Disney has found their title character for Prince Caspian, the next film in The Chronicles of Narnia. Now they just have to make sure they have some lawyers available, as the actor might be sued by his current employer.
The actor’s name is Ben Barnes, and he’s currently appearing in the National Theater’s production of The History Boys. Which is the rub – he’ll be breaking his contract to make the fantasy film. A spokesperson for the National Theatre said Friday: "Ben Barnes has decided to leave The History Boys early, before his contract is finished. It is something we are taking very seriously. He has accepted an offer to be in a children’s Disney film and we have had to fly Jamie King back at extremely short notice this week."
Jamie King will be taking over Barnes’ role in the stage play. If the National Theater does take legal action, Barnes might have a couple of quid to give them – it’s being reported that he has signed on to a three picture deal with Disney for more Narnia movies.
Caspian is a major figure in the mythology of Narnia. The book named after him takes place a thousand years after the events of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, when talking animals have been suppressed. The king of Narnia is the evil Miraz, who killed the rightful king and took the throne. Caspian is the rightful heir to Narnia, and he gets involved with the Pevensie children in an attempt to take it back. Caspian appears as King in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which takes place about three years after Prince Caspian. In The Silver Chair he is in his sixties and dying. When the BBC did the books as miniseries they hired different actors in each film; obviously Barnes will be in all three, so we’ll see how they make him look old. Caspian technically appears a fourth time, at the end of The Last Battle, where all the dead characters from Narnia shows up in Aslan’s Country, aka Heaven.