Netflix’s major new fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, launched on Friday, and it’s proven to be an instant hit with subscribers. One of the most popular elements of the show is Ben Barnes’ performance as General Kirigan AKA the Darkling, the shadow-summoning leader of the superpowered Grisha who may be handsome and charming but heroine Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) soon discovers he’s hiding a sinister nature.
He might kill it in the role, but Barnes has admitted that one of the Darkling’s most manipulative moments made him feel sick. The British actor – also known for his villainous turn in Marvel’s The Punisher – spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and reflected on one particular scene which he thinks involves the worst thing Kirgan does in season 1.
The character interrogates Alina’s closest friend, Mal (Archie Reynaux), apparently to prove his identity, and gets him to reveal Alina’s favorite flowers as proof – blue irises. The next thing we know, Kirigan presents Alina with a bouquet of blue irises. The gesture wins her over and soon after, the pair almost have sex before they’re interrupted by news of Mal’s escape.
As Barnes put it:
“It makes me feel sick, at that moment, because it’s the most outward show that he is manipulating, and it’s just so outward that it makes me feel ill. When I saw that part in the show I was like, ‘I don’t want to play a bad guy, I want to play a good guy.'”
Kirigan may go on to commit much more atrocious acts, including taking life on a grand scale, but Barnes is probably right that this is the Darkling’s most evil deed on an interpersonal level as he’s manipulating Alina’s feelings so completely in an intimate way. It’s interesting that the actor notes that it disgusted him so much, though, as in this same interview he revealed that he added the line where Kirigan asks Alina “are you sure?” before they initiate their tryst, which suggests the character is feeling somewhat guilty over his actions and makes him slightly less cold-blooded.
It’s too soon for Netflix to have officially renewed it yet, but hopefully Shadow and Bone will be gifted at least a second season.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter