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El Pais ICON Magazine Scans

Ben is featured in the March issue of El Pais ICON magazine (Spain), on newsstands now. Scans have been added to the gallery. Thanks to Ashley for the translation!

When Ben Barnes realizes in the middle of the interview that my underlined words in the list of remaining questions are about Eurovision and Twilight, he complains without losing his charm “Is this really the highlight of my career? It’s a bit depressing.”.

Poor guy. Eurovision was a mess that he escaped just in time. “It was two weeks of my life”, he says referring to when, in 2004, he helped his friends in a band called Hyrise, and almost represented Great Britain in the festival and became a member of a boy band.

“I understand it’s funny and a little bit absurd. But imagine that the only thing that people know about you as a journalist is something you did when you were 16 years old and that you don’t identify with anymore. Of course there are worse things than that, but it makes me feel a bit embarrassed when I remember it. It’s not something that makes me feel very proud”, he explains.

As for Twilight, he was one of the finalist to play the role that ultimately went to Robert Pattinson and made him a superstar. “I read the script and immediately knew it would be a success. But once Catherine (Hardwick, the director) wanted Kristen Stewart to play Bella, I was too old to play Edward. And I think she made the right choice”, he claims.

Barnes has every reason to complain. The 33 year old Londoner, with his tall and fragile appearance and a Royal Shakespeare Company accent, is much more than two moments in which he’d rather not be there. He jumped on the scene as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia, he was Dorian Gray in the latest adaptation of the classic and, above all, you get the feeling that he is about to emerge [a star]. Four years ago he moved to Hollywood to reach for a bigger audience and 2015 shows, at last, a lot of the works that have kept him busy all this time: he stars in the ambitious historical series Sons of Liberty, the science-fiction drama Seventh Son, and still pending release are the mafia thriller By The Gun and the TV movie Exposed.

Is this the time for Ben Barnes?

What happened is that a lot of the projects I made are being released at the same time. But yes, I am very excited. Sons of Liberty is my first series and I hope it’s not my last. I play a historical character, Samuel Adams (one of the founding fathers of the United States), who was a man of virtue but very tough. I like that mix. The best part is that, for the first time, I was given the role of a man and not a kid. It’s something important for me because although I am 33 years old, I look younger and I had the feeling that I would be condemned to playing less adult roles. Colin Firth once told me when I worked with him in two movies (Dorian Gray in 2009 and Easy Virtue a year before) that no man is interesting until he is 30 years old. I think he was right!

Come on, is the kid Ben Barnes over and is it time to discover the man?

I’m not saying that the Chronicles of Narnia movies, which are for a family audience, are not about men. I am very proud of them. But an actor always searches for balance, having in mind what he has done before. I wanted to show another side. Recently, I’ve played a musician and a gangster, continuing that concept of masculinity with a bit of a nostalgic aura that existed in the 70s, which is the decade I idolize the most.

How do you define masculinity today?

It’s clear that there are a lot of elements of masculinity that go farther than just being an emotionless and aggressive macho. For me, it has to do with the confidence to be who you are. Once you start acting in a way you think others will respect, that is when your essence and honesty are in doubt. Obviously, we have evolved as a race. There is more equality between genders and everybody understands that masculinity does not only belong to men and femininity to women. Do you think what I am saying makes sense? What do you see? I have no confidence in myself. I am not macho enough? (laughs)

What is true is that you look like someone from another era.

It seems that way. I’ve made a lot of period projects that took place in the 40s, in the 19th century, or in mystical times that are not connected to the future or the present. Now I’ve made three or four movies that take place in the present time and I think it’s something that I want to keep exploring. It’s the same balance that I was talking about.

What is the universal part of all these characters?

I think that there are two types of characters that are interesting to the public, although they are opposites. On the one hand, there are heroes that achieve something extraordinary, real people like Samuel Adams or Stephen Hawking, or fictional ones like Superman and the character I play in Seventh Son. On the other hand, there are these ordinary characters that remind you of yourself and that you identify with, like Hamlet and his dilemmas. The public is not interested in the midpoint.

From a science fiction viewpoint, you participated in both the messianic world of Narnia created by C.S.Lewis and the recent Seventh Son that tells the story of a chosen one. Is spirituality a subject that you find interesting?

For me, C.S.Lewis is an example to follow on how to introduce moral dilemmas, Christians or not, in books. That aspect is the reason why Narnia was so popular and timeless. The same thing happened with Tolkien as well. The two writers talk about the powerful nature and searched for more than lecturing, teaching people something important. In that aspect, Seventh Son is a bit different: it talks about faith, destiny, lights and shadows that exists in the world, attraction and forbidden love…But it is a human story that could take place at any time and place. I like the fantasy genre because it changes the rules of the popular imaginary. People think that the fantasy genre is something of the past but I think there are as many different fantasy types as people with different imaginations.

You are very analytical. Is this the consequence of growing up in a family with a psychiatrist father and a emotional therapist mother?

I think I am an actor because of them. When they brought me up they were so interested in how my mind worked – my father from a scientific point of view and my mother in a more emotional way – that they constantly asked me how I felt. This made my life better and prepared me to study different states of mind. Acting is no more than extrapolating how I would I feel in this or that situation and how would I react if I was that person. Each character is an amateur psychological investigation. Everybody would like to be in the mind of another person for five minutes. Being an actor is the most similar to that situation. Curiously, my parents did not want an acting career for me. They preferred that I study a career first to have more security in the future. But when I was 16 years old, I wrote them a letter that I left at their bedroom door, saying that I wanted to be an actor with all my being. That I wanted to learn, but in another way. Just after that I got a job as a musician and a TV presenter.

and after that… fame?

Look, in 2008, when The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was released, I thought that I would immediately become a star. But no. One day I was on a plane and they played the movie. I thought it would be horrible for me because everybody would recognize me. What happened is that nobody realized I was there. I almost forced the person next to me to recognize me, but I couldn’t persuade him. Now I realize it’s a relief that it’s this way. I am very comfortable the way I am now. Really famous people know their fans will adore them no matter what they do, and this is great, but I know actors who can’t take their kids to the park because they won’t be left alone. This would make me very sad.

I will ask you a question that your parents would love: How do you feel?

Very good (laughs). I am very happy because I’ve reached the point that, even though I’ve been acting for a while, I understand I will never have a solid trajectory. Not even the greats like Brando or DeNiro had one trajectory that led them to become what they are. In this profession everything is unexpected. It goes with the flow. There are people who will always think you are not good and others who overvalue you. And their opinion matters to you. In fact, it matters too much. You always feel judged, and I don’t mean only by critics. I understand that sometimes they are paid to hate your movies, or that is what I want to believe after reading some reviews (laughs). But afterwards, when someone sends me a script in which they have invested two years working on and I read it with a cup of coffee, I feel special thinking that maybe this will be my life for the next six months or maybe that moment is the end of my relationship with that particular story. I have learned to enjoy that moment when it’s all or nothing.

Text beside the small photo (page 001 in the gallery):

Kicking it

The actor from London Ben Barnes appeared at Michael Schwartz’s studio with his overwhelming British accent, his elegance and his huge smile. “The best part was Ben’s Matrix-style jumps along with Michael’s assistant. We had a great time.” Angela Esteban-Librero tells us (yes, her again). “He was charming and funny. And the Gucci trench gave him much play”.

Comments

Nabi said:

Poor guy, people should really stop pestering him about the boy band. There’s so much more to talk about.

March 5th, 2015

Drone said:

I think journalists will keep on asking about his brief boy band career because they hope that one day Ben would spill some valuable, controversial secrets or events that might sell their papers/articles. Breaking news is always scandalous and controversial, and makes a lot of money. On the other hand, Ben has always has so much witty things to say. I was never dull to read his interviews. I think he tackles every interviews very well and he didn’t let the interviewee controls him. More please! ;)

March 5th, 2015

Lily tv said:

We all do things that we look back on and feel embarrassed about. It’s part of being human. But it helps us to grow and shows us how far we’ve come. I think journalists tend to rehash these experiences to make celebrities seem more relatable. However, no matter what is thrown your way during interviews, you always come across as levelheaded and lovable. Keep it up Ben!

March 5th, 2015

Dianna said:

Apparently the interviewers think they are very orignial and witty asking about the boyband. For us fans, it’s *yawn* , “another Hyrise question”.
I found the family dynamic question and answer really interesting.
Getting paid for writing bad interviews eh well they probably are !!! No just joking but I get the feeling critics really like writing bad things. They probably feel they’re more interesting if they do.
I have been reading some reviews that weren’t even reviews they sounded more like spitting pure hatred, which makes me wonder more about the sanity of that critic. Well not too much really! They are too less of importance to spill good brain energy on them !!!
I saw SS and Ben did a great job. The movie was Ok !
To come back to this interview I really wished the interviewer would have asked what project Ben has next to work on.
Oh and I agree with Drone that Ben is capable to skirting around some questions and without the interviewer being aware, they’re talking about something else, where Ben led them to. I noticed it in a recent radio interview and it put a grin on my face ! :-)

STEPHANIE thanks again for not only spoiling us with pictures and scans but on top of that providing us with a splendid translation.
Say hi and a big thank you from us to ASHLEY.

March 5th, 2015

kiki said:

thank you Stephanie,

is he like hidding or something, he went mia on everything :(

March 5th, 2015

Miranda said:

I don’t understand you kiki. Why do you think that he is hiding something? Hide what? (It’s just curiosity :) )

March 5th, 2015

Kiki said:

Oh no no!
I mean is he like hidding atm , he not posting anything on social media , its like he hidding! Lol sorry!

March 5th, 2015

Haniza said:

Hi Stephanie.

I’m Ben’s fan from Malaysia. I would love to say thank you to you for all of the effort you have put into this website. I’m enjoying it so much, the pictures and videos section.

Trust me, as his fan from Malaysia, I can’t explore much of his works. His only movie that available in my country is only Narnia and Seventh Son. It makes me frustrated ’cause I can’t find his other movies in the form of DVD. It was not available here. But well, your website gives so much update. I love it and thank you once again.

By reading this interview, I really hope journalists to stop asking him about the HYRISE thing. Poor him. He didn’t like to talk about it obviously.

Also, I pray that Ben will have more and more upcoming projects. I loved all of his movies. It’s just… it’s always got negative review :( I wonder why always like that… For example, By the gun and seventh son. Every critics writing bad thing about it. So sad.

I will always love Ben Barnes! Cheers to other fans from around the world!

xxNiza

March 5th, 2015

M said:

I thought the same thing, Kiki. I guess he’s done promoting his projects, so he doesn’t have any interviews lined up. I definitely miss him being active on social media and I hope he’ll be back to posting things regularly.

This was a great interview, “Hyrise” aside. I think Ben’s had to explain that far too often…

March 5th, 2015

esha said:

hai sir how are ,am esha from india am your fan i hope u read my message , i like your all flims espeacialy chronicle of narnia and seventh son , you are a unique person , i love u so much sir, please reply me sir please please this is my mail id eshakesh@gmail.com

March 6th, 2015

esha said:

hai sir how are u ,am esha from india am your fan i hope u read my message , i like your all flims espeacialy chronicle of narnia and seventh son , you are a unique person , i love u so much sir, please reply me sir please please this is my mail id eshakesh@gmail.com

March 6th, 2015

esha said:

sir i collect ur all photos , if i seen your photo am happy i love you sir

March 6th, 2015

Miranda said:

Oh, OK kiki, lol.

March 6th, 2015

Drone said:

I did read a few reviews of Seventh Son and they were not good. Most of them were slamming the plot but praised the performances of Jeff and Julianne. I think it’s not the actors’ faults that the movie got bad reviews. They were there to act, to interprete the scripts onto the screen. They were not there for the creative works. And to be honest, it’s not looking good for Ben’s side because he has been in a few films that had bad reviews and it’s not even his faults. And this is where we, the fans, come to his rescue. Honestly I love Ben’s acting. I think whenever he acts, he sorta ‘blended’ in into his characters and it didn’t seem like he’s acting at all. It looked so original and that’s what I love about him. Moreover, I think he’s a good person, not like typical white man that’s into women’s physical or shallow minded. That’s what attracted me the most. I think Ben should do more voluntary works and charities, make a statement that will shock people, make a change in this world. He has the platform, has fans all over the world, has the intelligent mind, he can conquer the world.

Ben, if you read this, make every critics that you get as a fuel to your already-fired up passion in acting to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself forward. The words could be hurtful and tears you apart, but that’s normal in life. We all had that at some points in our lives. But don’t ever give up. Keep an open mind and experience more with your life. Good luck with your career. Love ya !

March 6th, 2015

Carol said:

It’s nice to see Ben in the magazine again!
Great interview, keep on going like this!

March 6th, 2015

LaRose said:

What’s up with the interviewer referring to the Narnia films and Seventh son as science fiction?

It’s so nice anytime Ben does an interview. I agree with everyone else though, why keep bringing up the Hyrise stuff? There is so much more to talk about with Ben.

March 6th, 2015

F2write said:

Hi, all. I’m new here, out of the shadows

First, major kudos to webmistress Stephanie for maintaining this living legacy. It’s definitely a comprehensive source of pride and joy. I think it’s quite a coincidence that the day you posted the ICON article/pics, Ben changed his profile pic on social media. I wouldn’t be surprised if he skimmed this site. :)

@Haniza, a few of his movies are on Netflix including Dorian Gray, Locked In, The Big Wedding and Killing Bono. It’s about an $8 US mo. subscription but you could also watch them online.

@Drone I concur. No one sets out to make a flop. So many creative minds are involved with the filming process from treatment to promotion. In this day and age, anyone can be an internet armchair critic with lack of regard to the process. No journalism degree required. It’s evident that he takes film snobs with a grain of salt and an eloquent dash of humor. He’s a pro.

As someone in the PR industry, it pains me to deal with negative critics and reporters on a regular basis. Artistry and vision is subjective. To that end, in interviews, Ben has always been on-point, consistent and gracious in his messaging while addressing his “film families” and role rationales. That, in itself, makes him a bastion of integrity – admirable and inspiring.

I don’t believe these critical reviews will alter his star trajectory. If I had to play Nostradamus, I’d say that the connections he’s made will pay off. And, so will the support of his fans. :) Stay true!

March 6th, 2015

M said:

@Drone ” Moreover, I think he’s a good person, not like typical white man that’s into women’s physical or shallow minded.”

Lol not like a typical white guy? We honestly don’t know that. He could very well place a high importance on women’s looks. We don’t know him personally to gauge any of that. However, I would be willing to bet that he’s a balanced individual and that intelligence and personality would be just as important as looks.

March 6th, 2015

LaRose said:

F2write- Ben does come look at this site from time to time.

March 6th, 2015

F2write said:

@LaRose Yes, I imagine so. :)

March 6th, 2015

Sar said:

I thought this was another great interview actually! Minus the Hyrise stuff. But… having said that, it is a part of Ben’s past, and without it, perhaps his career would have taken a very different path and he’d be on stage singing, rather than on screen acting.

Who knows? Everything happens for a reason, right? “Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place”. And if I may add another: “If you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at change.” I think it’s also a matter of perspectives. :) He shouldn’t be too hard on himself.

Changing gears now…

A friend of mine who recognised Ben from Narnia, but didn’t really know of him until just recently, read this article (above) and mentioned how Ben came across as “eloquent, insightful, and analytical”. She also found some of his quotes to be rather “great” and “cool”.

This makes me very happy! :o) I’ve always admired Ben for his thoughtful answers, the way he teaches you without you knowing it (hint: vocabulary), and it’s great that others can see it too -from a single interview mind!

It’s amazing how black and white photography suits Ben, when he has such a ROYGBIV (rainbow) personality. Puts a smile on my dial.

And many many thanks to Stephanie for your endless efforts. Very much appreciated! :D

March 7th, 2015

Drone said:

To F2write, yup there are too many ‘film reviewers’ nowadays who don’t even study these kinds of things, but yet dare to be critical and biased. I think a good film review consist of the good part and the bad part; the part which can be improved. No one wants to make a bad movie and Like Ben said, it’s not a nice thing to put down someone’s efforts just because it doesn’t fit your criteria or tastes. But I guess when you’re in the entertainment industry, your job is to entertain people and sometimes you hate it, sometimes you love it. But you always have to be prepared mentally and also physically to take on any tasks you’ve been given, even if it’s gonna tear up your soul.

P/S : sorry for my lack of vocabulary. English is not my mother tongue and I’m still learning. Need to read more articles in order to expand my vocabs and grammar. Feel free to teach me :)

March 7th, 2015

Drone said:

To M : yeah I don’t know him personally either. But what I meant is, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who likes women for their looks, body or boob size. He seems like a gentleman who appreciates women and wouldn’t break their hearts over silly things. I mean, we barely know who he dates or who used to be his girlfriends or crushes what not. The guy hides his personal life very well and that’s what makes me respect him.

March 7th, 2015

LaRose said:

I respect him for that too Drone. I would hate to see him all over the gossip magazines. And yes, he seems very respectful of women. His parents raised him right!

March 7th, 2015

F2write said:

@Drone Yes, in an ideal world, however, temperance in today’s journalistic sphere is a rare virtue.

BTW, I don’t know where you hail from, but you’re doing a great job with the language! :)

March 8th, 2015

Carol said:

He is a nice and charming guy and also intelligent and sophisticated and hard-working. I don’t know him personally either but it was my first impression of him when I first looked at him and started to admire him (it was a year or two years ago). This guy always makes my life more happier and put a smile on my face so I’m very proud that I can show respect for someone like Ben.

I could go on forever but I think no words can describe him very well, he’s such a great and unique and gifted man, one of a kind :)

March 8th, 2015

Kira said:

https://baronet.cz/image/cache/data/knihy/2012/20-500×500.JPG

March 13th, 2015

Drone said:

I wonder if Ben would want to start a Q&A session here. I have so much questions but never seem to have a chance to ask. FYI I missed the Q&A on Facebook a few weeks ago and instantly regretted it. I should’ve stayed up late as the session started at 3 am in my country and I need my beauty sleep. Please do Q&A more often Ben. Pretty please?

March 21st, 2015

Carol said:

We are two, Drone, I missed it too. I hope our beautiful Ben will do another Q&A soon :)

March 21st, 2015

LaRose said:

So I see steph posted that picture. When is Sons of Liberty coming out on DVD? Does anyone know?

March 24th, 2015

Viennah said:

I’ve heard DVD will be available in 2 months or so.. Not sure through..

March 24th, 2015

Stephanie said:

According to Amazon.com, both ‘Seventh Son’ and ‘Sons of Liberty’ are coming out on DVD in the US on May 26th. :)

March 24th, 2015

Arantxa said:

wait, spanish magazine? ben? interview? HOW DID I MISS THIS? I’m gonna check at newspaper stands as soon as possible.

March 28th, 2015

Stephanie said:

Be sure to do that asap, Arantxa! The next issue of ICON will be coming out on April 2nd.

March 28th, 2015

Elizabeth Anne said:

I have mixed feelings about Ben’s status. While I wish he got a little more credit for his talents I’m also glad he’s not all over the tabloids. After reading this interview I can tell that his parents wanted was best for him and that’s why they wanted him to study a career first. But over the years he’s become very successful as a result of his acting career, so I’m sure they must be very proud of him for how far he has come. I admire him so much more than most A-list actors who are all over the news! He’s a very kind man in addition to being an awesome actor I love and respect him for keeping his private life private and being successful for working towards what he believes in.

P.S. As type this I’m sitting here watching Sons of Liberty with my brother. Ironic huh?

February 18th, 2016