Having been part of one of the biggest
films of recent years, Lord
of the Rings, Sean Bean then signed up for another, the $200m
blockbuster which is Troy.
As Boromir, he did not survive beyond
part one of the Tolkien
trilogy but as Odysseus he has the satisfaction of outlasting
of his co-stars. He even has the last word in the Greek saga.
But in such spectacular films with big
ensemble casts, there must be
a fear that the acting is subsidiary to the action.
"I had never seen so many people
on a film set, it was like a
military operation," admits the Sheffield-born star.
"A lot of the film is taken up
with the battles and warfare, about
60% is devoted to the battlefield. But it's also a story of
relationships. It's about identity and responsibility between
and women, it's not just about brutality."
And Odysseus is a great part. "He
is an influential character and an
important figure in history. He was very much a tactician and
shrewd manipulator, a brave man with persuasiveness and eloquence,"
And of course he was the man who dreamed
up the Trojan Horse.
So he needed little persuasion to sign
up for director Wolfgang
"It was a fabulous opportunity
to get involved, it's not often
these period epics come along. Like Lord of the Rings, you know
a major film and you pull out all the stops."
In both cases it required being away
from home for months on
end. "We filmed in Malta for six or seven weeks and then
Mexico where we stayed for three months.
"In Mexico there was a lot of hanging
around the pool," which wasn't
as idyllic as it sounds, he says, but he affects to take things
his stride. The Brits in the cast tended to hang out together.
He followed Troy with something totally
different, crime caper
"It's about hidden treasure and
myself and Nicholas Cage are
partners at the beginning and then we go our separate ways. I
out not to be the character I was seen to be at the beginning.
Funnily enough, the girl who played Helen of Troy, Diane Kruger,
in this as well."
And it kept him on the other side of
the Atlantic, further
restricting his opportunities to watch the Blades.
"In America you have to go out
of the country to get a visa. So I
went to Toronto and then to film in Washington DC, on to LA,
Philadelphia and New York - all over the place.
"I came home for Christmas for
a couple of weeks and saw the kids
and then took the two older ones back over to Disneyland. It
their first time in the States and they had a great time. But,
since last May I have been away most of the time."
Instead of chatting about Troy in a
London hotel suite, Bean might
well have been away now, this time in South Africa, but the
projected film Barry, co-starring Rachel Weisz, fell foul of
tightening of tax break regulations and was put on hold.
It turns out that the film, set in the
1820s, is the reason he is
sporting longer than usual hair, and he laughs at the notion
his bleached blonde look suggests he's been hanging out with
Pitt for too long.
Before Troy he did, of course, have
an extensive spell at home with
his return to the theatre in a production of Macbeth which was
successful enough to have its West End run extended.
"It was always something I wanted
to do ever since seeing Ian
McKellen and Judi Dench playing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth whle
at drama school. It took 13 years to do it. I wanted to try and
balance it with film work.
"It was a big thing to take on
but I am proud of the success it had
and I would do some more stage work if film commitments allow
it's something which has to be planned well in advance."
Also evidence of being back home is
the plethora of Sean Bean-
sounding voiceovers on TV adverts. Are they all him? "I
hope so," he grins. "Yes, that's become a regular earner
"The other thing I have done is
voice a BBC series called
Pride,about a family of lions, mixing live action and animatronix."
"It's quite an impressive case
of voices with people like Kate
Winslet and Helen Mirren. I play a sort of top cat (he laughs),
rough and ready beast."