Sean's Thoughts on Jason Locke
Last Update: 08 October 1999
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With a hugely diverse range of starring
roles in feature film and television, Sean Bean is firmly established
as one of the UKs top acting talents. Already an accomplished
stage actor (including playing Romeo in Michael Bogdanovs
production of Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare
Company), Bean leapt into the publics consciousness with
his portrayal of the dashing hero in the hugely successful Sharpes
Rifles which ran for five series on peak time television
worldwide. Other television appearances have included Bravo
Two Zero, Clarissa, Jacob (directed by Sir
Peter Hall for CBS), A Womans Guide to Adultery
and the acclaimed Ken Russell adaptation Lady Chatterley
for the BBC.
On the big screen Sean has played an eclectic
array of parts from aristocratic villain in the Bond epic GoldenEye,
to a struggling factory worker with dreams of playing for his
football team in When Saturday Comes and an Irish terrorist
in Patriot Games. Other film credits include John Frankenheimers
Ronin, Black Beauty, Stormy Monday, Derek Jarmans
Caravaggio and Jim Sheridans The Field.
Sean saw the character of Jason Locke as a
somewhat twisted soul: Jason is a guy that has been locked
away for five years. Thats a lot of time to seethe about
taking the rap for your mates. They have got rich and have done
well while he has been stuck inside. They all have flash houses
in the country, BMWs and all the trappings. Meanwhile hes
come out to a little flat in Essex. He feels bitter about that,
and vengeful. He wants to claim back what he assumes is his rightful
place in the criminal fraternity. The trouble is that he wants
everything that he has been missing out on all at once.
Jason is a volatile time bomb just waiting
to go off. Hes headstrong and very temperamental. He will
fly off the handle without notice, and its this unpredictability
that makes him very dangerous to be around.
Throughout the course of the film, as
well as dealing drugs he takes more and more of them himself,
which makes him more and more obsessed and paranoid about people
trying to rip him off. It really is a mad headlong journey for
him. Hell get to the top of the tree, and will do anything
to stay there. He will sort anybody out who stands in his way.
But as the power goes to his head he, along with the others in
the 'firm', begin to believe they are invincible.
I tried to build up his past. Jason
used to mess around. He likes the girls, and the girls like him.
He probably has a checkered history in that respect. As well
as his mates, his wife is another major source of his anger and
paranoia. There is a bitterness surrounding Lisa, and theres
something bubbling underneath their relationship all the time.
Half the problem is that they cant quite come to terms
with, or even talk about, the anger and resentment between them.
But they know its there and brewing. Eventually it erupts
through an appalling and violent argument in the most public
of places. They have a very explosive relationship together.
They passionately feel for each other - love each other if you
like - but they cant handle whats been done in the
Hes been unfaithful to her more
than once, and that really stings her. The irony is that when
Jason comes out, his one fear is the thought of HER having been
with someone else. It terrifies him. He asks the question of
his friends again and again. Hes been living with the possibility
that she might have been unfaithful for years, this fear that
she might have been with someone else, but theres also
pride involved. He knows that if she had been with someone else
it would belittle him within the social structure.
He wants to try and make the relationship
with Lisa work, but he doesnt know how to go about doing
that. He cant quite bring himself to face up to the things
that hes done in the past. He cant forget his pride
and listen to what she wants. There is a glimmer of humanity
there, but he cant bring himself to face what the problem
is. Here youve got someone who is very insecure, whos
been hurt, but he cant express himself as he would wish.
The anger that has been boiling up for
years comes out in vitriolic, vile obscenities. There is obviously
something very wrong there, but that is how Lisa and Jason exist
- that is their relationship.
Saying that, Jason is a really nasty
piece of work. Why would I contemplate playing such a violent
character? Because what I saw there was a very interesting psyche.
This was a role that I thought I could make something of. Why
not play a character to his full extent?
I want to keep as broad a range in my
work as possible. And also I dont want to miss out on opportunities
like this. It was an excellent script and I wanted to do it.
I had worked with Jeff and Terry before (on Fool's Gold)
and we got on really well together.
Jason is a very influential character
within the firm. At this stage he has to catch up
with his colleagues. And if he can catch up with them, will he
still be looked upon with the same amount of respect? He doesnt
feel that he is getting the respect that he deserves, and that
is why he goes over the top all the time. Everything he does
is over the top, and its a show of power and of strength,
to disguise his frailty and increasing paranoia.
All I try to do is give a realistic
portrayal of the character. In order to get the person right,
you have to put yourself in their position. If you dont
then it just doesnt ring true. It makes it much easier
if you feel right in the character.
I believe scenes of violence should
tell you something about the world we are involved with and that
they arent just shoved in there for no reason. The scene
where I hit her around was done last thing at night, and we did
it in one take. We used two cameras, and it seemed to work really
well. Its the kind of thing where if it works first time
then it is fantastic. Its difficult to go through something
like that again and again.
People ask me if there are roles that
I would have loved to have taken on. Thats difficult. When
I saw Nil By Mouth I thought what a fantastic film,
what a fantastic character. But saying that, I couldnt
imagine anyone else but Ray Winstone playing that character.
When I see an actor doing something spectacular like that then
I think, 'Shit, I could never top that anyway.' If I wrote a
character for myself, I think I would find it very difficult.
To write a perfect character is hard.
For the role of Jason I did do some
research in advance. I watched some documentaries and read various
pieces on recent events, but you can only go on what you have.
I like watching other stuff. I like to see whats around,
and to get ideas from other things. But I generally start with
what I have in front of me.
I would like to stress that Jason is
a totally fictitious character and, if anything, is a mixture
of people and faces, past and present. I didnt want to
pin him down to one particular individual as I felt this would
constrict his impact within the confines of the story.
With Essex Boys Terry and Jeff
are very ably telling a good story. I think that was the main
thing. I know this is an idea they have been playing with for
a while. I worked with them on Fool's Gold, a very low
budget film for television about seven years ago, and that was
great. I had a really good time doing that. With this one they
even organised a cake for my 40th birthday. Theyre a great
team, who allow their work to be led by an idea. I like that.
Its also helpful to have the writers around, I think it
gives actors confidence to experiment and go further with potential
I feel the basic concept of the film
could transfer to most places really. Wherever you go, any city,
there is a stratum of criminality. Around that concept Terry
and Jeff adapted the story to Essex - the Southend sea-front,
the clubs, the organised crime and ultimately the characters
that inhabit this world.
Sean Bean (Jason Locke)
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