Sean Bean: The Interview - Page 3

I ask about acting. Is he one of those actors who carries the character around with him 24 hours a day while he's filming?


Sean, with co-star Alex Kingston, in Essex Boys

"No...I sort of leave the character at the end of the day. I don't carry anything around with me - no excess baggage or unnecessary thoughts. I think it's too exhausting to do that. To put things into perspective - your work is your work, and your leisure time is something else. You don't actually constantly think about your character 24 hours a day. It's probably detrimental - it would have been in my case, with the character of Jason Locke in Essex Boys. I think everybody's got different methods of working which suit the particular individual. Mine is to sort of play the part, and give 100%, to concentrate and focus on it while I'm actually working, but then leave it behind until the next day."

I'm intrigued by the actual process of acting. How, I wonder, does he do it?

"If you have a very good concept of your character, you can snap into it," Sean replies, driving the knuckles of one hand into the palm of the other. "Like that. In a few moments. The most difficult part is when you first start off, and you start shooting a scene in the middle of the film, so you've not really got an anchor to begin with. It's a bit like painting on a white sheet of paper...knowing where to start. But once you've got something down, then you've got a sort of rope to hang onto, and you can go in different directions and experiment. Quite early on you develop and establish a character, and I find it quite easy to go into it and come out of it as I wish."

How does he come down from a very intense moment, such as the scene in the garden in Essex Boys, when Jason Locke has to be physically abusive to his wife, played by Alex Kingston?

"That scene was shot in the small hours of the morning...around two o'clock in the morning...and we did it in somebody's garden - a nice couple who lent us their house to film in. With something like that, your adrenalin starts pumping, and it's like running a race or a fight or takes a while for your adrenalin level to come back to normal...but we had a few brandies afterwards." He smiles. "That helped."

I remark that I thought Jason Locke was so stupid that at times he was funny.

"He was a man bloated by his own sense of self-worth," Sean says. "It was very interesting to play that role, though. I think everybody's got that kind of rage in them."

I know Sean has said, in the past, that he sometimes bases his characters' behaviour on people that he knows. Does he know anyone like Jason Locke?

"I do know people who are similar, who can sort of lose it very quickly and become very violent. Jason Locke is a combination of characters,'s not about one specific person."


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