When you think of some of the greatest film villains of the past decade, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a list without at least one performance by Sean Bean. The dude’s that good at playing a heavy, especially when he’s playing one that walks the fine line between good and evil. Born in Sheffield, England in 1959, Sean was originally intent on working alongside his father until he earned a scholarship to London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following his graduation from the school, Sean became a frequent performer in London-based theatrical productions and didn’t get his first big break until 1993 when he was cast as the war-trodden Richard Sharpe in the popular television series. That same year he made his debut in Hollywood opposite Harrison Ford as the main villain in “Patriot Games,” and it seemed a match made in heaven.
Following his stint in the Tom Clancy-adapted novel, Sean reprised his role as a villain in the new James Bond flick, “GoldenEye,” and three years later, played a shady weapons specialist in the Robert De Niro actioneer, “Ronin.” And just when the actor had finally shaken his reputation as a grade-A villain, the role of a lifetime fell into his hands: the human warrior, Boromir, in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Unfortunately, even old Boromir experienced a short stint on the dark side, as did the character of Odysseus in the epic imagining of Wolfgang Peterson’s “Troy.” His next two appearances – in the Disney-produced “National Treasure” and the sci-fi action film “The Island” – featured Sean as (surprise, surprise) villains, but the actor ultimately got the last laugh when he played the seemingly evil (but virtuous) pilot in the Jodie Foster thriller, “Flightplan.”
His break from villainy won’t last very long, however, as he prepares to revive the role of The Hitcher in the remake of the 1986 thriller of the same name. We’re not complaining, though, since he’s proven on more than a few occasions why he’s been pigeonholed as the ultimate baddie: he’s just that good.
Sean on the Web
An online database of Sean's film and TV work.
TV Guide: Sean Bean
Sean Bean Videos, Interviews and More on TV Guide's Online Video Guide
A generic actor page featuring a biography and red carpet photos.
Full of Beans
A cool little fan page with downloadable media, articles and more.
An unofficial fan site with updated news and pictures.
The actor's Wiki page.
Sean on the Screen
Perhaps best known for his recurring role as Richard Sharpe in the BBC-produced television series, Sean Bean as amassed an impressive reputation as one of the best villains in the business. From his turn as 006 in "GoldenEye" to the avaricious Boromir in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Sean is simply amazing. Other appearances in other blockbuster films like "Troy," "National Tresure," "The Island" and "Flightplan" may not exactly prove that he's a bankable superstar, but he certainly has what it takes to roll with the biggest and the best in the industry.
Along with reviving the role of John Ryder in the new "Hitcher" film, Sean Bean looks to make another big stride toward superstardom with several new films between now and the end of 2008 including the war drama "True North," the Nick Love-directed crime flick "Outlaw," the romantic comedy "A Woman of No Importance," and the reimagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth, "Come Like Shadows."
From the Mouth of Sean
On "Lord of the Rings":
"When you finish, it is quite a strange feeling. Everything stops. You're back to reality: paying bills, doing your laundry, and you're not surrounded by elves any more with your sword by your side."
On being an actor:
"I think that you always have something left, that you take something of the character with you."