Ben Barnes Talks Prince Caspian
Grabbing the reins of my dream role
Ben Barnes had to learn horse sense – fast. Ben, 26, had no equestrian skills when he won the role of dashing Prince Caspian in the rollicking follow-up to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
‘They said: “How’s your horse-riding?”‘ the actor, who was chosen to play Caspian after a year-long search, told me. ‘I may have said something like “average”. I wasn’t going to lose this job! I mean, I knew what a horse looked like. My mum showed me a photograph of me, aged eight, on a horse, which proved I had been on a horse before.’ First stop, once Ben reached New Zealand, where much of the film was shot, was Auckland’s Riding School For The Disabled. ‘No one could see the irony,’ Ben laughed.
When I met Ben back in London, he still seemed slightly amazed by events of the past few months. One minute he was in the play The History Boys in the West End — the next he was in New Zealand, learning which end of a horse was which, as well as mastering sword fighting and leading an army of ‘Old Narnians’ to unseat his evil uncle King Miraz.
‘The original plan was to hire an authentic Spanish or Mexican to play Caspian. And to get someone younger,’ he joked. He explained that in C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian book, the hero is a teenager. But Lewis also wrote that Caspian should be comparable in age to Peter Pevensie, and William Moseley (who played of my dream role Peter in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe) is now 20 — so Ben’s not that old.
‘And in the end, they decided on an English actor using a Spanish accent,’ he said.