The actor initially had doubts about the project (Picture: Netflix)
Shadow and Bone star Ben Barnes has spoken about his upcoming role in the Netflix fantasy series, saying that he initially turned down the part of General Kirigan.
The actor said he feared he wouldn’t be ‘involved’ enough in the production on location in Budapest, Hungary – and revealed he had to be convinced by the makers of the show after not featuring heavily in the first episode.
Shadow and Bone follows the life of orphan Alina Starkov (played by Jessie Mei Li), who is recruited to become a soldier in an elite magical army known as Grisha. Along the way, she confronts Ben’s character General Kirigan, who attempts to understand the nature of her newly-discovered power.
Ben, who is known for his performances in The Chronicles of Narnia films and Westworld told Metro.co.uk: ‘I got sent one of the scripts to see if it was something that was interesting to me.
‘I read it and my character wasn’t really in the first episode. And so I sort of said, “There are a lot of other projects around, if I want to do this I really want to be involved.”’
Speaking about the shoot, Ben added: ‘It’s difficult to uproot your life and go to Eastern Europe or wherever it might be in the world that isn’t your home for half the year, and you don’t know if you’re going to do more series.’
Ben went on to say: ‘I think if I’m going to do something like that, then I really want to have something I can get my teeth into and be involved in.’
Discussing turning the role down at first, the actor continued: ‘So I said, “I don’t think this is something I want to be involved in”. And they said, “Well, hang on”. And then they sent me a couple more of the episodes.
Jessie Mei Li stars as Alina Starkov on the fantasy show (Picture: Netflix)
‘There were a few moments in those episodes that I thought were particularly tasty, and really great moments of dialogue and characters meeting. Then I read the first book, before having a meeting with the showrunner Eric Heisserer.
‘He sort of talked me through the series and the themes that he wanted to highlight… So I felt like I was involved in this world already. I immediately became quite invested.’
Thankfully, Ben signed up for the show, and is set to step into the role of General Kirigan later this month.
The series, which is based on the books by Leigh Bardugo, sees Ben form part of an impressive young cast including Jessie Mei Li and Freddie Carter.
Shadow and Bone is released April 23 on Netflix.