The Hitcher - About.com
Sean Bean Discusses "The Hitcher"
From Rebecca Murray
If youre one of those people who stops for hitchhikers on the side of the road,
you might want to rethink that behavior after seeing The Hitcher. This remake
of the 1986 film with Rutger Hauer, C Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh
features Sean Bean in the part of the serial-killing hitchhiker. Sophia Bush
and Zachary Knighton co-star as the young couple he terrorizes and frames
The Original Rutger Hauer Movie: Bean watched that version when it first
came out about 20 years ago. I was very impressed by it, said Bean. Its
quite spooky and scary. I thought it was a really good film. I suppose this
is just a re-imagining of it. Its not a remake of sorts. I think weve added
a lot of edge to it and a lot of tension. The characters are very well drawn.
Theyre not cardboard cutouts and cartoon characters. Theres a great depth
to them. David [Meyers] is doing a great job directing. Jim Hawkins and the
lighting cameraman added a very dark, sort of ghostly quality to it. Theres
a lot of thought and precision of detail going into this.
Bean didnt go back and watch the film again before starting work on The
Hitcher. He also didnt try and base his character on Hauers performance. He
had a certain charm, which I thought was quite fascinating to the character. I
didnt really want to see the original because I just didnt want it to color
what I did. I wanted to bring my own views, my own ideas to the part. But
Im glad I did see it when I saw it, when I was a kid. It certainly made an
impression on me. But as I say, I think we all wanted to approach it in a
different way and bring out ideas to it, fresh ideas.
Developing the Characters Backstory: I think because there wasnt so much
backstory, there wasnt a great deal to go on. I think for me it was just
creating some kind of sensation rattling around his head. Im not quite sure
what that is but a lot of it is the way it was shot and the way it was explored,
in terms of expression, things that werent said really. Just looks and
expression. Thats what I found interesting about playing the part. Not so
much what I said, but the way I looked at these guys, the way I looked at
life, the way I looked at people. I just tried to bring something to that, to
try and convey something, what was going on inside his head.
Its difficult to explain. Im notoriously bad at trying to explain characters I play.
I think its something that just happens on the day, usually. You think of
something and figure something out, maybe something in the past, something
somebody said to you, somebody did or someone you knew. I just try and
think of things like that when they say action. It must work.
Working with Guns: Its okay. Ive done quite a few films now that had guns and
rifles, s**t like that. I feel okay. I dont have any particular affinity to it. Its just
I guess the parts I play tend to carry real weaponry, a bit of hardware. Ive
become quite familiar with them. Particularly in this film, it doesnt really
matter. This guy kills by any means. He doesnt have a particular choice of
execution. He uses knives, guns, ropes, anything he can get his hands on.
Anything that happens to be around. Hes just a killer. Ive never really done
that. Ive never really worked on a part like this before. Hes so unapologetic
in terms of the characters psychology that he has no remorse, no regrets.
There are not any redeeming features to this guy. I just think he does it
because he can, and he believes hes liberating. Hes a liberator. He believes
that everyone is guilty of something, maybe these young guys are guilty of
something. He just wants to clear them out.
Bean continued, Every question Hes asked where hes from, he says, All
over. Hes like a phantom, a ghost thats kind of your worst nightmare. He
terrorizes these young kids because theyre so stupid. Theyre going to Lake
Havasu to get her tits and drink beer. This guy just wants to get rid of them. I
think he sees something in Grace that maybe thinks she can identify in some
kind of strange way with his mentality, his psyche. He maybe wants to pass
something onto her, the instinct that he has.
Ive enjoyed playing the part and I know what Im thinking when Im doing it
and I know what Im doing, but its difficult to kind of explain the psyche.
He f**ks about with peoples consciousness, just plays games. He finds
things humorous that a normal person wouldnt. He finds humor and comedy
in that people might get their head blown off. Its sort of a peaceful time for
him. It brings him peace, satisfaction.
Comparing Middle America to Other Shooting Locations: Its pretty lonely.
Its a kind of lonely sort of feeling. Its got a lot of things. I can imagine its
very beautiful in the daytime and the sort of landscape, but it can also be very
desolate. Its a very lonely kind of place to be, where you could quite easily
lose your mind if you were here for any length of time.
Filming at Night: We did about five weeks of night shoots. That was good
because it is a film about the road, to be on the road in a car, in cars. Like
I said, the loneliness and the desolation, how people come together in those
situations, bizarre situations. They could have bumped into anybody. He
seems quite a nice guy in the beginning, the crew of the service station,
he just wants a lift. His cars broken down; he wants to get back to his wife.
Its raining. They reluctantly give him a ride and he proceeds to terrorize
them. But its good how thats revealed because you dont see it I just
thought at the beginning you should see another side to John Ryder, the
amiable side, the friendly guy, because you dont see it very often after that
point. Once he starts f**king about in the car and breaking mobile phones,
sticking knives in peoples eyes, youve got an idea of what this guys all about.
The Popularity of Horror Films: Asked if theres something culturally feeding the
popularity of the genre, Sean Bean responded, I don't know. I feel theres a
sense of isolation in society today. People dont seem to be able to come
together as they once did. I think everyone feels a little lonely in some way.
They cant quite connect. This guy, obviously somethings gone wrong somewhere.
He connects in very strange ways. But I do think theres something to be
said for that, the isolation that we feel, I suppose, today in certain ways.
Theres a sort of fear of getting to know anyone, to trust anyone and to
Its Good to be Bad: Sean Bean said he really enjoys playing the villain.
He was a good guy in Silent Hill and found that to be nice, but boring.
Id obviously like to explore different areas and I want to do something
a little bit lighter, but Im quite happy playing the parts that I play. Every
supposedly bad guy has a different story and a different intellect and a
different approach to how they see life. Thats what makes it interesting,
so I dont look at it in terms of bad guys and villains. I just think of people
who are psychologically different and nonconformist.
The joy is that you can do almost anything you want and youve got the
freedom to sort of push the boundaries, which is extremely challenging and
exciting. I mean, with actors like Nicolas Cage, you cant quite put your
finger on what he does but he pushes the boundaries. Hes very dense,
very profound. Hes very interesting to watch. I dont exactly know what
he does, but what hes doing works. I always hope that whatever part I
play, that theres a dark side to every character. Youre playing a good
guy, theres a dark side, so I always look at it like that. I think if you
try to play a bad guy as mean and vicious and villainous, then you just
look at the dark side and theres always going to be blackness. Likewise,
if I ever play the good guy, Im sure theres a little edge of darkness to
him too. Thats what makes us who we are.
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