Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Shadow And Bones' Ben Barnes Is Tired Of Playing 'Kind Of Douchey Characters'

It's not always easy to play a villain — especially when doing so mires you in typecasting. Ben Barnes started his time in Hollywood playing the virtuous Prince Caspian in Disney's take on the "Chronicles of Narnia" series of books, but his latter career has been filled with roles of a more morally disreputable kind. From playing the title role in 2009's adaption of "Dorian Gray" to essaying the dissolute Logan Delos on "Westworld," the wicked Billy Russo on "The Punisher," and the avaricious Benjamin Greene on BBC's "Gold Digger," he's become something of a go-to guy when directors are looking for amoral but handsome villain type.

His latest role — that of the power-mad General Kirigan in Netflix's "Shadow and Bone," who was partially inspired by Hannibal Lecter — is definitely more of the same. It's gotten to the point where Barnes admits he wants to try his hand at lighter fare. As he told Polygon in March, he's been begging his agents to give him something gentler to do. "I keep asking my agents, I just want to do a rom-com. And then they're like, Haven't got a rom-com, but found this psychopath who's killing a lot of young people!" He then admitted that he tends to play "these sorts of manipulative, rageful, venomous... or just kind of douchey characters." But it appears that all might not be completely hopeless for the actor when it comes to kinder and softer parts.

Barnes tries to sympathize with his 'douchey' characters

Ben Barnes admits that the key to playing those so-called "douchey" characters is to find a little bit of humanity and relatability in their makeup. "You can really kind of dig down and try to believe in the broken truth of any character, even if they're the antagonist. Even if they're not the one you're rooting for," he told Polygon. "But, it would be nice to play someone you're rooting for next, to be honest."

Even though he's played a lot of bad guys in his time, Barnes' career as a romantic lead doesn't seem to be entirely doomed. While lighter parts are few and far between on his resume, he was a member of the large ensemble cast that made up 2013's romantic comedy "The Big Wedding," and he appeared opposite Katherine Heigl in the working-class musical drama "Jackie & Ryan" in 2014. Playing the heroic Sam Adams on History's "Sons of Liberty" must have been a relief to the guy. Perhaps with some luck in the future, he'll find himself with his dream role: playing a part in "a nice rom-com in a nice cardie." Perhaps the Hallmark Channel has room for him?