12 November 2002
By Hugh Muir, Evening Standard
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It's Macbeth - but not as we know it. Sean Bean is not what you would call an obvious choice to play the tormented king, while the selection of Samantha Bond - Miss Moneypenny in the new 007 film Die Another Day - as his scheming wife is innovative casting.
And as these first pictures from the production show, the pair exude a sexual chemistry rare even for a Shakespearean play.
For Bean, 43 - famous as an errant footballer
in When Saturday Comes, Captain Sharpe and Boromir in The Lord
Of The Rings - it is a second stab at Shakespeare. He played Romeo
for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, three years after he
graduated from Rada.
He says Macbeth has received a raw deal in the past. "I don't think he's a particularly evil man," he said. "His deeds are evil and what he does is evil but he's a man of conscience and of great courage and resolve. If there's one thing you have to admire it's his courage and his ability to pull himself up from the depths and carry on."
Bond, meanwhile, said the passion between the two is integral to the plot. "These two people need each other desperately, and feed each other desperately and love each other desperately. They absolutely could not function without each other. "
"The murder would not happen without her - but she wouldn't have gone for it without him. It's a very co-dependent relationship."
The pair have previously worked together in James Bond movie Goldeneye. And reports from the Albery Theatre suggest all is going smoothly before Thursday, when director Edward Hall's production will be unveiled to the critics.
That in itself is a relief because productions of Macbeth are supposed to be cursed. Actors traditionally never call it by name during rehearsal, referring to it instead as "the Scottish play".
Bond is involved in a campaign against Ken
Livingstone's £5 congestion charge because she says it will
put thousands of women theatre staff at risk of being stranded
in the crime-ridden West End late at night.
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