Sean Bean Discusses "The Hitcher"



Sean Bean Discusses "The Hitcher"
From Rebecca Murray,
Your Guide to Hollywood Movies.

If you’re one of those people who stops for hitchhikers on the side of
the road, you might want to rethink that behavior after seeing The
Hitcher. This remake of the 1986 film with Rutger Hauer, C Thomas
Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh features Sean Bean in the part of the
serial-killing hitchhiker. Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton co-star as
the young couple he terrorizes and frames for murder.
The Original Rutger Hauer Movie: Bean watched that version when it
first came out about 20 years ago. “I was very impressed by it,” said
Bean. “It’s quite spooky and scary. I thought it was a really good
film. I suppose this is just a re-imagining of it. It’s not a remake of
sorts. I think we’ve added a lot of edge to it and a lot of tension.
The characters are very well drawn. They’re not cardboard cutouts and
cartoon characters. There’s a great depth to them. David [Meyers] is
doing a great job directing. Jim Hawkins and the lighting cameraman
added a very dark, sort of ghostly quality to it. There’s a lot of
thought and precision of detail going into this.”
Bean didn’t go back and watch the film again before starting work on
The Hitcher. He also didn’t try and base his character on Hauer’s
performance. “He had a certain charm, which I thought was quite
fascinating to the character. I didn’t really want to see the original
because I just didn’t want it to color what I did. I wanted to bring my
own views, my own ideas to the part. But I’m glad I did see it when I
saw it, when I was a kid. It certainly made an impression on me. But as
I say, I think we all wanted to approach it in a different way and
bring out ideas to it, fresh ideas.”
Developing the Character’s Backstory: “I think because there wasn’t so
much backstory, there wasn’t a great deal to go on. I think for me it
was just creating some kind of sensation rattling around his head. I’m
not quite sure what that is but a lot of it is the way it was shot and
the way it was explored, in terms of expression, things that weren’t
said really. Just looks and expression. That’s what I found interesting
about playing the part. Not so much what I said, but the way I looked
at these guys, the way I looked at life, the way I looked at people. I
just tried to bring something to that, to try and convey something,
what was going on inside his head.
It’s difficult to explain. I’m notoriously bad at trying to explain
characters I play. I think it’s something that just happens on the day,
usually. You think of something and figure something out, maybe
something in the past, something somebody said to you, somebody did or
someone you knew. I just try and think of things like that when they
say action. It must work.”
Working with Guns: “It’s okay. I’ve done quite a few films now that had
guns and rifles, s**t like that. I feel okay. I don’t have any
particular affinity to it. It’s just I guess the parts I play tend to
carry real weaponry, a bit of hardware. I’ve become quite familiar with
them. Particularly in this film, it doesn’t really matter. This guy
kills by any means. He doesn’t have a particular choice of execution.
He uses knives, guns, ropes, anything he can get his hands on. Anything
that happens to be around. He’s just a killer. I’ve never really done
that. I’ve never really worked on a part like this before. He’s so
unapologetic in terms of the character’s psychology that he has no
remorse, no regrets. There are not any redeeming features to this guy.
I just think he does it because he can, and he believes he’s
liberating. He’s a liberator. He believes that everyone is guilty of
something, maybe these young guys are guilty of something. He just
wants to clear them out.”
Bean continued, “Every question… He’s asked where he’s from, he says,
‘All over.’ He’s like a phantom, a ghost that’s kind of your worst
nightmare. He terrorizes these young kids because they’re so stupid.
They’re going to Lake Havasu to get her tits and drink beer. This guy
just wants to get rid of them. I think he sees something in Grace that
maybe thinks she can identify in some kind of strange way with his
mentality, his psyche. He maybe wants to pass something onto her, the
instinct that he has.
I’ve enjoyed playing the part and I know what I’m thinking when I’m
doing it and I know what I’m doing, but it’s difficult to kind of
explain the psyche. He f**ks about with people’s consciousness, just
plays games. He finds things humorous that a normal person wouldn’t. He
finds humor and comedy in that people might get their head blown off.
It’s sort of a peaceful time for him. It brings him peace, satisfaction.”
Comparing Middle America to Other Shooting Locations: “It’s pretty
lonely. It’s a kind of lonely sort of feeling. It’s got a lot of
things. I can imagine it’s very beautiful in the daytime and the sort
of landscape, but it can also be very desolate. It’s a very lonely kind
of place to be, where you could quite easily lose your mind if you were
here for any length of time.”
Filming at Night: “We did about five weeks of night shoots. That was
good because it is a film about the road, to be on the road in a car,
in cars. Like I said, the loneliness and the desolation, how people
come together in those situations, bizarre situations. They could have
bumped into anybody. He seems quite a nice guy in the beginning, the
crew of the service station, he just wants a lift. His car’s broken
down; he wants to get back to his wife. It’s raining. They reluctantly
give him a ride and he proceeds to terrorize them. But it’s good how
that’s revealed because you don’t see it… I just thought at the
beginning you should see another side to John Ryder, the amiable side,
the friendly guy, because you don’t see it very often after that point.
Once he starts f**king about in the car and breaking mobile phones,
sticking knives in people’s eyes, you’ve got an idea of what this guy’s
all about.”
The Popularity of Horror Films: Asked if there’s something culturally
feeding the popularity of the genre, Sean Bean responded, “I don't
know. I feel there’s a sense of isolation in society today. People
don’t seem to be able to come together as they once did. I think
everyone feels a little lonely in some way. They can’t quite connect.
This guy, obviously something’s gone wrong somewhere. He connects in
very strange ways. But I do think there’s something to be said for
that, the isolation that we feel, I suppose, today in certain ways.
There’s a sort of fear of getting to know anyone, to trust anyone and
to become loners.”
It’s Good to be Bad: Sean Bean said he really enjoys playing the
villain. He was a good guy in Silent Hill and found that to be nice,
but boring. “I’d obviously like to explore different areas and I want
to do something a little bit lighter, but I’m quite happy playing the
parts that I play. Every supposedly bad guy has a different story and a
different intellect and a different approach to how they see life.
That’s what makes it interesting, so I don’t look at it in terms of bad
guys and villains. I just think of people who are psychologically
different and nonconformist.
The joy is that you can do almost anything you want and you’ve got the
freedom to sort of push the boundaries, which is extremely challenging
and exciting. I mean, with actors like Nicolas Cage, you can’t quite
put your finger on what he does but he pushes the boundaries. He’s very
dense, very profound. He’s very interesting to watch. I don’t exactly
know what he does, but what he’s doing works. I always hope that
whatever part I play, that there’s a dark side to every character.
You’re playing a good guy, there’s a dark side, so I always look at it
like that. I think if you try to play a bad guy as mean and vicious and
villainous, then you just look at the dark side and there’s always
going to be blackness. Likewise, if I ever play the good guy, I’m sure
there’s a little edge of darkness to him too. That’s what makes us who
we are.”


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