Sean Bean: The Interview - Page 2
Inside, you can tell it's only a temporary
home. Other than the handwritten sign on the door - Koster
- there's very little to identify the trailer as belonging to
Sean. There's a fur-trimmed, hooded parka hanging on a hook,
and on a chair there's a very battered and worn brown leather
carry-all. Discarded across it are a nondescript t-shirt and
a pair of track pants with a stripe down the side of each leg.
On the counter, in a very clean and not-much-used kitchen area,
there's a bulk container of chocolates, a package of cookies
and a photocopied menu for that day's lunch on the set. Scattered
around a table are pens and pencils and bits and pieces of paper,
notes, scribbled things. To this, Sean adds two bottles of Newcastle
A cup of tea for me is delivered by an obliging
member of the production crew, and we sit down to chat.
Very quickly, I discover there are certain
subjects which make Sean's face and eyes light up, which convey
a passion and an enduring love. They include his children (older
daughters Lorna and Molly, whose mother is actress Melanie Hill;
and Evie, his two and a half year old, whose mother is actress
Abigail Cruttenden. "She has long fair hair," Sean
says, tenderly, of Evie. "She's talking a lot now....").
The other enduring loves of Sean's life are Richard Sharpe, the
character he played in fourteen two-hour television movies in
the mid-1990s; Lord of the Rings, the project he recently
completed filming in New Zealand; gardening;...and Kes,
the 1969 film directed by Ken Loach, which tells the story of
a 15-year old boy from the north of England, who has limited
options in life and a bleak future, who discovers his sense of
self and finds a certain power in his relationship with a kestrel
he has rescued, nurtured and trained.
Above and Below: Production
stills from Kes
"I've watched that one about 30 times,"
Sean reveals. "Some of the things in that remind me of being
a kid at school."
Was he ever bullied as a child? I wonder.
"No," he says, dismissing the
idea, but not without some thought. "There's always bigger
kids than you.... But it was just a big comprehensive school...and
it just all reminded me of a bleak Monday afternoon, with rain
pelting down on the football pitch outside...and playing football
and freezing...and just the whole thing about it."
"It had a big effect on me. My kids watch
it and they love it. It's also a really brilliantly written book
by Barry Hines. Fantastic acting...directing...."
"I used to have a kestrel. I had a license
for it. I think when people saw Kes, a lot of kids did
want to get a kestrel...I've still got a couple of friends who
are really still into that, who've been doing it for 30 years...goshawks
and lanner falcons, kestrels and sparrowhawks... it wasn't a
sort of fad with me, it wasn't a passing craze. I was fascinated
by wildlife when I was younger...and natural history...and it's
something I still am interested in."
Sean's interest in wildlife and working outdoors
has endured, and occupies a good deal of his time when he's between
films. He's passionate about the garden attached to his home
in Hampstead, North London.
"I put quite a few trees in last autumn.
A lot of silver birch and a couple of native trees - just generally
doing gardening, putting plants in and hedges in. It takes quite
a lot of time and I love it. Though I'm not very good with indoor
plants...they always seem to die. I'm getting a bit better -
I think you've got to feed them and each plant requires a different
sort of attention. I've loved gardening since I was a kid. We
had a next door neighbour, a fellow called Ron Howard, who was
a lovely old guy who used to live next to us for years. He taught
me a lot about natural history and ornithology and plants...I
still have some of his plants that I'm growing in my garden.
He died about ten years ago. He was a great fellow. I've always
had an interest in those things.... I make bird boxes in the
garage and put them up in the trees."
What else does he do when he's not busy
"I'm usually catching up on things
I should have been doing while I was filming...a pile of mail...and
bills. I like reading. I like watching a lot of sports on tv...football,
boxing... I like cricket a lot. I try to get down to Lords to
watch Yorkshire if they're playing down there."
And of course, there's Sheffield United.
Sean's zealous support for his team is well-documented and undiminished.
"I'm still going to matches. I've
got a good friend who lives in London - he's a Blade as well
- so we go up together and try to catch a few matches when we
can. They're doing pretty well at the moment." When he's
away from England, as he is now, he stays in touch by having
faxes sent to him with the match results, and he stays on top
of news and sports from home by reading the British newspapers
that are available in local shops. "We're playing Nottingham
Forest tomorrow," Sean adds, enthusiastically. "They'll
ring me up with that."
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