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We got to speak briefly with Will Moseley, Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklange and producer Mark Johnson at the New York Comic Con, but we had such a great chat that we sat down again with the actors, this time joined by Anna Popplewell and the adorable Georgie Henley to explore the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Click here for our fun interviews with Will, Georgie, Anna and Peter.   Here’s our face time with the dashing Prince Caspian himself, Ben Barnes.

Dig it!

Ben Barnes

 

The Lady Miz Diva: You saw the film for the first time with us.

Ben Barnes: Yes!

 

LMD: What were your impressions? What did you think?

BB: You know I was surprised, actually. I was surprised I was engaged as much as I was. I’d seen the first 10 minutes and {it was} kind of very exciting. I was sort of sitting with my feet up on the chair and thought the chase was really kind of tense and {I} walked toward the wardrobe and I knew that I wasn’t gonna be in there, but still I was nervous but I kinda felt like that all the way through, really. Probably because I was just terrified about what it would be like. Also, there was a lot of surprise in there for me, a lot of the lines, for example, for the animated characters had changed a lot from what was in the script. Y’know, cos you can change those obviously when you‘re animating the characters and they were very, very funny. I mean, Eddie Izzard is one of my comedic heroes, I’ve seen him like, three times on stage, and obviously I didn’t meet him when we were shooting. It would have been great to have him, you know…I guess it wouldn’t have been great to have him straddling me like the mouse, but you know what I’m saying. That was really, really exciting to see myself having these conversations with one of these kind of heroes when I’d been talking to a piece of wire obviously was better. And it was actually a lot funnier than I thought it was gonna be, too. A lot of those quips with Edmund and Trumpkin and the Reepicheep and all those, I wasn’t there for a lot of that because obviously, the beginning parts, the threads kind of mingle halfway through. But, yeah, I mean it exceeded all my expectations of what it was gonna be. They offered to show me bits and pieces of it over the last few weeks and I just said ‘You know what? I rather would wait and see the whole thing finished and perfect’ and so I waited.

 

Q:  Have you approached Eddie Izzard about working together sometime?

BB: You know, I haven’t, but I just did a film called Easy Virtue which is a kind of Noel Coward thing. And Eddie Izzard does a sketch in one of his show about the British film industry and how – {to LMD} You know what I’m talking about – how nothing ever happens and people walk into a room, “What are you doing?” “Oh, I’m just moving books to the left.” “I didn’t realise you’d be in here.” “Well, I am.” “Well, I think you’d better go.” “Yes, I think I better had.” And I was doing a scene with Colin Firth in this film in which we realised we said nothing to each other and we’d been sitting in a trailer listening to different comedians and we thought, ‘Instead of doing the scene, we’ll go in and do that. We’ll go in and do this little skit on the first take,’ and so that’s what we did. So I’m hoping it’s gonna make the DVD extras. I’m gonna get a copy and send it to Eddie Izzard, y’know, maybe he’ll think its funny.

 

Q: How did you go through the audition process? Were you convinced you could be Prince Caspian?

BB: Well, I am now. There’s no getting out of it now, is there? It kind of came out of left field a little bit; I was doing a play {The History Boys} in London, in the West End, and somebody from the casting department came to see the show and asked if I wanted to audition. I literally prepared for the next couple of days. I prepared to do it a couple of days later and I think I read one scene and I got some feedback that the director liked the way that I said one line with a touch of irony that he hadn’t seen like, all year. And I was like, ‘That’s gotta be good.’ And then they called me up for a screen test, and I did a screen test with Andrew {Adamson, Director} and {Producer} Mark Johnson the next weekend and all the producers, and then, you know, three of four weeks later I was on a horse in New Zealand.

 

Q: What was it like to join the group who were already a tight knit sort of family unit, knowing that you would go on to make the next film but most of them wouldn’t?

BB: Well, there’s only the four Pevensies, obviously, that are sort of the family unit and they were always ready for somebody else to come in and sort of join in and Andrew is a kind of a patriarchal figure and really does kind of look after everyone and ensure that you’ve kind of got that family atmosphere. But they were all sort of very affectionate and warm. In terms of handing it over as well, I think though obviously the two youngest will be back next time, which I think is great. I hadn’t seen much of Skandar {Keynes}’s stuff, I thought he was just so funny. I mean he’s just throwin’ those lines away like he does in real life. So, they’ll be back. But I think it was hard for William {Moseley} and Anna {Popplewell}, actually. Anna was a little emotional sitting next to me yesterday {at the screening} at the end and William on the day that we filmed him handing over the sword – he found that very difficult to let go of that, y'know? He had a pretty tight grip on the… But he sort of did say whilst we were filming that he kind of gave me words from himself rather than the character. He was like; it’s been great working, look after them, kinda thing, which was really nice. It was really, really lovely.

 

Q: What’s it been like to be in New York with your face on the poster plastered all over Times Square and on the side of city buses?

BB: If you think it’s strange, you should go to L.A. That is a terrifying place to be at the moment if you’re me. Just do not drive down Sunset Boulevard by mistake if you’re me. I was caught completely short of breath and it is completely surreal. It’s very surreal seeing this person that’s 80% you and 20% somebody on a building 10 storeys high. But, you know, there’s no chance of me becoming flighty: Georgie {Henley} came up to me yesterday and I hadn’t seen her in ages and she was like “Hi. DO THIS! {Thrusts hand forward}” And I’ve got my brother sort of staying with me at the moment kind of entirely mocking everything that I do, y’know? It’s great.

 

Q:  Were you surprised at the fan base you’ve already attracted because of this film?

BB: I mean I hadn’t really been face-to-face with them very much. I mean Comic Con I met a few people who were kind of excited, and I turned up to a few nights out in Los Angeles, people were waiting with photographs of me. And I’m literally signing thinking, A) how did you know I was coming here, B) how did you know to print pictures with you and bring them? And they’re like, {Does slangy American accent} “We call our friends, man. We know how this shit works.”

 

Q: So how did you become an actor in the first place?

BB: I grew up in London and I was always very into music when I was younger and singing in choirs and things. I was about 15 and the voice breaks and you can’t be in a choir anymore cos it’s not cool. So you don’t really know what to do with that. And somebody came to my school auditioning for musical theatre and everyone else had kind of -  I was kind of very young for my year - everyone else had kind of smacked straight through puberty and started drinking beer and playing rugby and I was thinking { in small, high voice} ‘Hang on a minute. Wait! Wait for me,’ sort of looking for my kind of niche, I think. This guy sort of turned up and I had to audition for a musical and he asked if I wanted to come do the national auditions for this company, the National Youth Music Theatre, which is the company that Jude Law and Jamie Bell and those kind of guys had been through, and Jim Sturgess. And I reauditioned for that company every year till I was about 20. I consider that to sort of be my training, really. We did the Edinburgh Festival and my first professional job was playing drums with that company 10 years ago in the West End, in Bugsy Malone.

 

Q: Would you go back to theatre?

BB: I would love to. I would love to? Obviously, I don’t think it’s going to happen before we shoot Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so it will be more than a year away. But I would definitely love to find something when I go back.

 

Q: Were you in the American run of History Boys?

BB: No, I did the London West End production. I toured the British tour and then the West End production.

 

Q: Who did you play?

BB: I played Dakin. {Laughing to LMD} You love it! You know. It’s a great play.

 

MG: Speaking with Will he mentioned that he felt confident that you’d be looking after Georgie and holding up your end of the next film.

BB: Yah…

 

LMD: Do you feel any pressure about that at all?

BB: You know I’ve learnt how to deal with the younger actors from watching how him and Anna were with them. You know, it’s lovely to watch how they are, and I was very cynical. I watched the DVD extras when I first watch the film and they were like, {In high-pitched whiny voice}”Oh, we’re like family and Will’s like a big brother, and Andrew’s sort of like a dad when dad’s not there…” And I was like “BUCKET, PLEASE!” {Mimes retching to the side}”This is digusting!” And then I get there and it’s exactly like that! When I first walked into the production office, they were like  playing table tennis with each other and climbing all over each other and sort of sharing food and… you know it was lovely it really, really was, and that was the atmosphere the whole time. I mean, William and Anna did say that they felt - and Skandar and Georgie – that this film was much harder of them physically and emotionally tan the first one because they were just kind of thrown in, they were kids and enjoying it, and this was a bit more like working. And I was like, {Grumpy voice} “Good! Cos that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

 

Q: Can you talk about the physical preparation involved with becoming Prince Caspian?

BB: Obviously, I spend some time on a horse. {Sotto voce} Most of the film as far as I can tell…

 

Q: Had you done a role that included horse riding before?

BB: No. I’d been on a horse maybe once. They did ask me in the screen test, ‘How’s your horse riding?’ I used a word like, “average” or “good” something entirely nondescript. “I’ve been on a horse before,” I think is exactly what I said. And then I called my mum, I said “Have I been on a horse before? And she said “Yeah, I think I’ve got a photo,” And I went and I was sitting on a Shetland at age 6, you know in a sort ridiculous 80’s neon mac. I’ll find it for you … Yer never gonna see that! But when I got there I was literally I came off the play and went straight to the riding center. Actually, the riding center for the disabled - it was because they had the whole afternoons free, but I thought it was some sort of slight about my horse riding skills, but actually it was great. And I had these wonderful Spanish teachers and you know I had 5 or 6 hours a day when I first sort of started and I had to buy myself some padded cycling shorts cos I kept on asking questions about… I was trying to be sort of subtle, “Yeah, but the difference between boys and girls riding on a horse; how do you deal with that?” Eventually, I just sort of thought ‘Padded cycling shorts, that’ll help,’ cos six hours is a long time on a horse.

And then the sword training, I kinda had to do just throughout the filming because there wasn’t a lot of time at the beginning and the battle sequences were all gonna be shot near the end. It was shot pretty chronologically, actually, almost the whole film, which was really helpful shooting over such a long time. So, the New Zealand stunt team just all sort of taught me as I’m waiting we’d just go out in the field when we had a spare half an hour and sort of choreograph little bits and pieces. It’s as fun as it looks, the sword fighting stuff.

 

Q: How would you describe Prince Caspian?

BB: You know I think that he’s actually… The more I think about him the more interesting he is. I sort of wish I’d thought about it more before. Even talking to you, you kind of realise what you feel about him. But I think he’s interesting you know, he’s been orphaned and he hasn’t really had that kind of solid parent figure in his life, the closest thing he’s got is his professor. And he’s sort of forced out of his own home and he believes in these kind of other creatures when other people around him don’t and he’s force to kind of rally them onto his side, and he’s very ambivalent about the positions he finds himself in. He’s got that kind of inner humility; he knows that he doesn’t really deserve this, he doesn’t really feel comfortable in the positions that he finds himself in and yet he wants to prove himself be a leader, he wants to show that he’s a man. And so that’s a kind of interesting jewel thing going on. And then he’s got that sort of cathartic thing where he has to fight his own people, as well. I mean all those people he’s fighting despite their facelessness in the masks, they’re his family. Andrew would remind me in certain scenes with Glozelle in the pit, ‘This is probably the guy who taught you how to fight.” So there’s a lot of sort of interesting layers to him, as well.

And then I think one of the most rewarding things for me was seeing how the Peter Pevensie and the Susan Pevensie relationship with Caspian panned out in the actual film, in the edit. And it was a lot more subtle than I thought it might be handled, and I was very pleased about that. The kiss at the end really did feel like something that, you know, she kind of starts to walk away and then she thinks, ‘You know what? What have I got to lose, I’m leaving.’ You know? It’s kind of something that’s borne out of what they’ve done together and then the sort of rivalry between Peter and Caspian is borne out of the situations and the frustrations of what they’ve been through together, the things that have gone wrong. And I think all those things make it a much darker adult, more interesting film.

 

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva/Mighty Ganesha

May 3rd, 2008

 

Click here for our movie review of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

 

All Photos Courtesy of Disney Enterprises/Walden Media. All exclusive original photos from New York Comic Con copyright © The Diva Review/MightyGanesha.com Click here for more Comic Con photos.

 

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