To commemorate Ben Barnes’s 34th birthday today (Damn it, it’s past midnight. Haha But it was still the 20th less than an hour ago :P), which conveniently also landed on Throwback Thursday, I decided to write about the very first time I met him.
Let me just start off by saying that I became a fan of Ben Barnes after I watched him in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian back in college. They usually showed films every Friday on campus in the auditorium (nothing big, just movies that were already on DVD), but I had never gone to one before until they were playing Prince Caspian. My friend and I had been taking this Philosophy class where our required readings were all the Narnia books, so when we saw that PC was showing, we figured we’d go see it to compare to the book. If you’ve read PC before and have seen the movie, you know that the romance between Susan and Caspian only exists in the film. That, however, was one of my favorite parts. Haha I thought Ben and Anna’s chemistry was fantastic and I totally shipped them in the film. But, I also fell for Ben through his portrayal of Prince Caspian.
After watching the film, I went back to my dorm room and started Googling pictures, interviews, videos, whatever I could find about this beautiful man named Ben Barnes. After I discovered that he’s actually British and such an adorable dork, I fell even harder for him. He’s literally my ideal guy, it’s a little ridiculous. Haha And I knew from that moment that I just had to meet him someday. I didn’t know how but I just had to. So when a miracle happened and the opportunity presented itself I leaped at the chance.
August 16, 2012, Ben was going to be attending an advanced screening of his latest movie “The Words” that also starred Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, and Zoey Saldana. Those other actors didn’t matter to me though, I wanted to watch it because of Ben. So I made plans with some friends, got our passes, and on the day of the screening, arrived at The Grove four hours early. I did not want to miss my chance at meeting my dream guy. Oh, and I forgot to mention the fact that the screening just so happened to be a few days before Ben’s 31st birthday. I had wanted to get him a gift but had absolutely no clue what to buy a guy like Ben Barnes. So, silly ol’ me decided to make him a birthday poster so that I could just hold it up and wave it at him, hoping that he’d at least notice me. In my mind, I would be behind a barricade and if I was lucky enough, at the front row. That’s not exactly how things turned out though.
As I said, I arrived four hours early and completely skipped lunch trying to get there. I checked with the theater and they said I could just sit on the sofa near the staircase to wait for the screening to begin. I didn’t see anyone there (I was first! Success!) and figured I would get some food before waiting in line. Not sure how long I took, but by the time I got back there were already about three others in front of me so I rushed to the couch and proceeded to wait. That’s where I met my wonderful friend Felicia and her mom! They were the two people sitting beside me and we struck up a conversation talking about Ben and his movies, just having a lovely time. I showed her the silly poster I made that had a photo of Ben that I edited a bit and said “Happy Birthday Ben!” on the bottom, outlined in blue glitter. (I regretted it after the fact when I looked at it and realized it probably looked like something a ten year old created in art class. But, hey, I was thinking I needed something sparkly on it to catch Ben’s attention.) I was so happy to have made a friend because my friends couldn’t make it in the end.
As the hours passed, we saw people setting up for the screening. They set up a table to collect people’s passes, posters of the movie, and whatnot. We also started to notice that a lady had been going back and forth from the middle to the front to the back of the line pulling girls out and having them stand on the staircase. Eventually, we found out that the people who were brought up there would be meeting Ben and taking pictures with him. Felicia and I were so confused and a little upset (well, I was at least) that they were choosing random people instead of doing it by first come, first serve. We tried to get the woman’s attention – the one who was choosing the girls – but she didn’t do anything. It wasn’t until Felicia’s mom (bless her, she seriously rocked and I am forever grateful to her for doing this) went up to the woman herself and convinced her to let us up go there too.
There were about 30 to 40 girls up there? I wasn’t exactly sure what the point was to have us up on the staircase because that seemed like a strange place to do a meet and greet. While we were waiting, there were these two guys up there with us. One was holding a huge camera while the other was holding a microphone, and they started interviewing people. They asked us who were we there to see (in the film), and some answered Zoey Saldana while others answered Bradley Cooper. (I was a little surprised that Ben wasn’t their first answers because he was the only cast member who was attending the screening we were about to see.) Felicia and I talked to the other girls there too and somehow my poster came up again so I reluctantly showed it to them. I was so surprised to find out that none of them knew Ben’s birthday was coming up in a few days. Even more so when a good handful of them didn’t even know who Ben was! (Seriously, what were they doing up there if they didn’t even know who Ben was. At the very least. Major fail on the woman who chose people at random.) Some of them kept asking what movies was he in while a few didn’t even know about him at all. It was baffling. Well, at least that gave me the chance to inform them all that his birthday was coming up in a few days, so I can take credit for that. Haha
When those guys who were doing interviews realized I had a “card” of Ben that I’d made, they were so eager to interview me next. I froze like a deer in headlights. I was frozen in terror. If you guys didn’t already know, I am camera shy. Not for taking pictures but for videos. I hate being recorded and seeing and hearing myself on a video; it’s just an overall uncomfortable experience for me that I try to avoid as much as possible. But I was put on the spotlight (literally) so I nervously went to the front of the crowd and stood in front of the camera – awkwardly, I’d like to point out – and began answering their questions. Well, as best as I could while my heart was beating a mile a minute. They asked me who was I there to see and, of course, I answered that I was there to see Ben Barnes. Then they asked me about the poster I was holding and had me hold it up to the camera, and then asked me why was I there to see Ben. It was so nerve wracking I hardly remember anything else that was said; all I remember was standing there frozen to the spot, trying to remember to breathe and trying to keep my blush in control to no avail. I was so thankful when it was over. May the world never see that video.
When Ben walked through the theater doors I think I held my breath for a good five to ten seconds. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Haha I remember thinking, “Oh my god. He’s even more gorgeous in person than he is on screen. He’s real. Oh my god, he’s coming over to us. OMG. OMG.” Yeah, coherency was flying out the window at this point. There was already a group of media there at that point so the moment we realized he arrived, their camera flashes started going off like crazy. Our group was standing on the stairs like we were getting ready for a school photo (seriously, who’s idea was it to take pictures there? But I guess I can’t complain too much because it helped with making sure all our faces were seen?) when he arrived.
He waved at us in greeting and I heard someone whisper that we should sing happy birthday to him right then and there. The idea originally came from another girl I befriended there named Linkha, so when she realized someone else was trying to start it, she jumped in and cued us to start singing. I am so happy someone got a video of Ben’s reaction to us suddenly singing happy birthday to him because it was so precious.
Video: lauraz77 on YouTube
My heart temporarily stopped for the second time that evening when I gave my horridly-made card/poster thing to him. That had NOT been part of the plan because if it was, I would’ve made a better card! It was embarrassing, especially when he saw it and said, “Oh! It’s me!” but his precious reaction was just so adorable I quickly forgot about feeling embarrassed. Haha I loved how he looked up to acknowledge me a little as thanks too.
After that, he took group photos with us (which really did feel like a school photo. Awkward.) before doing individual photos as he made his way upstairs for an interview. Thankfully, someone also caught that on video! It was so embarrassing watching myself in it, but I’m glad someone was able to save my first meeting with him. 🙂 I’m not sure if it was in the video, but before it was my turn to take a photo with him, I was freaking out so much. I had to cover my mouth because I was smiling like crazy and could hardly contain myself and Ben noticed then started mimicking me teasingly. (He’s such a tease. That’s just how he is and it’s adorable. Haha)
Video: lauraz77 on YouTube
I really wish I had more time with him, but I was just in a happy daze after that that I didn’t mind so much. As soon as he left us we quickly descended the stairs and entered the theater to watch the film. He came out before the film started to talk about it a bit before leaving, which was a little disappointing because I thought he’d be in the theater with us as we watched the film but it wasn’t the premiere so it makes sense, I guess.
So that’s how my first meeting with Ben Barnes went! It was definitely an unforgettable experience and a very happy day for me. Not only did I make some awesome friends, but I also met the man of my dreams. 😉
Happy 34th birthday, Ben! I hope it was as wonderful as you are. Please never change because you are such an amazing person. I’m not claiming to know you as well as a friend would, but from what I’ve seen and have experienced myself from the two times I’ve been fortunate enough to meet you, I can honestly say that you are a wonderful person. You are so funny, charming, talented, generous, and many other lovely things, but most of all, you are kind to your fans and down-to-earth. So thank you for just being you. I wish you all the happiness in the world, my Prince Caspian. 😉 (And Dorian, John, Neil, Ryan, etc. Lol)