We have an early peek at hunky Ben Barnes (a.k.a. Prince Caspian of "Narnia") as Dorian Gray.

He’s playing the eternally gorgeous title character in "Dorian Gray," a new adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s creepy gothic classic novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."  I think we all know how this will end.

First published in 1890 and considered a timeless work of literature, the novel’s theme still works on so many levels, given our cultural obsession with youth, beauty, sex, wealth and celebrity, and the darkness and problems that accompany the seeking of these things.

Here’s the scoop: A beautiful, naïve young man is introduced to the hedonist pleasures of London by a charismatic mentor (played by Colin Firth). When an artist paints a portrait of Dorian, capturing the power of his youth and beauty, Dorian makes a flippant oath: He swears to give anything – even his immortal soul – to always looks as young and handsome as he does in the picture.

Totally bad idea. Just ask Joan Rivers.

Dorian’s life in the fast lane goes on, but he is haunted by his portrait, now tucked away in the attic, which is changing, growing more ugly and debauched while his own face remains beautiful, unmarred by time, drink, drugs and evil deeds.

I can hardly wait for this one. Barnes is perfect for this role. The only other actor I could have imagined as Dorian Gray would be Robert Pattinson, who’s starring in the upcoming "Twilight." (See our video interview with Pattinson, "Boxers or briefs?" from Comic-Con.)

The film, which just started shooting in London also stars Ben Chaplin, Rebecca Hall ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), Fiona Shaw ("Harry Potter") Rachel Hurd-Wood ("Perfume"), Johnny Harris ("The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Atonement").

Photo: Colin Firth and Ben Barnes in "Dorian Gray"

courtesy of DDA/photographer Giles Keyte

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead