Enemies on screen, Sean Bean and Ray
Winstone are great mates in
By Karen Hockney
Henry VIII Sunday ITV1
Sean Bean is put gruesomely to death by Ray Winstone's macho
in the final part of costume drama Henry
VIII. But during the time
they weren't in front of the cameras portraying arch-enemies,
actors became firm friends.
"He's wonderful. We'd never acted together before and we
clicked," says Sean (above right, with Ray). "When
we meet on screen,
there's lots of tension. You don't know which way it's going
It was gripping to film. Ray and I were very pleased with it."
Sean's character, Robert Aske, and Henry meet when Aske, a former
soldier in the King's army, gathers 20,000 troops to challenge
after his dissolution of the Catholic church. The King leads
believe there is no animosity before luring him to his horrific
"It was certainly action-packed," says Sean, 44. "I
was riding and
sword-fighting and then hung, drawn and quartered! It was very
physical and filming the hanging was pretty nasty."
Sean loved the passion of Aske, a revolutionary who laid down
life to challenge the King. "I see him as an inspirational
character," he says. "He was prepared to fight for
what he believed
in and not expect anything in return."
The actor, who lives alone in Hampstead, north London, has two
daughters, Lorna, 16, and 12-year-old Molly, with ex-wife actress
Melanie Hill; and another daughter, Evie, five, with his former
Sharpe co-star Abigail Cruttenden, who he divorced in 2000. He
starred in blockbusters GoldenEye and the first instalment of
Lord Of The Rings trilogy. And Sean was so keen to play Aske
squeezed it in alongside his part in another huge film, Brad
upcoming Greek saga, Troy.
"I was already working on Troy and another TV project, but
producers of Henry VIII condensed my part into a week so I could
this too," he says.
Sean starred as Napoleonic war hero Richard Sharpe in ITV's Sharpe
dramas and gamekeeper Mellors in the controversial Lady Chatterley's
Lover. And he admits he prefers such period pieces to modern-day
"They are more magical," he says. "Not only am
I having a great
time, but you learn all about the past-the costumes, horses,
Everyone gets excited, no matter how old they are. It's more
filming in a city centre, sitting in a Ford Cortina!"
Yorkshireman Sean has come a long way since giving up his job
welder to study acting, but sounds unconvinced that he's really
"There's never been any big career plan," he claims.
"I just see
what comes my way. So far, I've been pretty lucky. But I'm under
illusions about whether it will stay that way."