In just over a month, The Umbrella Academy returns to Netflix to introduce the team’s alternate-reality “Sparrow” counterparts. But one Sparrow who needs no introduction is Justin H. Min’s Ben Hargreeves, who’s suddenly alive and well in this strange new timeline. Unfortunately, his siblings are shocked to learn that Ben’s personality is a far cry from the sweet, lovable presence they recall from their own universe. And while speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Min discussed how he managed to put a fresh spin on his character.
Ben’s childhood under Sir Reginald Hargreeves was grueling enough to begin with. But it sounds like he and his fellow Sparrows had it much worse. In the end, the eccentric billionaire’s training regimens molded them into a far more ruthless team of superheroes. Min and showrunner Steve Blackman decided that might make the best reason for Ben’s transformation.
“Steve and I really talked at length about this balancing act between nature versus nurture, and what that would do to someone like Ben,” said Min. “I think Ben, in his essence, is a very impressionable person, so I think nurture is a huge striving force behind whoever Ben is and whoever Ben becomes. So in this alternate reality where they’re being trained as these assassins and mighty superheroes who are famous and well-known, these are all things that we talked about leaving a great impression on Ben.”
Min clearly pushed himself to make Sparrow Ben seem as different as possible from his usual performance. As he tells it, this version of the character comes across much more domineering. But Min didn’t just spend more time at the gym to highlight his jacked physique. He also worked with a voice coach to help him speak at a lower, more imposing register. Regardless, the key difference between the Bens lies in their conflicting attitudes toward their tentacle-based superpowers.
“I think the previous version of Ben was fearful of his powers,” added Min. “It was something he never fully learned how to control on his own. So when these tentacles were unleashed, he didn’t know what would transpire. But since the Sparrows have been trained since such a young age to utilize their powers during combat, it’s something the new Ben feels much more control over. It’s a casual way for him to assert his superiority. In the very first montage where we introduce the Sparrows, you even see him using his tentacles to smoke a cigar and drink. It’s something he whips out as a party trick and will do very casually.”
The Umbrella Academy season 3 premieres on Netflix on June 22.
Are you excited to meet this new version of Ben when the series returns? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: The Umbrella Academy Vol. 3
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