Ben Barnes (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Barnes
Barnes at the 2021 Comic-Con Germany
Benjamin Thomas Barnes

(1981-08-20) 20 August 1981 (age 42)
London, England
Alma materKingston University (BA)
Occupation(s)Actor, singer
Years active1997–present

Benjamin Thomas Barnes (born 20 August 1981) is an English film, stage and television actor. He is best known for his roles as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia film series (2008–2010), Logan Delos in Westworld (2016–2020), Billy Russo/Jigsaw in the Marvel series The Punisher (2017–2019), and The Darkling in the Netflix series Shadow and Bone (2021–2023).

He also played young Dunstan Thorn in Stardust (2007), the title role in Dorian Gray (2009), Neil McCormick in Killing Bono (2011), Alejandro in The Big Wedding (2013), Tom Ward in Seventh Son (2014), Samuel Adams in Sons of Liberty (2015) and Benjamin Greene in Gold Digger (2019).

Barnes released his first single, "11:11", with a music video in September 2021 ahead of the release of his debut extended play (EP), Songs For You, including a music video for "Rise Up" in October. The EP features the songs "11:11", "Rise Up", "Pirate Song", "Not the End", and "Ordinary Day".[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Barnes was born on 20 August 1981 in southwest London to Patricia Becker, a relationship psychotherapist, and Thomas Barnes, a psychiatrist and professor.[2][3][4] He has a younger brother, Jack.[5] 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.[6][7]

Barnes was educated at two independent schools for boys: Homefield Preparatory School in Sutton and King's College School in Wimbledon.[8] In King's, he sang in choirs and played percussions (drums and piano) in jazz orchestras and concert bands. In 1997 he began his career in musical theatre by joining the National Youth Music Theatre where, at age sixteen, he gave his first performance as a drummer in the West End musical adaptation of Bugsy Malone.[3][2] Prior to university, he spent two years singing, television presenting, and working with entertainment svengali Simon Fuller to open a jazz club and release an album, both of which did not materialise.[5]

Barnes then studied English literature and drama at Kingston University, appearing and directing in productions such as Don Juan (as the lead), The Golden Age, Exposure and The Zoo Story.[9][5] He won the English Prize for writing essays on themes from Harry Potter and The Hobbit.[10] While working at the theatre on intense acts such as The Ragged Child, The Dreaming, Loving Ophelia, Sex, Chips & Rock n' Roll, he briefly joined the boyband Hyrise, who performed in Eurovision: Making Your Mind Up, to find the UK's entry for the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, with 'Leading Me On'.[2][11] Graduating in 2004 with a BA (Hons) in Drama with English Literature, he was the university's first drama student to achieve First Class Honours.[9][12] In 2008, he was inducted in the university's Wall of Fame, the youngest to be featured among more than twenty accomplished alumni.[13]


Barnes at the UK premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in 2008

Barnes began working on 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 and received acclaim as the sexually provocative Dakin.[14][15][5]

Barnes made his feature film debut as young Dunstan Thorn in Stardust (2007), directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name. He starred as a Russian hoodlum named Cobakka in Suzie Halewood's Bigga Than Ben (2008).[16]

In June 2008, Barnes gained recognition for his role as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, directed by Andrew Adamson.[17] Adamson described the film as "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."[18] 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 was cast two and a half weeks after meeting with the filmmakers, and fitted well into the surrogate family of Adamson and the four actors playing the Pevensies.[19] He spent two months in New Zealand riding and stunt training in preparation.[20] His Mediterranean accent in the film was inspired in part by Mandy Patinkin's performance as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.[21] Barnes also voiced his character in the video game The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. His portrayal earned him nominations from the 2008 National Movie Awards for Best Male Performance, the 2008 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Breakout Male, and the 2009 MTV Movie Awards for Best Breakthrough Male.[22]

In November 2008, Barnes starred in the role of John Whittaker opposite Jessica Biel and Colin Firth in Stephan Elliott's romantic comedy Easy Virtue, based on Noël Coward's play of the same name. The score contained Coward and jazz-age songs, three of which were sung by Barnes. He then starred as the title character in Dorian Gray, a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel, directed by Oliver Parker and released in September 2009.[23] In the psychological thriller Locked In, directed by Suri Krishnamma and released in September 2010, he played Josh, an American father whose daughter seems to be in a coma due to a car accident.

Barnes reprised his role as King Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third instalment in the film series. Directed by Michael Apted and filmed in Australia, it premiered in November 2010 at a Royal Film Performance in London and had a theatrical release in December.[24][25][26] He received a nomination at the 2011 National Movie Awards for Performance of the Year.

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 Sebastian Faulks's novel of the same title. The play, directed by Trevor Nunn and adapted by Rachel Wagstaff, opened on 28 September 2010 and ran through 15 January 2011.[27][28]

In April 2011, he played Neil McCormick in Killing Bono, a comedy based on McCormick's memoir 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.[29][30] The Hollywood Reporter says Barnes and his co-star Robert Sheehan "convincingly portray young talents who were in the right place at the right time but made the wrong moves".[31]

In September 2012, Barnes appeared in The Words as a young American soldier and literary genius stationed in France during the end of World War II, who fell in love with a French waitress and whose manuscript gets lost in post-war era.[32] Though his performance was physical with little to no dialogue, Screen Rant described his character's story as "easily the most fascinating element of the film" and called his performance "solid" which "beautifully captures the many profound emotions — love, loss, and regret — that his character experienced."[33][34]

He then played Alejandro in The Big Wedding, a remake of the original 2006 French film Mon frère se marie (My brother is getting married) released in April 2013.[35]

In December 2014, Barnes starred as Nick Tortano, an associate of a local mafia boss, in the modern day crime drama By the Gun. In the same month was the release of the fantasy film Seventh Son in which he played Tom Ward.[36][37] Directed by Sergei Bodrov, it is based on the novel The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney.[38][39]

Barnes at Brit Week in 2015

In January 2015, Barnes portrayed Sam Adams, a tax collector for the British government, in History Channel's three-part miniseries Sons of Liberty.[40] He also starred as guitarist and singer Ryan Brenner, reuniting with Katherine Heigl in the romantic drama Jackie & Ryan, released in US cinemas in July 2015. Variety wrote that with "his male-model features shamelessly lapped up by the camera from the opening frame onwards, [Barnes] is as limber and likeable as he's yet appeared on screen, his native accent convincingly hidden behind a middle-American husk."[41] Barnes would later regard this character as his most favourite to portray, "I enjoyed all the music from that film and found Ryan a soulful character to embody, which made me try to re-evaluate how complicated life can get."[42]

In HBO's dystopian science fiction series Westworld, based on the 1973 film of the same name and the first season of which aired in October 2016, Barnes played the young businessman Logan Delos, the uninhibited heir apparent of Delos Corporation who led their company's investment into Westworld, a technologically built Wild West-themed amusement park populated by android "hosts".[43] The cast received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Barnes portrayed Billy Russo, a former sniper who started his own private military company Anvil, in The Punisher, a Netflix adaptation set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first season of which aired in November 2017.[44] Barnes described his character as "someone who's very narcissistic, vain and greedy, and sees himself in an extremely powerful alpha way" and who is also "fueled by a broken and abused past." He consulted his psychotherapist parents to ensure the authenticity of his depiction of the veteran's mental health issues.[45][42]

He returned in a recurring role as Logan Delos in the second season of Westworld which premiered in April 2018. In January 2019, he reprised his role as a scar-faced Billy Russo in the second season of The Punisher. In this season Barnes said he "had freedom to explore the trauma of brain damage and memory loss and the frustration, anger and pain that accompanies that."[42] He then played the 36-year-old charming copywriter Benjamin Greene who pursued a 60-year-old wealthy divorcée in BBC One's miniseries Gold Digger. Originally broadcast weekly on BBC One from November 2019, it was aired on Acorn TV in May 2020 for US audience.[46]

In October 2019, Barnes was cast as General Kirigan in the 2021 Netflix fantasy series Shadow and Bone. The series overall received mixed reviews from critics, but Barnes' performance garnered more praise, with Empire describing him as "dashing",[47] and Rolling Stone and Radio Times praising his performance as General Kirigan.[48][49]

In 2023, Barnes appeared in a number of advertisements for cell phone provider T-Mobile US.[50]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Stardust Young Dunstan Thorn
2008 Bigga than Ben Cobakka
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Prince/King 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
2023 The Critic Stephen Wyley


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
2016–2020 Westworld Logan Delos Main role season 1; recurring role season 2; guest role season 3
2017–2019 The Punisher Billy Russo / Jigsaw Main role
2019 Gold Digger Benjamin Greene Miniseries
2021–2023 Shadow and Bone General Kirigan / The Darkling Main role[51]
2022 Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities William Thurber Episode: "Pickman's Model"
2023 Black Mirror TV Mac Episode: "Joan Is Awful"

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Ref.
2014 "Imagine" (UNICEF: World version) Various [52]
2016 "Where's the Love?" Black Eyed Peas featuring The World
2020 "Soteria" Mt. Wolf

Video games[edit]

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


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Bugsy Malone Drummer National Youth Music Theatre
The Ballad of Salomon Pavey Ralph 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 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
2006–2007 The History Boys Dakin Wyndham's Theatre
2010 Birdsong Stephen Wraysford Comedy Theatre


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"
2021 "11:11" Songs For You
"Rise Up"
"Pirate Song"
"Not the End"
"Ordinary Day"

Awards and nominations[edit]

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


  1. ^ Major, Michael. "Ben Barnes Releases Debut EP 'Songs For You'". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Olivia (12 November 2021). "Musician, actor Ben Barnes talks debut extended play, musical influences". The Daily Illini. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b Ben Barnes: Prince of hearts The Independent newspaper online. Created: 19 June 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Ben Barnes". IMDb. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Actor Ben Barnes on Narnia, Wimbledon and Dorian Gray". Great British Life. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  6. ^ "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...")
  7. ^ 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...")
  8. ^ "Old Boys". Homefield Preparatory School. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Graduate crowned Prince of Narnia - Press office - Kingston University London". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  10. ^ "5 things we learned about 'Shadow and Bone' star Ben Barnes on TMRWxTODAY". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Biography - Ben Barnes". 27 April 2011. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Inspector Lewis star Kevin Whately celebrates brother's Honorary Fellowship". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Hollywood star to take centre stage in Wall of Fame â€" Latest news - Press office - Kingston University London". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Rise to stardom – Ben Barnes – Features". The Stage. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Jason Buchanan. "Bigga Than Ben: A Russian's Guide to Ripping Off London (2007)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  17. ^ "In brief: Barnes skips History for Caspian". The Guardian. London. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Orchestrating Magic in Narnia All Over Again". Disney Insider. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2008.
  20. ^ Edward Douglas (19 October 2007). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Archived from the original on 14 November 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2007.
  21. ^ Dan Jolin (April 2008). "Ben Barnes is Prince Caspian". Empire. p. 96.
  22. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (29 May 2009). "Can Anyone Beat Robert Pattinson For Breakthrough Male Performance? | MTV Movie Awards". MTV. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  23. ^ Stuart Kemp (18 May 2008). "Ben Barnes to shine as Dorian Gray". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  24. ^ "Voyage of the Dawn Treader film chosen for royal gala". BBC News. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  25. ^ ""The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" Begins Filming in Australia's Gold Coast". 27 July 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  26. ^ "Dawn Treader Casting Call for Australians". NarniaWeb. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  27. ^ "London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more – WhatsOnStage". whatsonstage. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  28. ^ "1st Night Photos: Faulks Tunes up Birdsong Opening - Photos - 29 Sep …". Archived from the original on 15 June 2013.
  29. ^ "Ben Barnes Talks Killing Bono [Exclusive]". MovieWeb. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  30. ^ "Interview: Ben Barnes is Killing Bono". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  31. ^ Mintzer, Jordan (1 July 2011). "Killing Bono: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  32. ^ "The Words (2012) ***1/2 Movie Review by Chris Pandolfi". Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  33. ^ "'The Words' Review". ScreenRant. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  34. ^ "10 Best Ben Barnes Movies, According To IMDb". ScreenRant. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  35. ^ "Lionsgate Says 'I Do' to 'The Big Wedding' With Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton". TheWrap. 2 August 2011.
  36. ^ Sneider, Jeff (24 June 2011). "'Narnia' star Ben Barnes is WB's 'Son'". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  37. ^ Gallagher, Brian (24 June 2011). "The Seventh Son Gets Ben Barnes". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  38. ^ "Jeff Bridges to Play Exorcist in THE SEVENTH SON". Collider. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  39. ^ Kroll, Justin (27 November 2013). "Universal, Legendary Push Back 'Warcraft,' 'Seventh Son' Dates". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  40. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (23 January 2015). "From Valiant Prince to Smoldering Rebel". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  41. ^ Lodge, Guy (31 August 2014). "Venice Film Review: 'Jackie & Ryan'". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  42. ^ a b c "Real Man – Gio Journal". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  43. ^ Hibberd, James. "Westworld casting switch: Narnia star replacing Once Upon actor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  44. ^ Ausiello, Michael (12 September 2016). "The Punisher: Ben Barnes Joins Netflix's Latest Marvel Spinoff as Series Regular". TV Line. Archived from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  45. ^ "Ben Barnes". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  46. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (30 April 2020). "'Gold Digger' Review: A Love Story of the Ages". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  47. ^ "Shadow And Bone". Empire. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  48. ^ "Shadow and Bone review: No mourners, no funerals". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  49. ^ Scherer, Jenna (21 May 2021). "'Shadow and Bone': Fantasy Tropes Done Right". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  50. ^ Notte, Jason (7 July 2023). "How Baseball's All-Star Game Drove In More Brands". Ad Week. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ Rowles, Dustin (21 November 2014). "'Imagine' Gets the Star-Studded 'We Are The World' Treatment for UNICEF". Pajiba. Retrieved 24 May 2021.

External links[edit]