Sean Bean Biography
Shaun Mark "Sean" Bean (born 17 April 1959) is an English film and stage actor. Bean is best known for starring roles in the films Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, GoldenEye, Patriot Games, Troy, National Treasure and Silent Hill, as well as the television series Sharpe. Bean has also acted in a number of television productions as well as performing voice work for computer games and television adverts.
Early life and family:
Bean was born Shaun Mark Bean in the Handsworth district of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, the son of Rita and Brian Bean. Bean's father owned a fabrication shop, which he had set up with a colleague. The business employed 50 people, including Bean's mother, who worked as a secretary. He has a younger sister named Lorraine. Despite becoming relatively wealthy (his father owned a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow), the family never moved away from the council estate, because they preferred to remain close to friends and family. As a child, Bean smashed a glass door due to an argument over scissors. It left a piece of glass embedded in his leg that briefly impeded his walking and left a large scar. This accident prevented him from pursuing his dream of playing football professionally. In 1975, Bean left Brook Comprehensive School with two O Levels in Art and English. After a job at a supermarket and another for the council, Bean started working for his father's firm with a day release at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology to take a welding course. While at Rotherham he stumbled into an arts class and decided to pursue his interest in art. After attending courses at two other colleges, one for half a day and the other for less than a week, he returned to Rotherham College, where he came across a drama course for which he subsequently enrolled. After some college plays and one at Rotherham Civic Theatre, he applied for and received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), starting a seven term course in January 1981.
Career - Early career:
He graduated from RADA in 1983 having won the Silver Medal for his performance in Waiting for Godot. He made his professional acting début in 1983 at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, Berkshire as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. His early work involved a mixture of stage and screen work. As an actor, he adopted the Irish spelling "Sean" of his first name. His first national exposure came in an advert for non-alcoholic lager. Between 1984 and 1988 he toured the country with the Royal Shakespeare Company doing productions of Romeo and Juliet, Fair Maid of the West, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He appeared in his first film in 1986 when he played Ranuccio Thomasoni in Derek Jarman's film Caravaggio. He then reunited with the director on War Requiem in 1988, which also starred Sir Laurence Olivier.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he became an established actor on British television. He had notable performances in the BBC productions Clarissa and Lady Chatterley. His role in the latter became infamous for his sex scenes with Joely Richardson. In 1990, Bean co-starred with Richard Harris in Jim Sheridan's adaption of the John B. Keane play, The Field; also in 1990, his role as the journalist Anton in Windprints examined the difficult problems of apartheid in South Africa.
In 1996 he appeared in what became a famous Sky Sports commercial for the Premier League and, that year, he combined his love of football with his career, to finally achieve his childhood dream of playing for Sheffield United, albeit as Jimmy Muir in the film When Saturday Comes. Although the film was not critically acclaimed, Sean Bean received credit for a good performance.
Sharpe - Main article - Sharpe:
His critical successes in Caravaggio and Lady Chatterley contributed to his emerging image as a sex symbol, but he became most closely associated with the character of Richard Sharpe, the maverick Napoleonic Wars rifleman. Bean was not the first actor to be chosen to play Sharpe, but Paul McGann, the first choice, was injured while playing football two days into filming. Initially, producers tried to work around McGann's injury, but it proved impossible and Bean received the call. The 16-episode Sharpe television series was based loosely on Bernard Cornwell's novels about the Peninsular War, and the fictional experiences of a band of soldiers in the famed 95th Rifles. Starting with Sharpe's Rifles, the series followed the fortunes and misfortunes of Richard Sharpe as he rose from the ranks as a Sergeant to Lieutenant Colonel by the time of the Battle of Waterloo. It ran from 1993 to 1997, with three episodes produced each year. The series was filmed under challenging conditions, first in the Ukraine, and later in Portugal. After several years of rumours, more episodes were produced, called Sharpe's Challenge, which aired in April 2006, and Sharpe's Peril which aired on ITV in the autumn of 2008 and was later released on DVD.
With a mini-series role as enigmatic Lord Richard Fenton in the TV miniseries Scarlett, loosely based on the sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, Bean made the transition to Hollywood feature films. His first notable Hollywood appearance was that of an Irish republican terrorist in the 1992 film adaptation of Patriot Games; in a fight scene, Harrison Ford clocked him with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar. Bean's rough-cut looks made him an patent choice for a villain, and this role in Patriot Games was the first of several villains that he would portray, all of whom come to a sticky end. He became Alec Trevelyan (MI6's 006) and James Bond's nemesis in the 1995 film GoldenEye; the weak-stomached Spence (with Robert de Niro) in Ronin (1998); a wife-beating ex-con in Essex Boys (2000); the malevolent kidnapper-jewel thief in Don't Say a Word (2001). He was also widely recognized as villainous treasure hunter Ian Howe in the popular National Treasure opposite Nicolas Cage. He also played a villainous scientist in The Island (2005), a dedicated father in Silent Hill. In the independent film, Far North, he played a Russian mercenary, lost in the tundra and rescued by an Inuit woman and her daughter; he ends up pitting his two female rescuers against one another. "I think I’m quite good at differentiating between the psychopaths,” he commented to an interviewer.
The Lord of the Rings:
Main article: The Lord of the Rings film trilogy:
In arguably Bean's most widely-seen role, as Boromir in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, his major screen-time occurs in the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring. He appeared briefly in flashbacks in the theater releases of The Two Towers and The Return of the King; he also appears in a scene from the extended edition of The Two Towers. Before casting finished, rumors circulated that Jackson had considered Bean for the role of Aragorn, but neither Bean nor Jackson confirmed this in subsequent interviews. Bean's well-known fear of flying caused him difficulties in mountainous New Zealand, where the trilogy was filmed. After a particularly rough ride, he vowed not to fly to a location again. In one instance, he chose to take a ski lift into the mountains and then hike the final few miles, in full costume complete with shield, armour and sword.
Bean has a tattoo of the English word "nine" written in Tengwar on his shoulder, a reference to his involvement in the Lord of the Rings and the fact that his character was one of the original nine companions of the Fellowship of the Ring. The other actors of "The Fellowship"—Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, and Viggo Mortensen—acquired the same tattoo. John Rhys-Davies, whose character was Gimli, also one of the original nine companions, arranged for his stunt double to get the tattoo.
Later roles gave more scope for his acting abilities. In 1999's Extremely Dangerous, his character walked a fine line between villain and hero, reminiscent of the 1960s American TV series, The Fugitive. He became a repentant, poetry-reading Grammaton cleric who succumbs to his emotions in 2002's Equilibrium; a quirky alien cowboy in 2003's The Big Empty, and a sympathetic and cunning Odysseus in the 2004 film Troy.
He cameoed with other Hollywood stars in Moby's music video We Are All Made of Stars in February 2002. In the same year, he returned to the stage in London performing in Macbeth alongside Samantha Bond. Due to popular demand, the production ran until March 2003.
Bean's high profile and recognisable voice have created opportunities for voice-over work, especially in the British advertising industry. He has featured in television adverts for O2, Morrisons and Barnardos as well as for Acuvue and the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States. He also does the voice over for the National Blood Service's television and radio campaign. For the role-play video game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, he voiced Martin Septim.
Bean has completed a one hour pilot, Faceless, for US television. He has also appeared in Outlaw, an independent British production, and a remake of 1986 horror film, The Hitcher (released in January 2007); here he used an American accent again. He also starred in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, playing the role of Zeus, the king of Mount Olympus and God of lightning, in February 2010. Also that year, Bean starred in CASH (CA$H), playing the lead role of Pyke Kubic, a dangerous man determined to recover his wealth in a bad economy. CASH (CA$H), which co-starred Chris Hemsworth, explored the role money plays in today's hard economic times. Bean will also play the villain's twin brother, Reese. The film was directed and written by Stephen Milburn Anderson (South Central). Bean will star in the first season of Game of Thrones, HBO's upcoming adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin. He will play the part of Lord Eddard Stark. Bean will star in Soldiers of Fortune, alongside Ving Rhames and Christian Slater.
Bean has just completed filming Cleanskin, in which he plays a secret service agent faced with the task of pursuing and eliminating a suicide bomber and his terrorist cell. The film stars Charlotte Rampling, James Fox, Abhin Galeya, Tuppence Middleton and Michelle Ryan. The film was written, produced and directed by Hadi Hajaig. Despite Bean's obvious commercial success, he has demonstrated a willingness to participate in less high profile but, none the less, worthy projects such as the highly acclaimed independent film Far North.
Two films in production would reportedly star Bean. Come Like Shadows is an adaptation of Macbeth. He had starred in a production of Macbeth on the London stage with Samantha Bond as Lady Macbeth with much critical success. As of 2008[update], this film as well as A Woman of No Importance are listed as being in pre-production according to the Internet Movie Data Base. The actor also has said that he would like to appear in Coronation Street (joking that he could be the milkman). Bean has also stated that he would like to do some wildlife presenting sometime in the future. In February 2010, Bean was cast in the planned production of Death Race: Frankenstein Lives.
Often described as down to earth, Sean Bean has retained his Sheffield accent, despite now living in London. Partly due to his role as Sharpe, he is also described as a sex symbol. He was voted the UK's second sexiest man in 2004; his Trilogy co-star Orlando Bloom received the highest votes. He admits he does not mind being considered as a "bit of rough" by women. Related to this, in addition, he has been accused of being a chauvinist; this originated after his second wife (of four) claimed he watched too much football, spent too much time in the pub, and left clothes about the house. Contributing to his chauvinist image, Bean's first love was football and he has been a passionate Sheffield United supporter from a young age; he has a tattoo on his left shoulder that reads 100% Blade. He was until December 2007 one of the directors of the club, but decided to "go back to the terraces, where (he) truly belong(s)". He had some problems with Neil Warnock, former manager of Sheffield United, after Warnock claimed that Bean stormed into his office and shouted at him in front of his wife and daughter after the 2006–07 season. Bean denies it, calling Warnock "bitter" and "hypocritical". He also wrote the foreword and helped to promote a book of anecdotes called Sheffield United: The Biography. He also follows Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
In addition to his image as a sex symbol and an admitted "bit of rough", Bean has developed a reputation as a loner, a label he considers unfair. He describes himself instead as quiet, and interviewers confirm that he is a "man of few words"; a recent interviewer even called him surprisingly shy. Although he admits he can be a workaholic, in his spare time he relaxes with a book or listens to music, and he is himself a talented pianist. He is also a keen gardener, and does both welding and sketching.
Despite being professionally trained, Sean Bean adopts an instinctive style of acting. He has said in interviews that the most difficult part is at the start of filming when trying to understand the character. After achieving this he can snap in and out of character instantly. This ability to go from the quiet man on set to the warrior Boromir "amazed" Sean Astin during filming of The Fellowship of the Ring. Other fans include the directors Mike Figgis (Stormy Monday) and Wolfgang Petersen (Troy), who described working with Bean as a "beautiful thing".
Bean has been married and divorced four times. He married his high-school sweetheart Debra James on April 11, 1981, but he was already in London attending RADA and the marriage ended in divorce in 1990. He met actress Melanie Hill at RADA, and they married on February 27, 1990. The couple's first daughter, Lorna, was born in October 1987; their second, Molly, was born in September 1991. Bean and Hill's marriage ended in divorce in August 1997.
During the filming of Sharpe, Bean met actress Abigail Cruttenden, and they married on November 22, 1997. Their daughter, Evie Natasha, was born in November 1998. Bean and Cruttenden divorced in July 2000. Bean began dating actress Georgina Sutcliffe in 2006. After canceling a planned January 2008 wedding on the eve of the ceremony due to "personal reasons", Bean married Sutcliffe at the Marylebone Register Office in London on February 19, 2008. Amid allegations that Bean physically abused Sutcliffe in 2009, domestic disturbances resulted in the police being called to their home in Belsize Park on three occasions. Bean and Sutcliffe's separation was announced on August 6, 2010, and the divorce was finalized on December 21, 2010.