DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
TV

Meet Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Son of a Critch star and the real boy behind Disney’s new Pinocchio

Ahead of two big releases this week, English actor Benjamin Evan Ainsworth talks about sharing a bedroom with Malcolm McDowell and his own impossible wish

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth Photo: supplied

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth Photo: supplied

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth has just arrived in his Los Angeles hotel. This week sees the release of the live action adaptation of Disney’s Pinocchio, in which he voices the iconic title character. Meanwhile, the Canadian sitcom he stars in, Son of a Critch, debuts on Paramount+ in the UK.

It’s a big week for the 13-year-old actor from the north of England but he still makes time for The Big Issue. Having started out on Emmerdale, Ainsworth talks about his career so far, which includes The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Sandman as well as his starring roles in Son of a Critch and Pinocchio

The Big Issue: Watching you in Son of a Critch and Pinocchio, I’d never have known you were English…

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth: It takes a lot of work. And with Son of a Critch, the Newfoundland accents are so particular. I go back to normal between scenes. On set it’s so relaxed and everyone’s really chilled. It’s nice to just be my normal self. And then when it’s time to roll, step into that character.

The show is based on the childhood of Canadian comedian and writer Mark Critch, and you play his younger self. Are you quite similar to the character?

Well, he’s kind of similar in a few aspects. But he’s 11 going on 60 so he’s much older than his own years. His cultural references come from the ’60s and the ’50s. He’s out of touch with the modern world.

You must be quite mature for your age as well so do you sometimes feel like an old soul?

Maybe a little bit sometimes. I really love my times with my grandpa and I love talking to people a bit older than myself.

Son of a Critch is set in 1986. Does that seem like a very long time ago to you?

I guess so. I saw like a vinyl record player and it was the size of a coffin in the living room set. I was like, ‘What is that?!’

Do you think the 1980s would have been a better time to grow up?

I think there are pros and cons. You could always go out and hang out with friends so maybe that kind of thing would be fun. But it’s much more safe nowadays I think. I’m happy growing up my era.

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth in Son of a Critch. Photo: Courtesy of Paramount+
Benjamin Evan Ainsworth in Son of a Critch. Photo: Courtesy of Paramount+

You’re from England, work in Canada, are in LA today. Do you ever go to school?

Yeah, I go to a normal school back home when I’m not acting. And when you’re on set, you have a tutor and my school sends stuff for me to do.

A lot of Son of a Critch takes place at school, so is it good to work around other kids?

It’s fun to have people my age on set. I can relate to them a bit more. It’s like school without the work basically.

Your character shares his bedroom with his grandfather, Pop, played by Malcolm McDowell. What’s it like sharing a bedroom with him?

Oh, what a legend. All those scenes in the bedroom. I can’t wait for people to see them. They’re so heart-warming and fun. And as a person Malcolm is so funny, and he’s a Liverpool fan too. We go down to the Irish pub of Newfoundland and watch the games.

Have you seen any of the films that made him famous?

No, because most of those are 18s. So not yet but we’re getting there. Another couple of years.

You’ve been in dramatic series before like The Haunting of Bly Manor. Is being in a comedy a different way of acting?

it still has that grounded element to it. And it’s still serious and it still means something to the characters, but it’s lighter. Within the scenes, you have a lot of fun.

Pinocchio
Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in Disney’s live-action PINOCCHIO, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pinocchio wants to be a real boy. What do you really want in your life?

Well, I support Liverpool FC so I really want them to do well this season. I want to them to win the Champions League, the Premier League, and the FA Cup. I want them to win the treble. Come on! Or maybe the ability to learn lines – like, you just read through your script and then you’ve learned them­ – that ‘s also a good one.

Son of a Critch is released as a box set on Paramount+ on 7 September 2022. Find out more by visiting https://paramountplus.com/gb

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Line of Duty's Martin Compston: 'I've been dreaming of going to the Euros since I was 14'
Gordon Smart and Martin Compston
Euro 2024

Line of Duty's Martin Compston: 'I've been dreaming of going to the Euros since I was 14'

Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'
Tom Burke.
Letter to my younger self

Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
TV

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants
Anjana Vasan
TV

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know