Accidentally walking in on your parents while they’re getting intimate is a nightmare every child has at least once.
Seeing the look on the face of Tsawassen’s Ben Harrison, you’d think those eyes had seen that horror.
It’s the gimmick behind a wildly popular viral video on YouTube, featuring Ben as a kid who walks into his parent’s bedroom without knocking.
As he leaves the room, the truth dawning on his young face, a country-ish song twangs in the background, “parents in bed, but it’s just 8 o’clock. That’s why they taught you, you should always knock.”
The Ragu commercial cuts to Ben sitting at the table eating pasta, nodding taste approval to his mother with just a hint of a thousand-yard stare of trauma.
The YouTube video has been seen by more than 1.5 million people since it was posted by Ragu on Aug. 3, and his father, Nick Harrison, says it was aired on American television during the Olympics.
Although dad is a stuntman, actor, and theatre instructor, he says Ben was never pushed into acting, developing an interest on his own.
“I wanted to be an actor ever since I was five or six,” Ben says, although he waited until this spring to take acting lessons from Renee Iacci in the Tsawwassen Art Centre.
The Harrisons moved to Tsawwassen in 2002 while Nick was shooting the film Air Bud Strikes Back. He remembers two-year-old Ben coming to the set with him when he was filming Scooby Doo.
When the young actor auditioned for the Ragu commercial he quickly caught the eye of casting director Sean Milligan. Ben said the whole scene took about three hours to shoot and 15 takes to get the facial expressions just right.
“The director told me to make this face, and then he demonstrated,” he said, mimicking his now-famous look of shock and awe that has had celebrities like Britney Spears and Zac Effron retweeting the video link to their fans.
“What scares me is how comfortable he is with all of this,” says Nick.
His mother, Rebecca, is also involved in the film business as a screenwriter.
“I was on set when he did that commercial and I was really impressed with how relaxed he was,” she said.
Ben’s favourite actors are funnymen Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell. He even used to spike his hair up like Ace Ventura when he was younger.
And although he writes screenplays for fun, acting and movies aren’t his only focus. Ben will soon go for his black belt at United Mixed Martial Arts in Tsawwassen, where he’s been training in kickboxing, grappling and submission fighting since he was very young.
The South Park elementary French Immersion student has been recognized when he goes out, stopped by people who ask for autographs and pictures.
“But I’m asked to do ‘the face,'” he says, with a look that seems to say he doesn’t want to get typecast.
His father doesn’t think it’ll take long to get other acting opportunities, which will get people remembering him for other roles. For now, however, Ben’s enjoying the fact it’s his face that’s being remembered.