Benjamin Stone is probably best known to audiences as Blank on 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. A successful voiceover actor, Stone has lent his talents to several Harry Potter video games including Prisoner of Azkaban and Quidditch World Cup.
Born in Kingston, Surrey, England, Stone got his start in stage productions including The Dreaming and Pendragon. He also appeared on the BBC series Randall & Hopkirk.
Stone attended Epsom college, a well known British boarding school where he was involved in the performing arts; acting in plays, singing in concerts, and writing his own comedy sketches for the school’s variety shows. Once Stone left Epsom College he enrolled in the One Year Foundation Course in Acting at 'Arts Educational' in London. He then found himself privileged enough to gain a place on the 3-year BA (Honors) course in Musical Theatre at the prestigious 'GSA Conservatoire'. His participation in this program eventually led him to make the decision to move to Los Angeles.
On the new ABC Family hit THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING, Stone plays Alek, a good-looking high school athlete with a bad boy edge and a killer accent. Alek has always known he is a descendant of the ancient Mai race. His parents were killed during a battle between Mai and The Order and now Alek is living with Jasmine's family.
Check out a recent Q&A with the sexy young actor.
Since Alek is a descendant of the Mai also, what makes Chloe different from him in regards to their abilities?
Benjamin Stone: Chloe is the ”Uniter,” so she not only has the basic power of every Mai, the claws, super hearing, agility, and night vision, but she also is an empath, which means she experiences directly what a person is feeling on an emotional level. And also she has nine lives, which is pretty awesome, whereas I have one life, like a schmuck.
Can you talk about the Order and any run-ins Alek has had with them since the death of his parents?
Benjamin Stone: I can’t say too much about what happened in terms of my background with the Order, but I can tell you in general about Mai. They are constantly sort of hunting us, but they’ve only really just come back into the scene because they weren’t really worried until the Uniter kind of appeared and showed herself. Now that Chloe is out and about they’ve kind of really started stepping up their organization, and they now are only just now really trying to find Chloe and kill her and eliminate the rest of the Mai. But until now, they have been pretty dormant.
How did you get connected to The Nine Lives of Chloe King? How did you start working with them?
Benjamin Stone: Just the usual place. I was in LA auditioning and I got called in for an audition for this. I remember reading it and thinking, because a lot of times you get auditions and you read it and you know whether it is something you could do really well or it is something you would kind of have to really try hard at and hope that you do a good job, but somebody else probably would get it just because they are more that person or they look better. But I read it and I immediately thought, even reading the character break down, I was like “I think I can do this.”
I went in to audition and it was actually also the busiest audition I’d ever been to. I actually waited for half an hour and then I went away, grabbed dinner, came back and waited half an hour and then went in, and it was absolute mayhem, there were so many people there. Everybody, all of the other cast said the same thing for their characters. There were just so many people. Then I got called back and then tested and met with the director and producer, and then eventually got the role.
You obviously do a lot of stunts on the show and that, jumping over rooftops, like the last one. Can you talk some about the effects and the stunts?
Benjamin Stone: Yes, we actually have a stunt coordinator who just worked on Fast Five and lots of others, you know he did The Matrix as well. He’s really, really great and we’re so lucky to have him. We actually have stunt doubles as well, but we try and do as much as we can with time allowing and whether or not we are capable of doing what they want. Also in terms of money as well, sometimes it’s just better for them to get someone in to do one of the big jobs while we’re shooting another scene and then we can come in and do a couple of fights and then run away again.
So we try and do as much as we can and get as much shots of us doing it and then sometimes we have to get shots of the stunt doubles doing everything just as back up and then some of the bigger stuff they will come in and do, a lot of the big jumps they will do just for insurance reasons. Even though I always try and get myself to do it, but sometimes they’re like, “No, you can’t. Sit down.”
What are you enjoying the most about working on the show?
Benjamin Stone: I just enjoy the camaraderie of working with all the people in the cast and the crew and everybody. I’ve only been in America for just a few years and I started this a year and a half ago, so to me I’ve made a lot of close friends, and that’s why I have really enjoyed it. I like the idea of going to work every day with a really great group of people and doing something different every day and it being a challenge. I find that really exciting, so it’s something different every day.
That’s great. So how would you say this role compares to some of your roles in the past, similar or different?
Benjamin Stone: This is the biggest one I’ve had. It’s the most I’ve had to do so far, which is great, because it means I’m constantly doing different things, experiencing working on location, and with different people, different types of scenes. But it is also, in terms of what I have had, it is kind of the first, I guess, leading man kind of role I’ve had, whereas before it’s been kind of slightly more nerdy or not as in the limelight. This is kind of a bigger role for me in all ways.
From Alek’s perspective, can you kind of describe the relationship he has with Chloe?
Benjamin Stone: Yes. His relationship first started as being kind of a mentor. He is also excited that he has found and reunites with his people, but also the fact that he has found another female Mai. Through protecting her and mentoring her he has come to really find something different in her compared to other people because she won’t accept fully being a Mai and because she’s the Uniter as well she is constantly going back to her human friends and everything, which he finds kind of strange. Because of that, it kind of gives him more respect for her, and he ends up caring about her more, and eventually falling in love with her.
As the Harry Potter saga kind of comes to an end, I know you’ve worked with the video games a lot, what does it feel like from your perspective to see it come to an end?
Benjamin Stone: For me it’s more of just being a fan. I read all the books. I read the last book a couple of times, and I’m excited because it is the best book of the whole bunch, and from seeing the trailer it looks incredible so I’m really excited to see it. It’s been a long run so it’s not sad or anything; it’s kind of sad that there won’t be another one because they are always so good.
Anyway, what’s it like to work with your co-star? It seems like she’s a lot of fun to be with.
Benjamin Stone: Yes. Skyler only just turned seventeen, so she’s still really young, but she is way beyond her years in terms of experience. She’s really, really good and she’s always positive, even if she is on set for sixteen hours a day. She obviously works most out of all of us because she is the main character and she is pretty much in every scene. She is great fun and she’s got great parents. We always have a lot of fun and she is very serious when she is on set in terms of getting everything done and working really hard. She has a photographic memory as well. She remembers her lines. She always has a really long section and within a second she knows them. Yes, she’s great. She’s really good fun.
Is there anything coming to a head? It looks like Brian’s dad and the Mai mother had one confrontation already, so without giving too much away, anything heading on the horizon that viewers should be aware of?
Benjamin Stone: Yes, the danger level definitely steps up and Chloe does have to legitimately be worried about her family members and her best friend. It definitely steps up and we learn also that there is more than just the Order after Chloe.
It seems like there are more romantic vibes now between Alek and Chloe? Any comments on that?
Benjamin Stone: From the very beginning, I think, it’s Chloe who just assumed that they’re together because she sees them together and Amy puts her straight and says no, no, no, they’re cousins. That’s disgusting. There were never any romantic vibes there. It’s all just brotherly and sisterly because they live together and they’ve grown up together the last few years. But definitely in terms of Chloe, from the get-go he’s slowly developing feelings for her and then exponentially developing feelings for her within every episode.
Since this is a summer show and you obviously will have more free time for awhile, are you working on any movies or TV or anything for the fall or after that?
Benjamin Stone: Not at the moment. I actually have to go back to England for a month just to see my family and take a break, so it’s hard to plan ahead past that at the moment. I’m pretty much going home next week, but when I come back hopefully I will get something else.
Is Chloe going to start noticing Alek more or is there is anything in that way in their future?
Benjamin Stone: I can say that it definitely gets more complicated for her and it’s not quite as simple as “Oh, Brian’s really sweet and Alek’s a jerk.” It definitely gets more complicated and she starts to see different sides of Alek. She also changes as a person because she is embracing being Mai and also growing up. She has never even really dealt with boys before, so she has a lot of decisions to make and they’re not quite as easy as you think.
Can you kind of talk about the process of doing the voice work for the Harry Potter games and what that was like?
Benjamin Stone: Yes, I actually didn’t do the Dumbledore voice which it says for some reason on IMDB. I actually did the voices of Fred and George Weasley, and also sometimes Draco. I think once or twice I did a voice for Harry, but in the game you play Harry, so he doesn’t really speak that much. I would just go in every other week and I would have more lines from the video game to do. Fred and George Weasley in the game have a lot because they own a shop and you get to go to them for things. I had a lot of stuff to do for that. It was fun and I got to work with the directors from America. We would both work in England and over the internet working and over the phone. So it was a really good experience when I was actually at school.
Were you always a big fan of fantasy adventure genre in terms of TV or film or even comics?
Benjamin Stone: Yes, I actually in terms of film and TV, I love watching sci-fi. In terms of books, my favorite books to read are fantasy books. In fact, I was just about to start reading the Game of Thrones series, , the Game of Thrones, the first book, and then I saw a billboard for it and I thought that’s the book I’m going to read. So then I ended up watching it and I’m actually going to read the second one anyway because I can’t wait for the second season. I love to watch fantasy as well. I don’t like to read sci-fi, but I love to watch it. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite films.
Could you picture yourself in a type of live action role in the future? If so, what character would it be?
Benjamin Stone: You know, I definitely could. They’re filming a lot of young adult fantasy novel-type films now. One of the ones I could have seen myself doing but they had already cast it, was Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments. It was funny, because again reading that was actually like when I read Nine Lives. It had very familiar characters in it as well and I immediately felt really good about it. It didn’t work out in the end, but that would have been a great opportunity. There was also the series the Ender’s Game that I think they are turning into a film, and I know some of the characters are very young in it but if they were to make them a little older, I’d love to do something in that.
Do you think that the teen years is an ideal time for these super heroes to discover their powers?
Benjamin Stone: Yes, everybody loves an origin story. I say everyone, I do anyway. All my favorite films, I actually saw Batman Begins to the Dark Knight because I love learning how they become who they are and of course I love watching the training and stuff, so I was really happy when we had our writers started writing and training sequences into the show. There is more as well that I really enjoy, but I think it is kind of perfect because someone is growing up, they figure out who they are, they figure out where their priorities lie, and you know, what their opinions are and things. I think you throw in the fact that they have super powers as well; it’s a perfect time to kind of meld the two together and learn how to use your powers responsibly and how to use them to help other people and better other people’s lives.
I think it works very well, but it is funny you mention the suit because I just saw the trailer for Captain America and I never really wanted to see it before because it just seemed really cheesy. I didn’t hear much about the suit, and I love that because it makes it more kind of vintage and less cheesy and it just looks a lot cooler.
Do any of you have other powers besides the ones that we’ve seen so far? Obviously you don’t have the nine lives, but are we going to be seeing any more of your powers come out in the future?
Benjamin Stone: Not that I know of. Not so far. The powers that we have are kind of the powers amongst the Mai. Except for Chloe’s nine lives and having an empath, but all of the other powers remain the same. At the moment we don’t seem to have any extra abilities or gain anything else.
If you could choose one of the Mai powers for yourself, what would you want to be able to do?
Benjamin Stone: I keep being asked this question and I keep changing my mind. I think I have finally decided my answer. I think for me it would just be general strength and agility. I think being able to run fast and have the stamina to run and jump from buildings and that kind of thing and the speed, I think that’s kind of the coolest. I’d love to have night vision but I think I wouldn’t use it responsibly, so I think the running around and having the strength to do whatever you want pretty much, I think that’s cool.
What have you learned about yourself since you started working on the show?
Oh, that’s a tough question. What have I learned about myself? I don’t know. I think I know myself pretty well. I’ve learned that I definitely love what I do because sometimes you have concerns and questions about whether you can keep doing this or whether you can stick it out when you’re not working or auditioning and deal with the rejection, and also work sixteen hours a day and everything else. I actually love it. I love working with other actors and other artists and the crew and stuff. But in terms of anything deeper than that, nothing really comes to mind.
How has stage acting helped you, especially doing a role that is as fantastic as this one?
Benjamin Stone: I think it has just given me the building blocks to kind of create a character or to just kind of experience things live as they are happening and not kind of be rigid. I mean, I am still learning and evolving but I think it is just the basic principle of the theater that’s given me the edge and the confidence as well, although switching into the media of television it is terrifying more so than being on stage, because there’s no direct feedback as time is of the essence. If you muck up, somebody is losing money. That’s hard in that aspect to get used to. It just prepared me and it also gave me the commitment as well, because knowing that it was only going to help me get through training and sticking it out without making any money and things like that. I actually loved it. I would love to get back to stage as well, but for now I’m loving this and this role. It’s just incredible and I feel really, really fortunate to be a part of the show.
Do you have a favorite play that you’ve done or a favorite Shakespearean play?
Benjamin Stone: It’s been awhile. I actually really enjoyed a play, it’s a farce called A Flea in her Ear. That was really good fun just because it was just so hilarious and every night it was different, all the jokes kind of change because you change and the audience changes. That was really good fun.
In terms of things that I’ve actually done, my favorite musical that I did was a musical called Dreaming, which was based actually on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It sounds like it would be really cheesy if you said oh, it’s a musical based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the music is beautiful and so well written and everybody else is really funny as well. That would be my favorite musical that I did. I think that was just perfect. I’d love to see that be bigger and go to Broadway. That was really fun.