Troy - Press Archive - Sean of the Med

Source: Film Review
June 2004

by Anwar Brett
After becoming a household name with the TV series Sharpe, it looked like
the world was Sean Bean's oyster... but it took time for the actor to hit the
really big time with turns in The Lord of the Rings and his new film where
he plays Odysseus in Troy. Anwar Brett discovers an actor with the patience
of a saint - not least with his favourite football team!
Click on the thumbnails.
Where some of his colleagues on Troy will have been fretting about the size
of their trailers, or bitching about the size of their roles, Sean Bean had other
things on his mind. During the time the production shot on location in
Mexico Bean regularly took advantage of a loose network of friends who
relayed the football scores from home, keeping the dedicated Sheffield
United fan in touch with his beloved team.
"There'd always be someone on a mobile tracking down the results," he
chuckles. "A stunt arranger friend of mine, Eunice, kept getting texts
through telling me about 'the Blades'. That was great. I'd be listening
to her, spear in hand and then go into battle."
If the idea seems a little incongruous Bean at least can see the funny side of
it. And well he might, with his team challenging for a play-off spot in the
Nationwide Division One, (something he describes as "a gruelling, nerve
wracking experience") and his improving career meaning he's well set for
bigger, more challenging roles to come. The 45-year-old Yorkshireman
has successfully made the precarious leap from TV to cinema, building
upon the popularity of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe character to play a
variety of big screen roles.
Now cast as Odysseus in Troy, Bean clearly enjoys being part of such a
massive production, working alongside the likes of Brad Pitt's Achilles and
recreating ancient history with gusto. Certainly he had no fears about
tackling another character in an ambitious epic after playing the conflicted
Boromir in the first Lord of the Rings film.
"These roles don't come along very often," he says, "so it's
always great to get something that sets its own place in
film history. Boromir was a wonderful opportunity for me,
and it's the same with Odysseus. They're not characters
that get lost or forgotten about."
It's a far cry from the limbo that Bean found his career in
when the last Sharpe adventure was filmed, a natural
climax at the Battle of Waterloo for the character and
the beginning of an uncomfortable hiatus for the actor.
"I felt I'd gone as far as I could go with Sharpe, but then
I didn't do anything for about a year and a half. I was
getting stuff but it was rather mediocre. I preferred not
to do anything, to bide my time and see how things went.
The next thing I did was a film called Essex Boys, which
I really enjoyed. That was a good break for me, and
then I started doing films in America playing secondary
roles which was fine - and still is - because they're
often very interesting. But it took a while to build up a
standing in film, it was a gradual process. Then Boromir
came along and things got back on track. I feel quite
happy with the way things panned out now, but it was a
hard transition."
While solace might have come from the team he so loyally
supports, it's more likely the ups and downs of Sheffield
United's form make his own career lulls pale by comparison.
But the nice thing about Sean Bean is that he can still get
a little misty-eyed at the thought of the team that he has
followed from childhood, the inspiration for his '100% Blade'
tattoo that has caused some confusion amongst his
American fans.
"They often think I'm part of some street gang, like the
Bloods or the Cripps,"he chuckles. "I have to explain that
it harks back to cutlery!"
There is the sense about him that while he has come a
long way he has not really changed so much from the man
he always was. Like any football supporter he carries with
him a healthy sense of fatalism that is useful in a job
noted for its extreme highs and lows. Most of all he
still gets a kick out of it, being a key part of the Greek invasion of
Troy in a rousing Boys' Own adventure alongside a cast of thousands.
"It was very impressive being there and very exciting to be a part of it,"
he nods. "We had some terrific guys working on the film, actors like
Peter O'Toole. Meeting people like that is lovely, it reminds you what a
great way this is to make a living."


Return to Troy Press Archive

Return to Troy Main Page

Return to The Compleat Sean Bean