Sean Bean is born in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire county, England. His father is Brian Bean, a fabrication shop owner, and his mother is Rita, nee Tuckwood, who works as a secretary at his father’s workshop. Growing up on a council estate, he is a fan of art and glam rock but also enjoys football.
A common misperception of me is…that I am a tough, rough northerner, which I suppose I am really. But I’m pretty mild-mannered most of the time.
On advice learned from his mother:
Listen to people and treat people as you find them. There’s an inherent goodness in most people. Don’t pre-judge people – that was me Mam’s advice anyway.
Bean plays street fighter Ranuccio, his first named role, in the fictional re-telling of the life of Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, directed by Derek Jarman. The character vies with his girlfriend Lena, played by Tilda Swinton, for the painter’s romantic attentions and is eventually killed by having his throat slit after he reveals that he in turn murdered Lena through jealousy.
Bean plays Provisional IRA militant Sean Miller, who is captured after Harrison Ford’s Jack Ryan disrupts an attack against the British government. The character escapes custody and heads to the U.S. to seek revenge on Ryan for killing his younger brother. The film grosses $178.1 million worldwide. On the finale fight:
Filming that scene was difficult because it was very dark and slippery on the set. We shot it on a boat in a studio with all these loud thunder-and-lightning effects and rain coming down on us. It was a long fight and it took quite a few days to get it right. It was pretty rough because Harrison’s quite handy, he gets stuck in! It was rocky, but we pulled it off.
Bean has to get eight stitches where a boat hook hits him in the final fight scene. A scar from the incident remains visible under Bean’s left eyebrow.
In this war drama series directed by Tom Clegg Bean plays Sharpe a British Sergeant who saves the life of Arthur in A peninsular war in the age of Napoleon. He is promoted to lieutenant and in charge of a company of Rifles that don’t respect him to carry out a vital and dangerous mission. Co-starring Brian Cox, David Troughton, Assumpta Serna and John Tams. About his character:
It happened in Sharpe’s time, a couple of hundred years ago, when kids were sent off to foreign lands and told to fight, and it happens for real now, too. It’s heartbreaking to re-enact all that, and I couldn’t wait to walk away because I could feel my emotions getting the better of me.
Bean stars as Alec Trevelyan, also known as Agent 006, opposite Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in the 17th installment of the franchise. Seemingly a friend of 007, he holds MI6 responsible for for the deaths of his parents at the hands of Stalin after World War II and secretly plots revenge, faking his own death and transforming into the crime lord Janus. The film grosses $350.7 million worldwide. On playing the villain:
It’s more fun to play the bad guy […] A bad guy has to have unpredictability. You have to be able to make the audience sympathize with your character without being cheesy. I like playing intelligent bad guys. They have to have an agenda. Plus, I do think there’s something sexy about them. They’re driven, passionate,edgy. It’s quite seductive for a character to achieve all that.
In this sporting drama directed by Maria Giese, Bean plays Muir. He works in a brewery and lives with his parents and brother. He loves to play soccer but he is arrogant and disrespectful and he has never made much of his talent. Co-starring Emily Lloyd, Ann Bell and John Mc Enery.
Football is a man’s game, Though women are getting more interested in it now, and they enjoy the matches just as much as we do, but it’s a man’s game for all that. I hope it stays that way—otherwise it will get like American football, where they bring their families and have hamburgers and everything, and that would spoil it for me
In this spy thriller directed by John Frankenheimer, Bean plays Spence, one of a team of former intelligence agents who embark on their final covert mission to recover a mysterious briefcase for an unknown employer. Co-starring Jean Reno, Robert De Niro, Skipp Suduth and Natascha McElhone.
They were part of a political organization or government organization that is no longer required and therefore their services are not required any more. So what do they do next? The character that I play is partly like that. He did have a purpose, he belonged somewhere, (and now) he doesn’t belong anymore
In this four-part TV series directed by Sallie Aprahamian, Bean plays an ex-national criminal intelligence service undercover agent convicted of the brutal murder of his wife and child. He goes on the run to try and clear his name. Co-starring Ralph Brown, Juliet Aubrey, Ron Donachie. About nature of the series:
It’s a four-part crime thriller about a guy who’s been falsely accused of murdering his wife and kid. He gets banged up for it, so he jumps off a train when he’s being transferred to jail, and tries to prove his innocence while he’s on the run.
Terry Winsor directs Bean in this crime drama. Bean plays Locke, a gangster freshly released from prison who is encouraged by his wife to get involved in a vicious battle for control of the lucrative Essex drugs market. However, his plans are wrecked when he is sold a batch of dodgy merchandise by one of his rivals, and it is left to the wife to realize her ambitions herself. Co-starring Alex Kingston, Tom Wilkinson, Larry Lamb and Holly Davidson.
I want to keep as broad a range in my work as possible. And also I don’t want to miss out on opportunities like this. It was an excellent script and I wanted to do it. I had worked with Jeff and Terry before (on Fools Gold) and we got on really well together.
Bean plays the warrior Boromir, scion of the house of Gondor and a major character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe, in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the first installment in the book series. Portrayed as a conflicted hero, he initially aims to obtain the Ring from the hobbit Frodo Baggins in order to use the powerful artefact for purposes that are revealed to viewers as noble but ultimately misguided. He later finds redemption, saving Frodo and his friends and allowing them to continue their mission to destroy the ring. On the character’s inner conflict:
He’s a fallen hero, a very gentle man under that exterior. He’s lived in an environment always ravaged by war and had to be realistic. He wants to use the ring against the enemy instead of destroying it. He doesn’t understand the complexities this piece of metal can have on human beings
Bean develops fear of flying while filming the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand and on at least one shoot travels to the set by ski-lift rather than helicopter, hiking the last few miles in full costume. Another incident while filming:
I wasn’t very keen on flying, so me and [fellow actor] Orlando Bloom were driving from Wellington to Queensland. And there was a massive storm with mudslides so we got stuck and had to sort of shack up in this log cabin for a couple of days. It was quite pleasant actually, but the ironic thing is that the only way they could get us out was by helicopter. So after doing all that, I ended up in one. It was just terrible because it was swaying and just hearing the rotor blades go around makes me think, ‘Oh shit.’ Orlando was sitting next to me, and he was fine, but I was gripping his kneecap.
In this crime-thriller directed by Gary Fleder, Bean plays Koster, a criminal who snatches the daughter of a doctor to force him to break through to a post traumatic stress disorder suffering young woman who knows a secret. Co-starring Brittany Murphy, Guy Torry, Jeniffer Esposito.
Yeah. I thought it was a different look, a different image, different character. Very different (from Lord of the Rings), interesting. I just found it very interesting when I first read it. It was a quite complex read at first because there are so many descriptions about agnates and clones and stuff like that but it comes up off the page very well into film I think. I just thought he was a very influential character. He’s right in the middle of this whole complex. It’s his complex, his world, his manufacturing plant for these products and he believes what he’s doing is for the good of humanity. He’s a scientist. He pushes the boundaries and he can do that because he’s allowed to go as far as he can. He’s also got a Godlike factor in him, playing God. He’s actually creating life.
Bean stars in the video for the first single from Moby’s studio album 18. Moby:
I don’t know why he agreed to be in the We Are All Made Of Stars video, but I’m honored that he did. I’m, of course, honored that everyone else agreed to be in the ‘Stars’ video too. But maybe ‘cos I’m such a geek and ‘cos I grew up reading Lord of the Rings over and over again, I can’t believe that Boromir is in my video.
Bean reprises his role as Boromir in the Peter Jackson film adaptation of the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Following the fate of his character in The Fellowship of the Ring, his screentime is much less extensive:
I don’t know what I’ll look like, probably not very well, but Boromir’s brother Faramir has a vision of me. So I suppose, technically, you could say that I’m in The Two Towers
In this drama directed by Steve Anderson, Bean plays Cowboy the trucker who is supposed to pick up a suitcase in Baker from John (John Favreau), but things get complicated when John misses his connection and he starts receiving threats. Co-starring Bud Cot, Daryl Hannah, John Gries and Adam Beach.
I’ve not seen the film yet, but I’d always wanted to play a cowboy, so I had a good time with it, the whole get-up, the long leather coat, hat, the holster.
The third installment in the series, The Return of the King concludes the epic fantasy trilogy. Bean’s character, the warrior Boromir, is limited to a flashback sequence in the theatrical release and a scene in the extended DVD release in which his father, Denethor, sees him in a hallucination. On bringing the iconic books to the screen:
I think it’s a once in a lifetime role, and a once in a lifetime film. It was made with so much care and passion and meticulous detail […] and everybody was so behind it. Everybody in New Zealand […] all the people were involved. They loved this thing with a passion. They’d read the book, so they were experts and fanatics about it
Sean Bean highlights the film’s supporting cast alongside Julie Christie, Suffron Burrows and Rose Byrne in this historical action epic directed by Wolfgang Petersen. He plays Odysseus:
I was doing a play in the West End (of London), so I didn’t have a great deal of time to prepare. I did a little bit of training in London, and once we got to Malta we had all these facilities that the production company provided, trainers and everything. They wanted everybody to look good because we were all supposed to be playing Greek warriors. Then I did a lot of preparation with Simon Crane, the stunt coordinator (and 2nd unit director).
Bean plays Howe in this movie directed by Jon Turtletaub. It is about a third generation treasure hunter (Nicholas Cage) who has been searching for a treasure all his life. He goes across continents seeking for this one thing that no one knows exists. He finally finds a map hidden at the back of the declaration of independence but when he thinks he has found the final clue,this turns out to be just the beginning. Co starring: Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Harvey Keitel. About why he liked to do this part:
I really enjoyed reading the script and I felt that my character had humanity and charm. He is not that different from Nic’s character in fact the scene where he is forced to kill you can see in his eyes that he doesn’t want to but the situation falls out of his control. Also the prospect of working with Jon, Jerry and Nicolas appealed to me.
In this movie directed by Micheal Bay, Bean plays Merrick a slaver who rich people pay to raise and keep their Clones in stasis when planet earth becomes unhabitable and one of the only Idyllic places still capable of sustaining life is that Island. People are chosen by lottery to live there. Co-starring Djimon Honsou, Michael Clarke, Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor. About the director:
He’s a very intelligent guy, he wants to further science and help humanity by creating a different world. He’s quite sinister in some aspects, it depends how you feel about cloning but he believes in it completely and I think he believes he’s doing good.
In this thriller directed by Robert Shwentke, Bean plays Rich, a flight captain. A woman (Jodie Foster) has to prove her sanity after her daughter goes missing in the airplane. Co-starring Peter Sarsgaard, Kate Beahan and Micheal Irby.
I quite like the fact that he was quite a straight, authoritative figure and yet he’s also sympathetic and sensitive to serve his passengers and especially to Kyle’s recent tragedy. And he’s calm with her and tries to calm her down and doesn’t make snap decisions. I think he does lose a little patience as it goes on, and he’s had the plane searched for the little girl. It seems such an implausible situation when there’s not a trace of this child on the plane. It’s a nightmare situation really.
In this drama directed by Niki Caro, Bean plays Kyle, a friend of Josie Aimes (Charlize Theron). Josie takes a job at a Minnesota iron mine in 1975. She and other female workers endure harassment and win a landmark legal decision. Co-starring Richard Jenkins, Jeremy Rennner and Frances McDormand.
I get a lot of satisfaction from playing villains,But I’m trying to diversify. So I’ve had this nice little run away from that villainous streak. Flightplan, North Country and before that, Troy. That one was the key.
In this horror-thriller directed by Dave Mayers, Bean plays Ryder, a mysterious Hitchhiker who ambushes a couple on a road trip. They bravely fight back but he continues to shadow them. Co-starring Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Kyle Davis and Skip O’brien. About Hitchhikers:
Well, I suppose it’s the charitable thing to do. But there’s always somebody else coming up behind, so I’m sure they always get there (laughs). A lot of kids go off hitchhiking in Europe during their gap year. I suppose it’s a relatively safe thing to do. I don’t know if I’d let my kids do it, though. Actually, I know I would mind. I wouldn’t tell them to get in a car with anybody. I just think it’s a weird thing to do, to get into a stranger’s car.
Bean plays Sharpe in this TV drama directed by Tom Clegg. Two years after the Duke of Wellington crushes Napoleon at Waterloo, dispatches from India tell of a local Maharaja, Khande Rao, who is threatening British interests there. Wellington sends Sharpe to investigate on what turns out to be his most dangerous mission to date. Co-starring Toby Stephens, Lucy Brown, Daragh O’Malley.
As is known, Sharpe, now a Farmer in Normandie, is called back to England were he learns, that his friend Patrick Harper has vanished in India. That is the main reason, he leaves also (one hopes, that this plays after the harvest time, or – trust me – he wouldn’t have had time just to vanish just like this from his farming lands! Would be interesting to hear, what Lucille had to say about this).
In this movie directed by Nick Love, Bean plays Bryant, a former paratrooper back from duty in Iraq. He is appalled by what he sees in a country that he no longer recognizes where the guilty are left unhindered to go about their businesses.He assembles a group of like-minded souls who resolve to restore the balance between right and wrong. Co-starring Bob Hoskins, Rupert Friend, Danny Dyer and Lennie James.
I saw it about two weeks ago with Nick actually. I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty hard-hitting and I was pretty quiet when I came out. I didn’t really know what to say when I first came out. Nick had obviously seen it a few times so he was wondering why I was being so quiet!
On this show Bean discusses his role as Boromir in the Fellowship of the Ring.
In this TV historical action film, directed by Tom Clegg, based on the books by Bernard Cornwell, Bean plays Richard Sharpe, an English soldier during the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe and Harper (Daragh O’Malley) are enroute to Madras when they encounter a train from the East India Company traveling through hostile territory. A legendary bandit leader strikes fear in the members of the party. Co-starring Michael Cochraine, Velibor Topic, and Raza Jaffrey.
My intention was that he was portrayed with meaning and thoughtfulness, and a sense of melancholy about the character. A man who wasn’t as rash, bold or ambitious as he was before, rather, that he is a man who has found himself in these dangerous situations. I hope that it will be received as such.
In this three-part television adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, directed by Julian Jarrold, Bean plays Dawson, a local businessman, who is entangled in the investigation of a series of child abductions and murders in Yorkshire. Co-starring Andrew Garfield, Mark Addy, Jim Carter, Warren Clarke and Shaun Dooley.
In this fantasy movie directed by Chris Columbus, Bean plays Zeus, father to a teenage boy who discovers is a descendant of a Greek god, and who sets on a journey to settle an on-going battle between the gods. Co-starring Pierce Brosnan, Jake Abel, Logan Lerman and Brandon Jackson. Columbus:
For me it was just a matter of finding the gods themselves. I cast actors who had a larger than life god-like quality about them and who better to play a trainer of heroes, people like Hercules and Michael Jordan, than Pierce Brosnan? Originally I just wanted to work with Pierce again. We had a great time on Mrs. Doubtfire and it was really the case with all of these gods and goddesses. How do we find someone who you can believe as a god? Danny DeVito might have been a stretch, so we needed to find someone who really had that air about him.
In this crime-thriller directed by Stephen Anderson, Bean plays Pyke, a vicious criminal who, when he finds out his money has been spend by a couple who found his suitcase, makes them work off the debt by robbing stores. Co-starring Chris Hemsworth, Victoria Profeta, Mike Starr and Glenn Plummer. Anderson:
Yeah he’s been around for awhile and I tell you, I think he’s about to break through. It’s like for a long time you didn’t know the name Anthony Hopkins, you knew the face and you’d see him in these movies and think “Man this guy’s good”. But then there was one movie that came along, I think it was Silence of the Lambs that made him a name along with the face and I think Sean Bean is right there. A lot of people know what he looks like and know who he is from the various movies he’s been in. He’s really a good actor, every role he plays is really brilliant. I think the day is going to come soon, maybe it’s this movie he’s releasing Lightning, maybe it’s our movie Cash. I would love to have that happen.
In this medieval action-drama Bean plays Ulric a fearsome knight that is charged by the church to investigate rumors of the village where the plague that has attacked he city cannot reach and it’s leader who brings the dead back to life. Directed by Christopher Smith. Co-starring Eddie Redmayne, John lynch, Kimberley Knixon and Carice Van Houten. About the intensity of filming his character:
Some scenes, yeah. There were occasions when we were all in the water, at the end where they had taken us prisoner, where it was quite intense, I mean, Ulric was a very intense character, very devout and very religious and had total belief in that and was unshakeable and I found it quite an interesting character.
Lord Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, Bean’s character on the television series Game of Thrones, is executed in the ninth episode of the first season. Queen Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey, and Sansa Stark, portrayed by Sophie Turner, reach an understanding with Jack Gleeson’s King Joffrey Baratheon that Stark’s life will be spared and his daughters kept safe in exchange for a confession of treason, but the king reneges on the deal:
They have the weak hearts of women.
The episode draws in 2.664 million viewers, the third-highest viewership count for the series’ first season, and is well received by critics.
Bean reacts in an interview about the Youtube reel compiled from his propensity to die onscreen, a phenomenon that has occurred more than 20 times. While he regrets that some of his characters had their screentime cut short,
some of them are jobs that you don’t want to do any more.
On his favourite character death:
I like the Boromir death, yeah, that’s a good one. A good, slow, heroic death.
In this comedy fantasy filem directed by Tarsem Singh, Bean plays Snow White’s father, the king. When her mother dies the king marries the most beautiful woman in the land. The King then leaves to fight a great evil that has invaded the land, but never returns. Snow White and the kings wife don’t get along. Co-starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane and Armie Hammer.
It should be good, I play Snow White’s dad so that should be interesting. I’m quite a nice guy, a nice king. I’m a good guy in this movie so I’m really happy. It can’t have been too much of a stretch for the 52 year-old’s acting abilities as he has three teenage daughters of his own.
In this action-comedy directed by Maksim Korostyshevsky, Bean plays Dimidov, one of a group of self-made millionaires who pay huge premiums to be inserted into military adventures in order to experience the thrills of war. However, things don’t go as planned and they get more than what they bargained for. Co-starring Dominic Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Christian Slater and James Cromwell.
Bean plays English teacher Simon and his flamboyant alter ego Tracie in the Tracie’s Story episode of the Jimmy McGovern television drama Accused. Tracie becomes involved with a married man in an affair that ends in a crime of passion, with the first episode of the second season of the series attracting over six million viewers. On playing a transvestite:
I prepared by walking round in high heels in the kitchen at home and one night I went out in the full gear and arm-in-arm with my middle daughter. I wanted to find out what it felt like, whether I’d be able to pull it off and have the bottle to function in that situation
Bean plays Mason, on the run with his daughter, Sharon, in this horror directed by Michael J. Bassett. On the eve of her 18th birthday Mason disappears. A revelation leads Sharon into into a demonic world. Co-starring Adalaide Clemens,Radha Mitchell, Kit Harrington and Carrie Anne-Moss.
You find him with his daughter, and they’ve had to change their names; he’s called Harry Mason now, and she’s called Heather, and they keep moving around trying to keep out of harm’s way. Just keep themselves to themselves by changing their names and the places where they live, and then, you know, she’s 18, she’s just celebrating her 18th birthday, and he’s pretty relaxed. He’s aware of what happened before, but he just wants to raise her as much as he can as a well-balanced teenager. So that’s how it begins, but things (chuckles) obviously deteriorate.
Sean Bean is barred from his local bar, The Washington in Belsize park due to out of control behavior and bickering with the locals.
He’d come in from time to time and the locals would crowd around him. He’d drink throughout the evening and was known to have run-ins with drinkers. Then one night he was going over the top. He was acting inappropriately—so he was barred.
Bean wins best actor at the International Emmy awards for his role as Tracie, the transvestite alter ego of English teacher Simon in the Tracie’s Story episode of British television drama Accused. In his acceptance speech:
I’m so, so happy. I’d just like to thank my dad. Thank you. I’m absolutely delighted
In this spy thriller, directed by Hadi Hajaig, Bean plays Ewan, a Secret Service agent who is faced with a task of pursuing and eliminating a suicide bomber. Co-starring James Fox, Charlotte Rampling, Abhin Galeya and Tuppence Middleton.
Well, I got involved when my agent sent me a script that Hadi had brought and I thought it was very intelligent, and a very thoughtful kind of script, and it dealt with the issues facing us today, with terrorism that affects everybody’s lives – a constant threat, as it were, or so we’re told. And it is just something I have found really interesting, you know. I find it very interesting politically and socially.
Bean appears to confirm a popular theory about the relationship of his character, Lord Eddard Stark, and the character of Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington in the Game of Thrones television show.
In this TV series produced by Howard Gordon, Bean plays Odum an under cover agent working for The FBI’s Deep Cover Operations division who struggles with his real identity outside of his legends. Co-starring Ali Larter, Rob Mayes, Steve Harris. About being fan of this series genre type:
Yeah, yeah. It’s that kind of deception, that kind of bluffing, that is particularly interesting. And I get a chance to play multiple personas, multiple characters, and that’s a challenge. I always like to do something different, something unusual, stray off the path a bit. That’s what I (find) kind of exciting. So this isn’t your usual cop drama. It’s based in the FBI, and it has that kind of environment, but there’s a lot of psychological stuff going on there, especially with Martin Odum and the characters that he takes on as his legends (Lincoln Dittman and Dante Orbach).
20th Century Fox releases the trailer for The Martian.