomas "Tom" Ward
2017 Love Me Like You Do Ryan


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Doctors Craig Unwin Episode: "Facing Up"
Split Decision Chris Wilbur TV film
2015 Sons of Liberty Samuel "Sam" Adams Miniseries
Exposed Stoya TV film
2016–2018 Westworld Logan Delos HBO Series: Main cast (season 1);Recurring (season 2); Guest (Season 3)
2017–2019 The Punisher Billy Russo / Jigsaw Netflix Original Series:[52] Main cast; 25 episodes
2019 Gold Digger Benjamin Greene Miniseries
2021 Shadow and Bone General Kirigan / The Darkling In production[53]


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Bugsy Malone Drummer National Youth Music Theatre
The Ballad of Salomon Pavey Ralph
1999 The Ragged Child Anthony Ashley-Cooper
2001 The Dreaming Alexander
2002 Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Michael
2003 Exposure Harry Larkyns Kingston University Drama on Stage
2004 Loving Ophelia Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Pleasance Theatre
2005 Blag: The Musical Jimmy Jesus New Musicals
Sex, Chips & Rock n' Roll Justin DeVere Montague / The Wolf The Royal Exchange Theatre Company
Talking to Mr. Warner Corelli New Musicals
2006–07 The History Boys Dakin Wyndham's Theatre
2010 Birdsong Stephen Wraysford Comedy Theatre

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role Ref.
2016 "Where's the Love?" The Black Eyed Peas featuring The World Himself

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Prince Caspian X


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
2009 MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Male Nominated
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 Nominated Westworld


  1. ^ "Ben Barnes: gerne on Tour". Fan Lexikon. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 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...")
  2. ^ Hay, Carla (13 November 2011). "Ben Barnes opens up about his musician mindset and working with legendary actors". u2360gradi. Retrieved 30 May 2012. "My mum was raised Jewish, my dad is very scientifically minded..." ("Mia madre è stata sollevata ebreo, mio padre è molto mentalità scientifica...")
  3. ^ Ben Barnes: Prince of hearts The Independent newspaper online. Created: 19 June 2009. Retrieved: 5 November 2011.
  4. ^ Ben Barnes – Biography Archived 27 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Ben Barnes Website Retrieved: 4 November 2011.
  5. ^ Ben Barnes: the new prince of Hollywood The Daily Telegraph Created: 25 June 2008. Retrieved: 4 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Rise to stardom – Ben Barnes – Features". The Stage. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  7. ^ CosmoGIRL! magazine. June/July 2008.
  8. ^ "Ben Barnes Back on Stage in Birdsong Premiere – Birdsong at The Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly The Comedy Theatre) – London – News". Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Bigga Than Ben: A Russian's Guide to Ripping Off London (2007)". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "In brief: Barnes skips History for Caspian". The Guardian. London. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007.
  11. ^ Tom Johnson (11 April 2008). "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Character Guide". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  12. ^ Edward Douglas (19 October 2007). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Archived from the original on 14 November 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2007.
  13. ^ Dan Jolin (April 2008). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Empire. p. 96.
  14. ^ "Orchestrating Magic in Narnia All Over Again". Disney Insider. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2008.
  15. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (17 January 2008). "Elliott takes on 'Easy Virtue'". Variety. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  16. ^ Cameron Bailey. "A film that is as clever and hilarious as it is well crafted". Toronto Film Festival. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008.
  17. ^ "Script hooks Ivin and Adelaide gets a road trip – Film – Entertainment". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  18. ^ Editorial, Reuters. ""Easy Virtue" tops favorites at Rome film fest". Reuters UK. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Easy Virtue, Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, to Get May 22 Release – Theater News – Apr 2, 2009". 2 April 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  20. ^ Holden, Stephen (21 May 2009). "Marry in Haste, Repent in a Castle, in Stephan Elliott's Film, With Jessica Biel and Colin Firth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  21. ^ Swart, Sharon (16 October 2008). "Sony Classics snags 'Easy Virtue'". Variety. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  22. ^ Stuart Kemp (18 May 2008). "Ben Barnes to shine as Dorian Gray". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (29 May 2009). "Can Anyone Beat Robert Pattinson For Breakthrough Male Performance? | MTV Movie Awards". Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  24. ^ Terri Schwartz (15 June 2009). "Exclusive: 'Dollhouse' Star Eliza Dushku Reveals Details of New Thriller 'Valediction'".'s Hollywood Crush.
  25. ^ "Voyage of the Dawn Treader film chosen for royal gala". BBC News. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  26. ^ ""The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" Begins Filming in Australia's Gold Coast". 27 July 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  27. ^ "Dawn Treader Casting Call for Australians". NarniaWeb. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  28. ^ "South Korea to See 'Dawn Treader' in 4D!? | NarniaWeb". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  29. ^ "2010 Yearly Box Office Results – Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  30. ^ Felperin, Leslie (3 April 2011). "Review: 'Killing Bono'". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  31. ^ "'Killing Bono' Redirects Sheehan's Shooting Star | The Irish Film & Television Network". Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  32. ^ "Nick Hamm Starts 'Killing Bono'". The Irish Film & Television Network. 6 January 2010.
  33. ^ "Killing Bono Stars Chat To FILMCLUB | Film Club | News | MTV UK". 30 March 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  34. ^ "Killing Bono premier | meg". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  35. ^ "Paramount takes UK rights to Killing Bono from Salt". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  36. ^ "London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more – WhatsOnStage". whatsonstage. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  37. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  38. ^ "The Words (2012) ***1/2 Movie Review by Chris Pandolfi". Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  39. ^ "Lionsgate Says 'I Do' to 'The Big Wedding' With Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton". TheWrap.
  40. ^ "Happy 10th Birthday, Zürich Film Festival!". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  41. ^ "'By the Gun' gets premiere – The Boston Globe". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  42. ^ "Shot-in-Boston 'Buy the Gun' set to premiere – The Boston Globe". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  43. ^ Conti, Garrett. "DVD reviews: 'The Boxtrolls,' 'The Drop' and 'Lucy'". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  44. ^ Sneider, Jeff (24 June 2011). "'Narnia' star Ben Barnes is WB's 'Son'". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  45. ^ Gallagher, Brian (24 June 2011). "The Seventh Son Gets Ben Barnes". MovieWeb. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  46. ^ "Jeff Bridges to Play Exorcist in THE SEVENTH SON". Collider. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  47. ^ Kroll, Justin (27 November 2013). "Universal, Legendary Push Back 'Warcraft,' 'Seventh Son' Dates". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  48. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (23 January 2015). "From Valiant Prince to Smoldering Rebel". New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  49. ^ Lodge, Guy (31 August 2014). "Venice Film Review: 'Jackie & Ryan'". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  50. ^ Hibberd, James. "Westworld casting switch: Narnia star replacing Once Upon actor". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  51. ^ Ausiello, Michael (12 September 2016). "The Punisher: Ben Barnes Joins Netflix's Latest Marvel Spinoff as Series Regular". TV Line.
  52. ^ "The Punisher (TV series)", Wikipedia, 6 August 2020, retrieved 14 August 2020
  53. ^ Jones, Marcus (2 October 2019). "Netflix announces Shadow and Bone cast and fans are excited to see Ben Barnes as the Darkling". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 October 2019.

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