Acclaimed British drama series Gold Digger premiered in the U.S. on Monday, and star Ben Barnes said he is excited for Americans to see him play his first British role in a decade. Barnes is well-known to fans in the U.S. for his starring roles in The Punisher and Westworld, but he has not used his native accent on-screen in years. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, he said he can't wait to see the reaction it gets.
"One of the jewels for me was that I've been playing only, basically, Americans — I hadn't actually in a British accent or played a British character in 10 years before Gold Digger," Barnes told PopCulture. "I'm very interested to see how it being in a different, slightly exotic setting changes how people view it. I'm curious."
"I mean, I definitely think it's probably a slightly different demographic from The Punisher," he continued, laughing. "It definitely sort of made me giggle — made me smile to myself... I basically started laughing thinking, man, people who love The Punisher might really hate this. It's just offering something so different."
Still, Barnes said he was actually inspired by the idea of finding the crossover between these two kinds of audiences, saying: "people are complicated, and well-rounded, and interesting. [They] like lots of different things, like I do! I have a bit more faith in people, yet it is definitely very different."
Barnes stars alongside Julia Ormond in Gold Digger, a drama about a 60-year-old woman (Ormond) falling in love with a much younger man (Barnes) and the rift it causes in her family. The show has a small, strong ensemble cast and — as Barnes put it — an "intimate" tone that is "quintessentially British." The six-episode series aired in November on the BBC, and now Americans can watch it as well on the British TV streaming app Acorn. Barnes hopes that his fans will take a chance on a show that is far different from what he is best-known for.
Barnes was given the script for the series as he finished filming The Punisher Season 2, and read the entire storyline on the plane ride back to the U.K. He said he chose the project because of how different it is from the action shows he become famous for, adding that he has a "thirst for doing the complete opposite of what I've just done."
Gold Digger premiered in the U.S. on Monday, on the streaming service Acorn, which is dedicated entirely to British programming. The app comes with a 7-day free trial — easily enough to binge-watch all six episodes of Gold Digger — and then costs $5.99 per month.