Sean Bean: My Sheffield Mates Think I'm a Big Ponce


Sean Bean: My Sheffield mates think I'm a big ponce
By Tim Oglethorpe
Sunday Mirror

Sean Bean and wife Georgina (Pic:SM)
The Hollywood actor and Sharpe star, 49, on the perils of being a northern actor,
still having it when it comes to those meaty acting roles, and being more than a
little green-fingered…
How has it been filming the latest Sharpe in India?
Sean Bean: Great, actually, a really good experience. It’s extremely hot in
India – temperatures were often above 100°F/37°C – but Sharpe’s Peril is a
terrific story where we see more of Sharpe’s sensitive side than we have before.
He thinks a lot about his late wife and daughter, whom he hasn’t seen for years.
What do you think about when you are away from England?
SB: Well, obviously my family – my wife Georgina and my kids, Laura, 21, Molly,
17, and Evie, nine. I also wonder how the vegetables in my garden are growing.
We’ve now got an image of you pottering around your vegetable patch at
Bean Towers…
SB: Absolutely, I love it. I’ve taken a lot of pleasure from producing my own
tomatoes, potatoes, runner beans, onions and garlic over the last couple of years.
They always taste better when you’ve grown them yourself. I just wish the garden
was bigger – a country garden rather than a London one.
Being a northern lad, how do you find living in London?
SB: There are mates of mine in Sheffield who think I’m a big ponce, but that’s
because of the acting I do, not because I live in London. And I love the city,
actually. What’s that saying about being tired of life if you’re tired of London?
I think that’s about right. It’s a vibrant city.
So you’d never move to Los Angeles, despite having a movie career in the States?
SB: No, absolutely not. When I go to America I stay in hotels. Having a home over
there would just be something else to worry about. Besides, I couldn’t nip down to
Soho and do a voiceover, if I was living in LA, could I? That’s easy to do from where
I live in north London.
Congratulations on your nuptials earlier this year. Although according to some
press reports, there have been bust-ups between the two of you (Sean was
arrested in July for the alleged assault of wife, Georgina, but released without
charge). Would you care to comment?
SB: All I can say is things get blown out of proportion, especially when you are
someone in the public eye. We are very happy together.
So maybe a Beanie Baby, or two, before too long?
SB: You never know, it’s certainly a possibility. Although don’t think I’m not
grateful and thankful for what I’ve got already: three wonderful daughters.
How did Georgina find India while you were filming Sharpe?
SB: Hot! She came out for the last week of shooting and she did the tourist bit,
visiting temples and a tiger reserve. And she did see me play in the cast and crew
pool tournament at our hotel in Khajuraho. Unfortunately, I lost. And she didn’t
see any tigers, they kept themselves to themselves.
Are you sporty?
SB: I like to keep myself in shape. I run and do weights when I go to the gym.
When we came to do Sharpe again a couple of years ago after a gap of several
years, it was a bit of a shock to the system and I had to step up my visits to the
gym to take account of that. It’s not a place I would naturally choose to spend
time. Going there is a means to an end.
Will there come a time when you reckon you’ll be too old to play an action
hero like Sharpe?
SB: Maybe, but that time isn’t yet. I’ve really been into my horse riding in this
new adventure, and loving every second of it. It’s a bit like riding a bike – I hadn’t
been on horseback for two years before I came to India, but I just got back
in the saddle and trotted off like I’d never been away.
How did you cope with the intense heat in India?
SB: By drinking lots of liquids and staying in the shade. Also Sharpe wears this
heavy jacket and I was taking that off whenever I completed a scene to give
my body a bit of air. You could literally feel the sun burning your scalp through
your hair if you didn’t get into the shade sharpish. We’ve gone full circle really –
from the sub-zero temperatures of the Crimea when we filmed the first Sharpe,
to the searing heat of India.
What other exciting things have been happening in your life?
SB: Going to a concert at my youngest daughter, Evie’s, school and hearing her
sing really well, that was pretty special. Spending any sort of time with my
daughters, that’s definitely special. And the moment Sheffield United got
back into the Premiership a few seasons back. Unforgettable.
Do you have any phobias?
SB: I inherited a fear of flying from my parents and used to hate it. But funnily
enough, I’m OK about it now. I spent so long on planes getting to and from New
Zealand when I was filming Lord Of The Rings that I just got used to it. I still
wouldn’t be very good in helicopters and I’m not great with turbulence, but
generally I’m OK in the air.
Is it true you contemplated sailing to New Zealand, rather than flying, such
was your fear of flying?
SB: It crossed my mind, but the fact I’d have got there about six months after
they’d all started filming made it a bit of a non-starter. Getting a late mark on
such a big production would have been so embarrassing.
What would you do if you didn’t act?
SB: I’d probably make stuff. I enjoy painting, and I’ve got a mate, Adrian, who
is a blacksmith, and I love going to his place and having a go in his forge. You
turn up and see smoke billowing out of his garage and there’s this fantastic
smell of red-hot metal… It takes me back to my childhood in Sheffield.
Who are your heroes?
SB: My mum and dad for looking after me so well; some of the greats of Sheffield
United; and the real life equivalents of people like Richard Sharpe, who put their
lives on the line and show such fantastic bravery in the course of fighting for
their country. That takes guts.
Are you superstitious?
SB: Not particularly, although Daragh O’Malley, who plays Harper in Sharpe,
and I have got into the habit of exchanging a few words before we shoot a
tricky scene, like where explosives are being used. I’ll say something like,
‘Good luck, Daragh.’ And he’ll say, ‘Likewise – and God bless.’ It makes
us both feel a bit more comfortable, I think. It’s a kind of ritual we’ve got into.
What would your epitaph be?
SB: He was a good father, a decent bloke and a good actor. And he was so
pleased to have lived long enough to see Sheffield United win their fourth
consecutive Premiership title on goal difference from Leeds United.
Do you use public transport?
Do planes count? If they do, then yes, definitely. And I sometimes use the
train to get up to Sheffield to see United play.
Where is Corrie set?
My aunts used to love that show, it was always on when I went round to
their houses, so I definitely know it’s… Weatherfield? (Correct) Thank
goodness I got that right.
How much is a pint of beer?
It varies so much, doesn’t it? Average price around £3? (About right)
• Sharpe’s Peril is on ITV1, tonight and next Sunday, 9pm
Pictures: Gavin Smith/Camera Press.


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