Sean Bean: The Interview - Page 8

I mention that probably the best character I'd ever seen him play was Lovelace, the rake in Clarissa.

Sean agrees. "That was great. When I got the script for that, I thought it was really well written, well-adapted from the book...which I did read, by the way. When it first came out, somebody had mentioned that I'd not read the book, and that the director hadn't read the book...and we'd all read it, cover to cover, as research for the television program. And it was quite big because it's all letters.... But that's something I felt very comfortable with, that part - I knew as soon as I read it, I seemed to remember the words almost immediately."

Sean (as Lovelace) with
Saskia Wickham in Clarissa

Sean and Niamh Cusack (Romeo and Juliet, RSC)

Sean's acting career began on the British stage in the mid-1980's, where he appeared in a number of roles, including Spencer in The Fair Maid of the West, and Romeo (opposite Niamh Cusack's Juliet) with the RSC. I wonder whether he developed a strategy fairly early on for committing his lines to memory.

"Once you've learned it, it's fine, you don't forget. With a stage play, you get maybe four weeks' rehearsal and you just do it, over and over again...and it's imprinted. But that's what scares me about doing a play....when you're onstage you can't say, 'Sorry about that, can we go back to the beginning...'"

Is he any good at ad-libbing in the event he forgets his lines?

"Not in Shakespeare," he says, with a wry laugh.

It's getting late and I sense Sean is getting tired. He's been working exceptionally long hours in Don't Say a Word, sometimes filming all night - and I've already gone nearly half an hour over my allotted time for the interview.

Would he ever consider directing a film?

"I think I'm quite happy doing my thing as an actor and just concentrating on that. I don't really want the added responsibility."

What would be like to be doing in 10 years time?

"Doing what I'm doing now, enjoying myself like I'm doing now."

Has he had a chance to watch any sports on TV here in Toronto?

"I watch hockey. It's a bit similar in principle to football on a five-a-side pitch. Out of all the American sports that's probably my favourite...but I'm not really interested in basketball or baseball or anything."


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