Bad guy roles with good guy rules

Bad guy roles with good guy rules
Source: Brentwood Magazine
July/Aug 2005
Sean Bean is sleepy. Having just arrived in LA from London the day before this
interview, Bean spent most of the day finishing work on one of his two
upcoming films, Flightplan, a thriller with Jodie Foster. After returning to his
room at the Four Seasons Hotel, Bean caught a few hours of sleep and is just
now having breakfast. He’s trying to figure out just what time it really is.
“I left England yesterday and I think it’s about 11 o’clock here in LA,” says
Bean with his thick British accent.“It’s been a busy couple of days.”
Such is life for one of Hollywood’s busiest men. Flightplan is scheduled for
release in the fall, while The Island with Ewan McGregor is slated for July.
Both projects are exciting, according to Bean, but he admits that his part as
Captain Rich, the pilot of a jumbo jet in Flightplan, is more ironic.
“I really hate to fly,” Bean admits. “It scares the hell out of me.”
His fear of flying led to one of his more harrowing real-life adventures. While
shooting The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in New Zealand, Bean
decided to drive from one location to another in order to avoid flying. He
talked co-star Orlando Bloom into accompanying him on what should have
been a peaceful drive through the countryside.Things did not go as planned.
“It had been raining for several weeks and there was a massive mudslide,
which blocked the road we were driving on,” Bean recounts.“So we decided to
go back, but sure enough there was another mudslide so we were sort of
trapped in the middle of nowhere.”
Bean and Bloom spent the next three days in the home of an elderly woman
who was kind enough to take in the stranded movie stars.
“She was a lovely older woman,” Bean says. “She took good care of, fed us,
made sure we were comfortable. She was a true blessing.”
Bean and Bloom realized the roads would not be cleared for several more
days, so they accepted a ride from a medical helicopter transporting a little
girl in need of medical attention. Bean was thankful, but not thrilled.
“It was terrible,” Bean says. “The damn chopper bounced all over the place.
I begged the pilot to land so we could get out, but he said no and we
eventually made it to our location. I’ve never been so scared in my life!”
Bean has no problem sharing his weaknesses as a human being. What people
see on the big screen is, after all, a story being told, and Bean only portrays a
character. But Bean admits his numerous “bad guy” roles have made for an
interesting life.
“People look at me and they may not know exactly where they know me from
but they just have something in the back of their mind that says,‘he’s a bad
man,’” Bean says.“It’s especially difficult trying to get through airport security
here in the States. The security people seem to just think I’m a bad guy.”
This does make sense, though. Bean may be best known as Boromir in The
Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he’s also remembered for trying to kill Harrison
Ford and Anne Archer in Patriot Games, Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy
in Don’t Say a Word, and Pierce Bronson in Golden Eye. Most recently, he
played the villain in National Treasure with Nicholas Cage.With that rap sheet,
it’s no wonder Bean gets harassed by law enforcement officials.
“I guess those things stick with people,” Bean says. “But in Patriot Games, it
was Ford who got the better of me in the film and in reality.” Bean shows off
the scar on his head that came courtesy of Mr. Ford while shooting the last
scene of Patriot Games.
“We were fighting on a motor boat that was being thrown around in a water
tank in the studio,” Bean recounts. “Harrison’s character had to hit my
character with a metal rod and with all of the chaos of the moment he actually
hit me in the face and knocked me over and split my head open.”
Bean received stitches, caked on the makeup and continued shooting. “Not
many people can say they have a scar from Harrison Ford,” he says.
Neither can many people say they have worked with as many superstars as
Bean. In addition to the aforementioned big names, Bean worked with Brad
Pitt in Troy and Liv Tyler and Sean Astin in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Hollywood’s top directors, including Wolfgang Peterson and Brian Grazer, have
also sought after Bean. Not bad for the kid who grew up in the blue-collar
home of his welder father, dreaming of becoming an artist. “The acting was
not something I planned on,” Bean says. “It just sort of fell into my lap.”
Upon graduating from the Royal Academy of the Arts in London, Bean joined
the Royal Shakespeare Company because of his love for the Bard. Still a
relative unknown, Bean exploded onto the scene in 1990’s The Field, starring
opposite Richard Harris.
Soon after came Patriot Games. Bean has been working steadily ever since.
“Art is really my first love. That’s how I wanted to make my living,” Bean
says.“Now art is my way to relax.”
As 2005 winds down, Bean’s career cranks upward. Already planned for next
year is Silent Hill, a horror/thriller with Radha Mitchell and an as-yet-untitled
Niki Caro project loosely based on the first class action sexual harassment
lawsuit in the U.S., the successful Jenson v. Eveleth Mines.
“I’m excited about these next four films,” Bean says. “I think people will be
able to get a better look at my talent. I’m not going to be just playing a bad
That should help him get through airport security.

— Scott Schulte


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