Translated by Ilaria Trotta
Ben Barnes – I’d like to be a Rockstar!!
He loves Stevie Wonder and pasta alla carbonara and about himself he says: “I’m not cool enough!”
I’m sitting on a small armchair in a luxurious London hotel. I’m one of the journalists’ elite who has been allowed to meet the sex-symbol. Time available : 10 minutes. Have you ever tried to search “Ben Barnes” on Google? You have 32.600 pages. I think that everything and the opposite of everything has been said, but let’s see if our Prince Caspian is exactly as he depicts himself in interviews.
“The last time I cried was when I watched a movie in a plane”
Q: I know that you don’t like to read what people think of you on internet…
B: Good! I see you’re well-informed!
Q: Are you on Facebook?
B: No, I don’t mind it. I hate the computer.
Q: You live under the spotlight, don’t you feel manipulated at times?
B: I little bit, yes, but I can always refuse and say no! I’m a 27 year-old boy: I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t feel comfortable.
Q: It has ever happened?
B: Yes, sometimes they ask me questions like “What’s life for you?”. Can you imagine it? (he laughs) How can I know?
Q: Other things you can’t stand?
B: When they ask me about too personal facts: private life is private. (With indifference I cross out the question “Are you engaged?” from my notebook. But Ben rumbles me.) C’mon, try and ask me anyway what you wanted to ask me. There aren’t too many things I don’t want to talk about! (Gee! This Ben catches me unprepared: he’s ironic and smart too! Ok, I give it a laugh.)
Q: Ehm, I actually wanted to ask you about what’s life? I’m joking! In “Easy Virtue” you’re a married man, can you see yourself as a husband?
B: I hope so. And as a father too, but I haven’t found the right woman . Are you upset now that I’ve told you that I’d like to get married?
Q: Yes, as to many other fans. They consider you the sexiest actor at the moment. What do you think about it?
B: Oh my God! I think it’s a kind of idiocy. I feel shocked every time I leave a hotel and I find girls waiting for me outside with photos of me to autograph. “Am I that guy on the photo?” , I keep asking myself.
Q: Do you dream of the Oscar?
B: Why not? But if I have to choose between the Oscar or a family full of children, I prefer the second one.
Q: How is your ideal girl?
B: Strong, as the character played by Jessica Biel in the movie. I’m attracted by sexy, independent, feminine and talented women. Jessica is my ideal, to kiss her was wonderful. Such a shame she’s engaged!
Q: You don’t like girls on diet, do you?
B: I don’t like when on a date the girl orders only a salad and water. I prefer women with an appetite for life. And if they order a “carbonara”, which I adore, it’s even better. I would put “pancetta” everywhere! (He says pancetta in Italian. In fact, it is the Italian word he mentions most of the time together with “acqua frizzante”(sparkling water), “famiglia” (family) and “amore”(love). Colin Firth, the actor from Bridget Jones, is the one who taught him the words. As a matter of fact he’s married an Italian woman. Who knows if some miracles will happen again…)
Q: Are you single?
B: Yes, even if some people don’t believe it. During the two months in which I shot this film, I had the finger ring of the character I played: I couldn’t take it off and in the end I forgot it. One day I met a girl that I liked in a bar, she looked at my ring and thought I was married. I told her again and again: “I’m an actor and I have to keep it only for the film!”, but she didn’t believe it and went away.
Q: Do you have a life motto?
B: It could be “Carpe diem”. I try to look at things in perspective, trying hard to never forget how lucky I am. I don’t want to sound maudlin, but I think it’s very important to be aware of what we have.
Q: Would you pluck up the courage and do something like Daniel Radcliffe did acting naked at the theatre?
B: I’ve just done it in “Dorian Gray”, a very hard film, a challenge. Oscar Wilde, together with Noel Coward, author of “Easy Virtue”, are my favorite writers. Curious, isn’t it? It seems I’m destined to play the characters of the books I’ve devoured. Even the “Chronicles of Narnia” was one of the book I read when I was a child.
Q: When they told you that you had been chosen for the role of Caspian, you said that they were “desperate”. You don’t seem to have self-confidence, do you?
B: They had been searching for Caspian for a year and there was little time before the beginning of the shootings. They were really desperate! But maybe I’m good or they wouldn’t have taken the risk. By the way, you’ll see me soon again in the role of Caspian. Caspian is grown up and now he’s a self-confident man.
Q: How do you feel in this film?
B: John is the typical English man. I look like him because of the faults, the vulnerability, the family ties and because I’m clumsy. However, I’m a normal guy: I go to the gym, I read, I listen to music, I got drunk with friends.
Q: Do you feel a little bit like Dorian Gray?
B: Yes, because nobody believes me when I say I’m 27! Everyone says I’m 21. Not so bad anyway, in this way I can play also young roles!
Q: What kind of music do you like?
B: I started singing in a choir when I was 11, then I started doing musicals. I love everything: from The Beatles to Frank Sinatra, to the Arctic Monkeys, but my passion is Stevie Wonder.
Q: You can play the piano and the drums, you can sing, I bet you wanted to become a rockstar!
B: Exactly! Every actor wants to be a rockstar. And every rockstar wants to be a cinema star!
Q: How do you dress?
B: Ditto! I’d like to dress like a rockstar, but I’m not cool enough! Then I dress like a kind of “respectable singer”. No tattoos, cut jeans, grungy and dirty look. I’d like to dress like this, but I’m not too cool!
Q: What? You aren’t cool?
B: No. And my father would be shocked!
Q: How much are you attached to your family?
B: So much. Both of them are psychotherapists and they taught me to think about my reactions. When I used to come back from school and told them “they did this to me”, they used to say “and what did you feel?”. If one day I’ll have to do some therapy I’ll talk to my mother who is knowledgeable. (She was Madonna’s consultant for her divorce!)
Q: Where do you live?
B: In London, in a flat I’m sharing with my brother Jack, who’s three years younger than me.
Q: You studied Children Literature, will you become a writer?
B: At the moment, I’m writing only for myself and I don’t let nobody read what I write. Before becoming an actor I was shier. Now I’m not, but I like to keep some things away from other people’s curiosity.
Q: There’s something you can’t resist?
B: The Indian food.
Q: The last time you cried?
B: I was on a plane and I was watching the film “And When Did You Last See Your Father?”. I know it sounds stupid, … it was so sad. But now that you let me think of it, I’ve revealed to you something very personal…
I really don’t know why I’ve told you this!
Time over. But I can be sure about this last question: no one of you has already read it before!