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Ben Barnes' Kirigan In Shadow And Bone Was Partially Inspired By Hannibal Lecter

One of the key characters on Netflix's "Shadow and Bone" series, based on the Grishaverse books written by Leigh Bardugo, is General Aleksander Kirigan, AKA The Darkling (Ben Barnes).

Kirigan is the Second Army's general and a Shadow Summoner who can wield and manipulate the darkness in Ravka. In the show's first season, Kirigan forms a connection with Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), but they clash when she realizes he wants to use the Shadow Fold as a weapon. 

Centuries old, Kirigan is an intelligent schemer, yet he doesn't see himself as evil despite his ruthless methods. He'll do anything to protect the Grisha even if those actions seem extreme to others. Barnes commented on the character's murky morality in a recent interview with Collider, saying, "He's an ambiguous figure that exists in those gray shadows between the dark and the light, for sure." Still, he did take some inspiration from an iconic screen villain.

Barnes watched Silence of the Lambs in preparation

To get into the head of a charismatic, manipulative bad guy, Ben Barnes naturally took cues from a truly terrifying villain. During an interview with Goggler, the actor was asked if there were any particular inspirations for his performance on the first season of "Shadow and Bone."

"There was certainly a moment when I was rewatching 'Silence of the Lambs,'" the actor recalled. Barnes noticed how in the classic horror film, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) stands completely still during his initial appearance, but rattles Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) regardless. "He's just standing in the middle of this cell and his hands are by his sides and he's not really doing anything," said Barnes. "And you can feel her bones shuddering."

During his own introductory scene, then, Barnes made a small tribute to Hopkins' performance as Lecter. When Kirigan tells Alina to "come closer," Barnes in fact improvised repeating "closer," in a nod to the serial killer's own line of dialogue. "So that was my little ode to him, that little moment," the actor said. Hopefully "Shadow and Bone" season 2 will have even more goosebump-inducing scenes like that.