Sean Bean: My Sheffield Mates Think I'm a Big Ponce
Sean Bean: My Sheffield mates think I'm a big ponce
By Tim Oglethorpe
Sean Bean and wife Georgina (Pic:SM)
The Hollywood actor and Sharpe star, 49, on the perils of being a northern actor,
still having it when it comes to those meaty acting roles, and being more than a
How has it been filming the latest Sharpe in India?
Sean Bean: Great, actually, a really good experience. Its extremely hot in
India temperatures were often above 100°F/37°C but Sharpes Peril is a
terrific story where we see more of Sharpes sensitive side than we have before.
He thinks a lot about his late wife and daughter, whom he hasnt seen for years.
What do you think about when you are away from England?
SB: Well, obviously my family my wife Georgina and my kids, Laura, 21, Molly,
17, and Evie, nine. I also wonder how the vegetables in my garden are growing.
Weve now got an image of you pottering around your vegetable patch at
SB: Absolutely, I love it. Ive taken a lot of pleasure from producing my own
tomatoes, potatoes, runner beans, onions and garlic over the last couple of years.
They always taste better when youve grown them yourself. I just wish the garden
was bigger a country garden rather than a London one.
Being a northern lad, how do you find living in London?
SB: There are mates of mine in Sheffield who think Im a big ponce, but thats
because of the acting I do, not because I live in London. And I love the city,
actually. Whats that saying about being tired of life if youre tired of London?
I think thats about right. Its a vibrant city.
So youd never move to Los Angeles, despite having a movie career in the States?
SB: No, absolutely not. When I go to America I stay in hotels. Having a home over
there would just be something else to worry about. Besides, I couldnt nip down to
Soho and do a voiceover, if I was living in LA, could I? Thats easy to do from where
I live in north London.
Congratulations on your nuptials earlier this year. Although according to some
press reports, there have been bust-ups between the two of you (Sean was
arrested in July for the alleged assault of wife, Georgina, but released without
charge). Would you care to comment?
SB: All I can say is things get blown out of proportion, especially when you are
someone in the public eye. We are very happy together.
So maybe a Beanie Baby, or two, before too long?
SB: You never know, its certainly a possibility. Although dont think Im not
grateful and thankful for what Ive got already: three wonderful daughters.
How did Georgina find India while you were filming Sharpe?
SB: Hot! She came out for the last week of shooting and she did the tourist bit,
visiting temples and a tiger reserve. And she did see me play in the cast and crew
pool tournament at our hotel in Khajuraho. Unfortunately, I lost. And she didnt
see any tigers, they kept themselves to themselves.
Are you sporty?
SB: I like to keep myself in shape. I run and do weights when I go to the gym.
When we came to do Sharpe again a couple of years ago after a gap of several
years, it was a bit of a shock to the system and I had to step up my visits to the
gym to take account of that. Its not a place I would naturally choose to spend
time. Going there is a means to an end.
Will there come a time when you reckon youll be too old to play an action
hero like Sharpe?
SB: Maybe, but that time isnt yet. Ive really been into my horse riding in this
new adventure, and loving every second of it. Its a bit like riding a bike I hadnt
been on horseback for two years before I came to India, but I just got back
in the saddle and trotted off like Id never been away.
How did you cope with the intense heat in India?
SB: By drinking lots of liquids and staying in the shade. Also Sharpe wears this
heavy jacket and I was taking that off whenever I completed a scene to give
my body a bit of air. You could literally feel the sun burning your scalp through
your hair if you didnt get into the shade sharpish. Weve gone full circle really
from the sub-zero temperatures of the Crimea when we filmed the first Sharpe,
to the searing heat of India.
What other exciting things have been happening in your life?
SB: Going to a concert at my youngest daughter, Evies, school and hearing her
sing really well, that was pretty special. Spending any sort of time with my
daughters, thats definitely special. And the moment Sheffield United got
back into the Premiership a few seasons back. Unforgettable.
Do you have any phobias?
SB: I inherited a fear of flying from my parents and used to hate it. But funnily
enough, Im OK about it now. I spent so long on planes getting to and from New
Zealand when I was filming Lord Of The Rings that I just got used to it. I still
wouldnt be very good in helicopters and Im not great with turbulence, but
generally Im OK in the air.
Is it true you contemplated sailing to New Zealand, rather than flying, such
was your fear of flying?
SB: It crossed my mind, but the fact Id have got there about six months after
theyd all started filming made it a bit of a non-starter. Getting a late mark on
such a big production would have been so embarrassing.
What would you do if you didnt act?
SB: Id probably make stuff. I enjoy painting, and Ive got a mate, Adrian, who
is a blacksmith, and I love going to his place and having a go in his forge. You
turn up and see smoke billowing out of his garage and theres this fantastic
smell of red-hot metal It takes me back to my childhood in Sheffield.
Who are your heroes?
SB: My mum and dad for looking after me so well; some of the greats of Sheffield
United; and the real life equivalents of people like Richard Sharpe, who put their
lives on the line and show such fantastic bravery in the course of fighting for
their country. That takes guts.
Are you superstitious?
SB: Not particularly, although Daragh OMalley, who plays Harper in Sharpe,
and I have got into the habit of exchanging a few words before we shoot a
tricky scene, like where explosives are being used. Ill say something like,
Good luck, Daragh. And hell say, Likewise and God bless. It makes
us both feel a bit more comfortable, I think. Its a kind of ritual weve got into.
What would your epitaph be?
SB: He was a good father, a decent bloke and a good actor. And he was so
pleased to have lived long enough to see Sheffield United win their fourth
consecutive Premiership title on goal difference from Leeds United.
SEANS REALITY CHECK
Do you use public transport?
Do planes count? If they do, then yes, definitely. And I sometimes use the
train to get up to Sheffield to see United play.
Where is Corrie set?
My aunts used to love that show, it was always on when I went round to
their houses, so I definitely know its Weatherfield? (Correct) Thank
goodness I got that right.
How much is a pint of beer?
It varies so much, doesnt it? Average price around £3? (About right)
Sharpes Peril is on ITV1, tonight and next Sunday, 9pm
Pictures: Gavin Smith/Camera Press.
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