Sean Bean: The Interview - Page 5

As proud as Sean is of his part in Lord of the Rings, the one role which has had the most profound effect on him is that of Richard Sharpe, in the 14-part British tv series set in the Napoleonic Wars.

"Sharpe's great," he says, with genuine enthusiasm. "A fantastic role - something I look back on with great fondness...the role, the people involved in it...the other actors...the crew. They were very special to me."

Is Sharpe the role of which he is the proudest?

"I suppose it probably is...bearing in mind the length of time I was involved with it...and the whole adventure of it...."

Sharpe and his "Chosen Men", clockwise from left: Sean Bean (Sharpe), Daragh O'Malley (Harper), Michael Mears (Cooper), Jason Salkey (Harris), John Tams (Hagman), Lyndon Davies (Perkins). Missing: Paul Trussell (Tongue).

Was it difficult to leave the character behind after five years of sharing Richard Sharpe's adventures?

"It was," he says, somewhat wistfully. "The last day...the last night...was quite strange. I look back on it was a great time that we had while we were doing it, and I do miss that. I miss a lot of the people I used to know, as well. I'd like to see more of them. I've been away...but hopefully when I get back, I'll see Jason [Salkey] and John [Tams] and Tom [Clegg]. I think it's only when you're not doing something anymore that you look back and realize how good it was, and what great friendships were created."

"And Sharpe's a great character. I think it just came to an end because that was the last war - I think there was talk of doing a feature film or a sort-of one-off, and I'd be open to that because I enjoyed playing Sharpe so much. I suppose you could go back to prior to the Battle of Waterloo and take up some adventures there - I always keep an open mind regarding Sharpe. I hope I can do something like that again."

I remark that of all of the roles he has played, Sharpe is probably the most popular, and the one which fans wish he would try to emulate again in future films. There is, I tell Sean, a certain amount of dismay at the perception that he seems to be concentrating more these days on bad guys than on romantic heroes.

"Boromir's certainly not a bad guy," he reminds me.

"And the part I'm playing next is a struggling artist.... It's a European film set in London and Amsterdam. It's about a 10 year old boy who has visions of a twin. I'm his step-father.... I'm an artist and I look after him as best I can under the circumstances. It's called Tom and's directed by Esmé Lammers."

"But there are some great parts that are villains. It would be unwise to turn them down just because they're villains. They're very complex characters. Most villains have very conflicting emotions. I don't particularly look out for playing one type of character - it could be any character if it's interesting and it's a good script...and there are good people on board....then it's worth looking at."


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