Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Wednesday 24 July 2019

Interview: Sean Bean

31st October 2012

Share This Article:

TNS spent an afternoon at the Groucho Club with Sean Bean, chatting about transvestites and the conventions of the horror genre. We also threw in a couple of questions about his new film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, which is out today...

A couple of minutes of research at TNS HQ told us that Sean Bean has died a grand total of 21 times during his 26 year career. How does he feel about that? Would he at some point prefer to play a character who manages to stay alive?

Bean laughs. “I’ve stayed alive in more recent films,” he says. “There was one point where I was dying in everything, probably because I was always playing the bad guy.”

He adds: “There was a point where I was playing villains a lot and I had to change it round because I wasn’t doing anything else. It’s nice to be in a position where I can pick and choose a bit more.”

It is true that Bean has regularly played the villain – from GoldenEye to Caravaggio to Lorna Doone, his many deaths have been arguably justified. Constantly being killed off must have been quite demoralising, though?

“I suppose that’s what you get when you’re playing a bad guy,” he says. “You have to die at the end. I can’t complain because some of those roles, Patriot Games and GoldenEye, were great opportunities for me.”

Bean’s new film is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, a sequel to 2006’s Silent Hill, where he plays Christopher Da Silvia, a father struggling to protect his young daughter from forces beyond his control. It is, Bean says, “quite refreshing to be playing someone who stays alive.” 

What was it that attracted him to the project? The prospect of playing a ‘goodie’ for a change, perhaps?

Well, partly. “I read the script and I liked the premise of it,” he says, “and the disturbing, surreal quality that it has. I enjoyed playing that character (in Silent Hill) and I thought why not play him a few years on?

“His daughter has become a teenager now and things have changed and moved on, you wonder what’s ahead... I was really pleased to be a part of it again.”

The psychology of his character is what he finds the most interesting aspect then, rather than the horror value. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D has in turn been called horror, thriller, psychological – which would he describe it as?

“It’s more psychological I think,” he says. “There are a lot of things in there that are fearful...things that people are scared of and they don’t know why they’re scared of them. What horror is, it’s a bit more subtle than that – you can’t quite pin it down. Why is that disturbing me?”

He adds: “It shocks you. It makes you jump quite a few times.”

Bean is a self-confessed horror fan, citing everything from Edgar Allen Poe to Frankenstein to the Saw franchise as personal interests. His tastes suggest a leaning towards the Gothic, and the subtlety of horror, rather than straight up slasher gore. Is this reflected in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D?

“It is. There’s a bit more to it than people getting chopped up for the sake of it. There’s a family unit in the midst of all this and people trying to deal with what’s around them; the fear and the evil. So I think you care about these people. It’s not a horror slasher film, it’s much more psychological, bizarre and macabre.”

Has his character come to terms with the events of Silent Hill?

“Yeah. He’s aware of the dangers and the dread and the fear of Silent Hill and I suppose that’s why he’s keeping his daughter as close as he can and trying to raise her in a relatively normal way as a teenager. But with difficulty because she’s breaking out and she also feels the attraction and he senses that but doesn’t realise how obsessed she is by it until sometime later, which is extremely worrying for him. And it all comes back again, just when you think it has gone away – and that’s quite scary.

“Now there’s this elevated state of apprehension and things just escalate. He becomes more drawn into it than previously.”

The 3D aspect, Bean says, is perfect for Silent Hill, although he doesn’t rate it across the board. “I don’t like to watch everything in 3D ,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to watch Coronation Street in 3D! It’s something for specific occasions, I think it should be used sparingly. I’d only watch it if it was relevant, if it enhanced the subject matter. I don’t want to see people jump out for no reason.”

Interview drawing to a close, TNS just about has time to throw in a question that is in no way related to Silent Hill, but rather to this summer’s TV drama Accused, in which Bean played a transvestite. TNS read that in order to prepare for the role he had a night out dressed in drag. Tabloid rumour or absolute truth?

Bean confirms that yes, it happened.

“It was interesting,” he says. “It was different. I don’t know if people were not saying anything because they knew it was me. I had a wig on and lipstick and everything else. I don’t know whether they knew it was me. It was a funny reaction.”

Did he find it liberating?

“I did yeah,” he laughs. “It was quite enjoyable. I wanted to see what reaction I’d get and that was it. It was a strange reaction; a silent, indecisive reaction.”

Playing the role, he says, was “great – a real eye-opener for me. I just had to go for it; I couldn’t have held back otherwise it wouldn’t have worked. But it was just psychologically jumping that hurdle of getting into character. That was the hardest thing. Not the dressing up and stuff, just getting your head around being someone else.”

© 2019 is a website of BigChoice Group Limited | 201 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1JA | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974