Fastfive with Ben Barnes

Fastfive with Ben Barnes

1. PERSEVERANCE IS A VIRTUE

If Barnes looks a tad familiar, that's because the 33-year-old has snagged several leading roles - the biggest being the titular Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia movies.

He has yet to get his big break, but the Brit is plodding on, working his way around indie flicks and TV movies.

"I feel pretty good about my career right now. It's a very exciting time for me. Everything I've been working on the last of couple of years is all coming to fruition," said the London native.

2. MUSIC START

His entry to showbiz was through music. At 17, he was talent-spotted by American Idol writer Simon Fuller, who signed the young man to his label, 19 Management.

Barnes was dubbed the next teen heart-throb in the UK, but his singing career ended in 2003, when the band he was with, Hyrise, failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest.

He then hit the books, studying English literature and drama at Kingston University in London.

3. FANTASY MAN

Barnes seems to be attracted to fantasy.

His latest film Seventh Son, opening here today, is based on Joseph Delaney's novel The Spook's Apprentice and revolves around Tom Ward (Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son who's born with special powers, such as the ability to see supernatural beings and to kill witches.

He's mentored by Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) in training to fight the powerful witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore).

4. LEARNING FROM THE DUDE

The opportunity to work with and learn from Bridges, "The Dude" from 1998 cult fave The Big Lebowski, was why Barnes took up Seventh Son.

"It's interesting when you see people you admire so much, approaching things in ways similar to you," he said.

"Jeff was very forthcoming with me and he shared a lot. He treated me the same way his character, Master Gregory, treated me."

5. TWILIGHT CONNECTION

Here's a little-known fact: Barnes was one of the four finalists for the role of vampire Edward Cullen in Twilight (2008). When he lost out to a certain Robert Pattinson, Barnes was called back to audition for Volturi leader Aro for The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), a part that eventually went to Michael Sheen.

joannes@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 31, 2014.
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