Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we cannot even begin to imagine how anyone doesn’t know who Ben Barnes is. If you don’t know him, we are more than certain you will after Netflix releases the Shadow and Bone adaptation next month. We advise you to stay tuned to all things Fangirlish over the next several weeks because our coverage of Shadow and Bone is going to be epic.
For those that don’t know, Ben Barnes is playing General Kirigan. When we tell you you’re going to love him in the role, believe us. We’re big fans of Ben here at Fangirlish and I have the ultimate pleasure of giving you 5 things you should know about him before Shadow and Bone releases:
Yes, he really is British
We’re starting with this one because it seems to be the one that shocks people the most when they discover Ben Barnes. A vast majority of his roles have been done with some type of American accent, so people are super shocked when they hear him speak during press. Ben was born in London, England. His mother is from South Africa and his father is English. Ben began acting in musical theatre, including at the National Youth Music Theatre. In 2004, he graduated with BA Honors from Kingston University, where he studied drama and English literature.
His parents careers have helped him have a better understanding of the characters he plays
Both of Bens parents work in the field of mental health. His mother is a relationship therapist and his father is a psychiatry professor. Back in 2019, he did an interview with Gio Journal where he spoke about how this helped him:
“I grew up in a household where my brother and I were often asked how we were feeling about whatever was going on with us. I think when preparing to play any role, the most basic of steps is to ask how you would feel in any given scenario. I think finding a language for talking about emotive reactions was an extremely useful unconscious gift from my parents.”
This was personally one of my favorite things to learn about Ben because in every role he does, you can tell he has really done an in-depth dive into who his characters are.
He has an amazing sense of humor
It’s always great when a celebrity is not afraid to have fun and be themselves. Ben Barnes always makes us smile because he has such great energy that puts us in a good mood, especially when he laughs and smiles. His laughter is contagious and you can tell it comes from a really genuine place. His sense of humor got us through quarantine with his ‘How about that!’ segment he did on his friend Brian Klugman’s quarantine “news reports.” To see all of them, head to Bens Instagram and check out his highlight post.
He can sing
Ben is a great singer, and he was even in a boyband. Yes, we said he was in a boyband. Back in 2004 while he was living in the UK, he was in the boyband Hyrise. They even auditioned for Eurovision. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well and it made him hide his musical talents from the world. He’s starting to let it out again and we saw that when he sang in the film Jackie and Ryan. Since then, he’s had no fear sharing his voice with us all and it’s a treat. He even does duets occasionally.
He is incredibly kind, especially to his fans
Most people probably already knew this but if not, Ben is soooo kind and gracious. He played some of the darkest characters but he is nothing like any of them. He’s a teddy bear and he loves his fans. He shares fan art all the time and he even has a highlight dedicated to it on his Instagram. He is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet.
He cares about various causes
Ben is all about walking the walk and not just talking the talk. He always uses his platform for good and to keep people aware of what’s going on in the world. One cause that I really love him for being part of is the Stand up To Cancer initiative. As someone who has lost several loved ones to this horrible disease, his role as an ambassador hits me hard.
He has a great voice for narrating audiobooks
Okay, this one is a bit of a bonus only, because we can plug Leigh Bardugo’s book The Lives of Saints. Ben Barnes has done lots of narration for audiobooks including The Picture of Dorian Gray (He also starred in the 2009 film). He does a great job of making character voices but his voice is also soothing. As I type this I am just realizing he hasn’t narrated a sleep story for the Calm app yet. Maybe that’s something they should consider. Anyway, we recommend giving both of these audiobooks a listen.
Are you excited to see Ben Barnes in Shadow and Bone? Were any of these things new to you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!