The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian |


(Murray Close)

The first time he saw the poster for Prince Caspian — with himself decked out in armor, looking dashing as all get-out — Ben Barnes did a double take. ”I just looked at the producers and asked, ‘Is that sensible?”’ he says. Fair question. Aside from a small turn in last year’s Stardust, the British-born actor, 26, is a newbie, and having the C.S. Lewis fantasy on his shoulders is daunting. Following 2005’s $292 million hit The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the sequel picks up 1,300 years later in Narnia (or one year later in our world), as the Pevensie children return to the magical world and find a despot in power and Caspian (Barnes) rebelling. ”This film is definitely grittier and darker,” says director Andrew Adamson. Barnes, who was plucked off a London stage, was given appropriately royal treatment. ”I walked on the set the first day, and the first assistant director said, ‘This is Ben Barnes. Please don’t stand within five feet of him or look him directly in the eye,”’ he says. ”A couple of people looked at me warily for a few days until they worked out it was a joke.” (May 16)

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