Ben Barnes, in the world of Dorian Gray

I am no classic novel reader, the only classics I ever finished was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. So the name of Oscar Wilde and his book, the Picture of Dorian Gray was out of my head. Only because I was freaking crazy overdosed by the British blood actor, Ben Barnes, who caught not only my eyes but also my heart since I first saw him in Prince Caspian, I acknowledged the phenomenal story.

The novel was intriguing, shocking story to the society when it first released. But over the Century, it became very interesting, especially for the film makers to bring the story about timeless narcissist to the silver screen. The Picture of Dorian Gray was probably one of the classic stories which has many movie adaptations. I never watched the other adaptations, but when 2010 version started to hit the big screen my obsession to Ben Barnes, made me wanting to watch it.

I read the novel after I watched the movie zillion times. I read many negative reviews, especially from those who already read the novel before. In one hand, I was glad that I watched the movie before I read the novel, because if I read the it first, I am positively sure, that I won’t watch the movie. The book was more psychologically horrid than what visually shown in the movie (though it was rated R) :D. But on the other hand, I have to admit, upon my admiration to Ben Barnes, the movie was lacking the essential of the story. So to those who never read the book or even heard about Oscar Wilde, watching 2010 Dorian Gray will send them into blank spot. Letting them bewildered. It will only becoming the gothic-horror- easy-to-forget-hedonism-pleasure-seeking movie.

Though in the book, Dorian Gray was described as golden haired and blue eyed ultimate handsome young man, but no one can deny that, the tall and aristocratic looking of Ben Barnes exudes an almost supra-natural beauty and made him the perfect choice for that role. Added by his ability to captured most of the emotions, he was convincing as Dorian Gray. As for me, his acting made the movie bearable to watched.

But the reason I write this blog was more than just my admiration to the British heartthrob upon his role as Dorian Gray. The reason was the background of his decision in taking the tantalizing role of Dorian Gray.

Ben Barnes,Dorian Gray,Prince Caspian

Ben Barnes read the book since his was teen and still thinking that Dorian Gray was the greatest story ever told. As to the world of celebrity-obsessed, youth-obsessed culture, “ Dorian Gray telling Wilde’s morality tale about eternal youth, ageless beauty, self-indulgent, pleasure seeking and the pitfall you might fall into, if you pursued them so relentlessly”. He fully understood that being cast as Dorian Gray is like being told that he is the ultimate in beauty and with his gorgeous look, he could be trapped in the world of celebrity obessed, just like Dorian Gray. But from his growing fame as an actor, he also learned that Dorian Gray was close to his world. He decided to take the role because “Wilde’s story is still extremely relevant. It really proves how little we’ve learned I think. We put so much emphasis on aesthetics and the power of staying young and all this botox crap. It’s nonsense

The movie might be disappointing, the script might be lame and lack of essential, but I would still send my thank you to the actor who played the title character, because of his deep understanding, he was able to deliver the strong message about the story, “Wilde’s novel is quite able to explain what one shouldn’t do to be happy – one should quit paying much attention to appearance

Living in the modern era of Dorian Gray world, Ben Barnes on his ultimate youth and beauty, refused to follow the rule by emphasizing his opinion, “We live in a society obsessed by youth and beauty, but I’d like to be something more than just a pretty face“. Because “The fixation on fame and appearance damage the personality, I don’t want to stay young forever”

I write to share what I see through my heart, my personal point of view and my own analysis.

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Ben Barnes, his choice shows his real talent

Since September 2009, I have written several blogs about the young British actor, Ben Barnes. He has lots of interesting facts that made him intriguing. I admire not only his good looks, but also his personality and more on his acting talent. Though in the range of 2007 to 2010, he only had 8 movies, but from one movie to another, his roles were diverse and different from each other.

He played small but pivotal role as young Dunstan in Stardust, then he changed his character into Russian thug. But he also the naive and vulnerable young prince in Prince Caspian and charming drip mama’s boy type in Easy Virtue. At his utmost beauty, he took the role as timeless narcissist, Dorian Gray but again put down all the glorious moment and taking his route to play the insecure tortured father in Locked In. He returned as the self-assured king in Voyage of Dawn Treader, though it was his second time to played the same role as Caspian, but his character develops. His latest role was wannabe rockstar Neil McCormick in the movie called Killing Bono. From the behind the scene clips and few interviews, he showed that he totally giving himself into a rock star wannabe. As an actor, he proved that he’s preparing his path to become a formidable one.

But Ben Barnes is not someone you can see every where every time. He only appears for his projects and its promotions. Out of that circle, he’s invicible. His latest appearance was in Madrid, Spain early June, promoting his movie, Dorian Gray. Of course, he looks at his best. The new hair cut, the new fashion style made him tantalizing and the object of embarassing drools. But then, he vanished ^_^

Ben Barnes,the Prince

I always questioning his next projects. He’s so unpredictible, yet he never failed in shocking me as his fan. He said in one of his interview in Spain, “I have a couple of things, but I don’t know which to choose, I hope in the coming weeks to make a decision on either project”. It was last week and boy, he made his decision very quick and the news emerged as quick as the lightning. Ben Barnes will play Stephen Wraysford the lead role in stage version of Sebastian Faulk’s phenomenal best-seller, Birdsong. A heartbreaking dramas centred around World War I and powerful love story too.

He’s coming back to stage? well, that’s what I call shocking news. I was shocked, not understand his decision, but then I admire him more. Because the charming Brit once said, “Acting is my dream job. I am happy and grateful that I am not amongst those people who, after the end of their studies are not sure if they actually want to spend the rest of their lives in the profession they learned“. His decision to take a role back to West End stage showing his deep passion in acting.

But that’s not the only reason for me to write this blog. Taking a role on stage was totally different from taking a role in a movie. To be on stage, one must be well prepared. There will be no “re-take” or “cut” if one make mistake. Acting was real on stage. Real talent was needed. His decision made him more adorable. Made me proud of becoming his fans. By taking the role on stage, Ben Barnes shows that he has the real acting talent.

Ben Barnes,the Prince

Birdsong goes into rehearsal in early August and begins performances at the Comedy Theatre on September 18, with an official first night on September 28. As his freaking crazy fan, I wish I had a chance to see him on stage ^_^

I write so I can share what I see through my heart, my personal point of view and my own analysis.

related post: All about Ben Barnes

Source: benbarnesfan, Baz Bamigboye, Birdsong

A perfect choice for Dorian Gray

Dorian gray is a story of a handsome young man in Victorian high society London who is encouraged to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle by family friend, Lord Henry Wotton. Blinded by narcissism after he sees an exceptionally beautiful portrait of himself, Dorian sells his soul to the devil in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. He was described as handsome, finely curved lips. There was something in his face that made one trust him at once.

Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ was already filmed more than a dozen time. “Dorian Gray telling Wilde’s morality tale about eternal youth, ageless beauty, self-indulgent, pleasure seeking and the pitfall you might fall into if you pursued them so relentlessly”, said the British-blood actor, Ben Barnes. “And it’s a greatest story ever told and hasn’t been told in a very long time. It deserved to be told”.

To portray Dorian Gray into a film would require an actor who has indisputably handsome face but able to convince a journey from a naive young man who sells his soul in return for remaining as beautiful as his painted image, to a man who jaded by a lecherously pleasure – seeking without happiness and return to his society, looks as young as he left 25 years before, finally repents his terrible behavior and looking for redemption.

But Barnaby Thompson’s – the producer of Dorian Gray – interest in Ben was more than just on his looks. It happened by chance one day between scenes on Easy Virtue. He saw in a moment, Ben’s expression switched. His brown eyed charm imperceptibly turning to something blacker, something deadly. “It was the Dorian Gray journey in a single look. He has matinee idol looks, he’s utterly charming, but he can go from sweet charm to steel in just a flick of head”.

Dorian Gray

Olivia Cole wrote on her report for London Evening Standard that, Ben Barnes’s Dorian Gray has a glint in his eyes that’s half charming and half psychotic. It starts to make Rolling Stones look like a kind of boys you’d like to take home for tea. And Francesca Scorcucchi confirmed it. “Ben Barnes has the looks as if he has done himself pact with the devil. Long hair, 3 days beard, light shadow under his eyes that made him even more charming. He has a face whom you can’t deny anything”.

Tall and aristocratic looking, Ben Barnes exudes an almost supernatural beauty and grace and being cast as Dorian Gray is like being told that he’s the ultimate in beauty, that people should sell their grandmothers to look like him. But that fact doesn’t give him so much confidence. “I don’t know. You still get these waves of doubt that come over you, for example, when you get a bad review or you accept a part and think, “Oh, God, what have I just accepted? I can’t do that.” I don’t think that’s something that will ever go away in me”. Though Barnes was worried about making a “hash” of it, but Dorian Gray “is still a great role that you can not refuse as an actor”, he said.

And that was what Oliver Parker was worry about. He wasn’t entirely convinced Ben Barnes could do the role of Dorian Gray until after Ben impressed him in the audition. Ben might be just a little too good looking to convince as a man who sells his soul for eternal youth and the undeniable pleasure of the flesh. “I thought, yeah he’s great looking guy, but is it boy band or is it a real talent? And the delight for me was to find that there is a real talent there. He could do the sweet, charming, innocent thing but believe me, there is a very bad boy in there. I’ve noticed a certain relish when he contributes ideas to his murkier scenes”.

Collin Firth, played as Lord Henry Wotton, Ben’s on-screen mentor, adds, “I didn’t have any concerns about him. My concerns for Ben are that there’s a rather Dorian-esque thing about being as beautiful as he is. He actually might get hired because he’s beautiful, but he’s got a lot to prove, because the world is skeptical of it. I think he has a real battle with public perception. I think he is a person of great substance. I think he’s an actor of great talent. He’s very, very bright. The assumption that I had when I met him was, “You’re just a pretty boy.” I think I did catch myself being surprised at how talented he was. He’s far than just a pretty boy, he’s not to be underestimated. He’s shaping up to be a rather formidable actor”.

For someone as handsome as Ben Barnes, he may be would have liked to remaining young and handsome before he took a part in the movie. But after having watching what happened to his character “I understood that it’s not so pleasant. We all live in a society that’s crazy about youth – all these Botox and cosmetic surgery, “yes-I-always-look-like-I’m-25” – but it leads to no good. At the end Dorian wants to kill himself to get rid of fake youth. “Pleasure has nothing in common with happiness”. Wilde’s novel is quite able to explain what one shouldn’t do to be happy – one should quit paying much attention to appearance”.

dorian gray

Ben Barnes has an analytical approach to create a required character for his role. This ability made him, the boy who never get a scratch, drinks and never looks hungover and generally lives a life of consequence free-debauchery, able to portray Dorian Gray convincingly. Ben Barnes, with his indisputably handsome look and real talent, was the perfect choice for Dorian Gray.

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Prince Caspian, a dream come true

I write so I can share what I see through my heart, my personal point of view and my own analysis.

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Ben Barnes, the non – flavor of the month trends actor

After his lead role in the blockbuster movie, Prince Caspian, the second installment of C. S. Lewis book, The Chronicles of Narnia, he put himself a chance to take a role in Noel Coward’s play called Easy Virtue, opposing Jessica Biel, Collin Firth and Kristin Scott – Thomas.

Easy Virtue

“I studied literature in school and I’d read a fair amount of Coward, but I had never heard of this play. Probably because it was so bad”, said doe-eyed Ben. “I was really skeptical about taking the part until I realized that they had changed basically everything”.

Ben was a little resistant in playing the character. “Originally because I thought he was weak and I thought he was a bit mama’s boy. I thought he was a bit unsympathetic and I thought he won’t care about the relationship”. He gets frustrated with John Whittaker, “ I want to shake him and slap him and teach him some street smarts”. But actually he thinks that’s the acting challenge.

Colin Firth, who played Jim Whittaker, John’s sad-eyed father, thought Ben was a very nice guy when he met him for the first time. “You think pretty boys like that cannot possibly have any substance”. When Ben started acting, Collin thought it was a fluke. It sounded real. He had this resonant, confident, easy-type delivery. “Oh, he’s probably having a little moment.” And he did it again. “It was him acting. He took what could have been the most chinless role in the world, unsympathetic and dull, because there are so many wicked characters in this story, and he really isn’t one of them. Ben is a very funny guy, and it was painful for him to play a rather stuck-up, troubled kid, but I think he gave it flair that very few people could’ve done. He had a confidence and grace, which doesn’t come that easily”.

His decision to take the role in Easy Virtue not only gave him an acting challenge. In the original script, his character, John Whittaker didn’t sing much but once Stephen Elliot, the director learned of his lead’s vocal proficiency, it became a prominent part of proceedings. Elliot remembers how he decided that Barnes should sing in the movie, “After a few glasses of Ealing [Studios’] cheekiest chardonnay, Ben Barnes began to serenade a lovely waitress and accidentally let out his dirty little secret. He’s got one hell of a set of lungs on him”.

Really Mr. Barnes? You serenade the lovely waitress? I wonder what you sang for her ^_^

His excellent singing voice has also been confirmed by Carla Hay, in her report for Examiner. “If you’re really lucky, Barnes will start singing while he’s having a conversation with you — like he did several times when I was talking with him in this one-on-one interview. (Trust me: I didn’t ask him to sing; he just spontaneously broke into song.) And if you hear him sing, there’s no need to cover your ears, since he really does have great vocal chops that match his versatile acting. Ben Barnes sings a few jazzy tunes on the “Easy Virtue” soundtrack, but in real life, his vocal style is more akin to the soulful pop of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, two of his musical heroes”.

As for myself, his baritone voice singing for the soundtracks, delighting my heart and made me dance every time I hear it.

Easy Virtue was not a cheesy piece of drama movie, the movie got positive reviews including from the Noel Coward’s society and won Audience Prize at 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

The road to a great acting career is often paved with the classics — and that’s a path that’s working so far for Ben Barnes, It doesn’t mean he won’t do films that aren’t based on previously written literary works, but his choice indicates that quality stories are a top priority for him as an actor, rather than taking the easier route of doing hack work that cashes in “flavor of the month” trends.

I write so I can share what I see through my heart, my personal point of view and my own analysis.

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