He's a very busy actor and most of the time he plays the baddie,
above all Boromir in the Lord of the Rings, Alec Trevelyan in
Goldeneye. With North Country things seem to have changed, he's
playing a baddie anymore, but instead a very positive character
the centre of a story in which men are certainly not shining.
Born in Sheffield in the UK, Bean is also among the protagonists
Silent Hill, based on the famous videogame and directed by
Christophe Gans (Le pacte des loups).
After Flightplan you've finally become good on screen: in
movie, despite a certain ambiguity, you bring to life a positive
He's a man who has evolved compared to his co-workers. His
sensitive and compassionate nature enabled him not to give in
collective blackmailing of the whole community, and instead listen
to his own conscience.
I think that North Country is an excellent chance for me to break
with what I've done before and show another side of my acting.
it was very interesting to explore a true story in which the
become the victims of a series of harrassment and shame perpetrated
by their male colleagues.
You have worked in the steel factory of your father before
becoming an actor. Did this movie bring you back to that time?
In a certain way yes. Sheffield was a city that heavily relied
the steel business. My father was a supplier and so - after school
in the early 70s - I stopped by at his office to visit and work
bit to learn the job. It was a male environment: there weren't
women, and when a woman walked by there was a lot of whistling
calling, as if they'd never seen one before...but it was innocent.
When I went to Minnesota for the movie I recognised many traces
behaviours I had experienced in my youth.
The difference is that - now - there are also women
Exactly. Something that thirty years ago would have been unthinkable
in Great Britain. Obviously not because it was wrong, but simply
because no one could have foreseen that women would have been
to do those jobs considered strictly for men, sometimes even
North Country is then also very intersting from a socio-historical
point of view
In a certain way, although very dramatic, it's the story of a
cultural innovation. And it's known that people are afraid of
transformation and change. And on top, this was happening in
very cold industrial region. But despite the fact that some of
people have commited grievous wrongs, I have a lot of respect
human level for the people who live in those lands. They know
survival is - and most important - they have a great sense of
humour. There's a great warmth there, similar to the one in my
What do you think of the discrimination?
What worried me most was the cynicism of those who pretended
protecting the women, when behind their backs they would encourage
the harrassment and the hostile atmosphere. These are shameful
behaviours, but it would be wrong to assume that they're limited
certain kinds of jobs. This kind of situation is not uncommon
world. These are things that happen in Hollywood as well, but
are more sneaky and willingly hidden.
How much courage is needed to "break" the silence
and stand up?
A lot. And it really depends on how much motivation one has.
course life is much simpler if you keep your mouth shut, but
strength of the movie is exactly this. The most dramatic scene
the movie is the one when the women testify not in favour of
colleague, but against her. This gives a sense of a much deeper
intense drama than what first meets the eye, in which the victim
out of fear and desperation - becomes the tormentor...it's the
dramatic representation of the banality of evil.