It frightens me how quickly time passes. The last time I had the pleasure of interviewing the mighty Sean Bean (or The Bean as some commenters have noted he should be addressed) was nearly two years ago, when a freak snow storm had brought most of the country to a standstill. As we sat down for the interview to talk about Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, I reminded him of that day, which with such odd circumstances came back to him. “I remember we were in that funny place, the library and hall in that compound and it was just really bad, the snow. Bit miserable wasn’t it!”
Yet despite the bad weather, that previous interview had been fantastic, as he had proved to be incredibly humble, down to earth and an absolute joy to talk to. This time around was no less great, though I was still amazed by how lovely the man is, something that always makes for such a strong contrast against the vast amount of screen villains he’s portrayed.
The Bean seemed utterly relaxed and gracious enough to answer any questions, no matter how random. He was full of laughs while attentively leaning forward – he spoke so softly I was aware that even my voice seemed to be getting lower and quieter during the course of the interview.
So without further ado, Mr Sean Bean.
What drew you back to Silent Hill, having done the first film?
Well, I had a good time on it the first time around and it was a good set up there, good production. Samuel Hadida, he was the one that kind of drove it along, drove it through and he was very enthusiastic about the prospect of a Silent Hill follow up. But as I said, I had a good time on the first one, so I thought well why not? I’ve enjoyed it, I like the premise of it, I like the character, it’s exciting, it’s unusual and you so I just went over and got on with it and that was about six years since the last one. I’m not very familiar with the games… I am now, with the following that the game has got, quite a cult following it seems.
I thought the first Silent Hill was very faithful to the spirit of the games, so has that remained for the sequel?
Yes it has, you know as I say I’m not that familiar with the games, but I think that they wanted to keep the authenticity and the spirit of Silent Hill the game, so it kind of runs along parallel with that, so I think the fans and anyone for that matter, but particularly fans, will be pleased with that. I think they were pleased with the last one and this one is really gonna squeeze everything it can out of it, this time director has got some really juicy, shocking, jump out your seat moments.
And your character is the same one from the first film but…
With a different name! Everybody has got a different name and I’m just getting confused! [laughs] I think I was Anton Da Silva, or was it Paul?
I thought it was [at the same time we both say] Christopher…
Christopher, yeah that’s right! [a deep throaty laugh] I just did about 15 interviews, telling everyone it was Paul or Anton! Yeah Chris Da Silva and I’m now called… oh come on (the girl behind us prompts ‘Harry’) Harry Mason! [another deep laugh and he thanks the PR]
And it’s a bit more of proactive part in this one?
Yeah to some extent, he’s a man that’s already been through the experience with his wife being drawn into Silent Hill and the obsession and all the horror of that. His priority now is to keep his daughter on the straight and narrow and try and bring her up as a relatively normal, well-adjusted child and so that’s his driving force. They have to keep moving along every now and then because of the danger that still exists and then we realise that she’s also got this obsession and draws diagrams and writing that are quite disturbing and then the next thing you know, she’s trying to get to Silent Hill [chuckles].
I’ve been following Michael J Bassett’s career for some years now and he really knows his genre work, especially his horror…
Spot on, he’s really spot on with it.
And how was he to work with?
He’s really good, very friendly, full of enthusiasm, really kind of laid back. A laid back guy from the UK, we had a good time, some laughs, I mean it was all horror and stuff but ironically you tend to have more laughter making those sorts of films. It’s only at the end when you actually see it, how disturbing it all is! [laughs] We got on fine, he’s the sort of guy you’d like to work with again if he does the next one. He’s good, he knows his onions as it were.
And Kit Harrington’s in this one, because he was…
My bastard son in Game Of Thrones!
[The comment that catches me so off guard that I burst out laughing very loudly]
I was going to say illegitimate!
[Laughs] Yeah, once you got over the initial change of characters that we both play it was alright, you know, it was a bit weird at first going from wearing robes and beards and (having) swords and horses, to wearing jeans and leather jackets! But he was fine and he was good, yeah.
When I spoke you last time it was before Game Of Thrones had come out and no one really had any concept of how big it was going to be, it must have been really gratifying to see how successful it’s become?
Yeah, that’s right. It was successful and it took off and is still going, I mean it’s like Lord Of The Rings, you don’t realise it’s going to be as epic and as popular – I mean you’ve got the Lord Of The Rings books, so you know it’s going to have some impact, but it was bigger than we thought. It was the same with Game Of Thrones you know, I read the book and it describes what would happen, but didn’t realise it would take off so successfully.
It caught me by surprise even though I had friends that loved the books and wanted me to ask you about Game Of Thrones last time, but I had no real concept of what to ask!
I’d not read them until I actually started doing it, I thought ‘oh I’m getting into it now’ and then there’s so many more of them, he’s just been writing them all the time! [laughs]
*Game Of Thrones SPOILERS start*
And it’s a bit of a shame because obviously you can’t be involved anymore…
Well it’s a good thing and a bad thing, I mean I enjoyed working on it and working with the directors and the cast, they were great, the crew, we were over in Belfast but it was freezing over there working at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, it was pretty bleak! [chuckles] And so I don’t miss the weather so much, but I do miss being there and working with them, but it was good [for me] to have a story and it was an arc, my character went from the beginning to the end and that was it. It’s good to, in a sense, be able to complete something and be proud of it and then to move on to something else, rather than being involved for too many years.
And it was such an impact as well when your end came…
And it was a surprise as well, quite shocking…
Oh yeah! I remember my wife and I screaming at the TV when it happened!
[Laughs] People didn’t expect it to happen and that’s what I liked about it, because they’d get rid of leading characters and they’d just get somebody else in!
With it being 50 years of James Bond, I wondered if you remember any pressure on you and Pierce Brosnan, as you were both responsible for playing the two leads back when GoldenEye was the first re-launch of Bond for years?
Yeah, it was the first one that Pierce Brosnan had played Bond, and obviously he had a lot of pressure on him, but he coped very well with it and turned out to be a great Bond. At the same time I felt a certain pressure playing a baddie, a Bond baddie, alongside him the first time, but he was quite cool about it and I think that kind of rubbed off on me. I think we just thought let’s approach it like a job, we won’t let the pressure or anything get to us, any pre-conceptions or expectations and get on with it and that’s what we did and it was great. I have fond memories of that.
Any memory that stands out in particular?
I suppose the first time, the first scene that we did, when we’re in that chemical factory, an armaments factory and just being there and playing alongside Bond, saying “James, I’ll see you in five minutes!” [laughs] It’s quite hard to believe you’re actually doing it, you finish, they say cut, you sit down and talk and think, “That’s it, I’ve started, it’s the start of the film, I’m really playing a bad guy and Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond” – it’s just quite thrilling.
I was writing about seeing GoldenEye for the first time the other day, and all the excitement a new Bond brings, and there seems to have been a Bond for every stage in my life…
There is isn’t there? And it was Timothy Dalton before him, wasn’t it? I think Pierce kind of brought it back to the zippy, funny…
I thought he had a nice mix of the different styles, so he had a bit of the brutality, the charm, the humour…
Yeah he was tough, but he had the charm didn’t he?
And what do you make of Skyfall, the new Daniel Craig one?
I’ve not seen it, but I’ve heard it’s really good. I like Daniel Craig, I worked with him on Sharpe, one of the very early ones, maybe the second one we did – Sharpe’s Revenge? A long, long time ago and he was good in that then. He’s always been an actor that stands out, and I remember when he first got Bond and people were slagging him off before he’d even started, and he’s managed to turn that around and stick it back up ‘em! And he’s probably one of the best Bond’s that’s ever been.
It always makes me embarrassed as a movie geek when people are critical of something before they’ve seen it…
Yeah, I know I remember all that that and thinking, “well, wait and see”, and he was good… and he is! Good on him.
Slightly odd question – there’s a Lego figure of Boromir. Is it strange to see yourself as a Lego figure?
[Laughs] I’ve not seen the Lego one, no. I’ve seen some other ones from a few years ago, models that moved their arms and things, but I haven’t seen the Lego one!
It just came out this year…
[Shocked] Really? Made out of Lego? That must be difficult [to make], it must be tiny pieces! Wow, I’ll have to have a look for it in a toyshop!
You’ve worked in so many genres in your career, is there still one you haven’t done that you’d like to?
I’d like to do a cowboy film I suppose, I’ve come close to it on occasion, but not really to a classic cowboy film. But there’s a film I’m looking at which might be going ahead next year, in Vancouver, called Scorched Earth and it’s set in the future. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that Doomsday Preppers where they prepare for the end of the world. In [the script] it’s actually happened and so everyone goes around on a horse, like you used to, and they’re cowboys, and my character’s a bounty hunter. That’s something that I’d like to do. It’s a great story, as is the script I’ve read, so they’re hoping to get that together by early next year – so maybe I’ll play a cowboy…
That’d be great!
Yeah, it’d be brilliant!
Also, has anyone approached you about The Expendables 3, talking of genre movies?
No, I don’t know why.
I thought you’d be a natural fit as you’ve done your fair share of action and it’s an ensemble piece…
Yeah, yeah… I wonder when they’re doing that?
I’m not sure when they’re planning on it… [but if EX3 goes ahead, then Stallone should seriously get him on board] and according to IMDB you’ve also got a film called The 4th Reich in the pipeline? [as it is also supposed to star Sean Pertwee I was going to ask him about their combined mortality rate, but he said…]
[Slightly despairing] Oh, I don’t know what’s happening with that! [chuckles] I mean that’s been going on for a couple of years, so I don’t know where they are with that at the moment, but that’s okay, it’s just I’m not quite sure if it’s going ahead or not. It’s like a lot of things, you know, they say they’re going ahead and then I suppose they have to get the finance and investors. So a lot these days, you tend look at things and think it would be good if it goes ahead, but don’t bank on it.
[I get the last question prompt] Slightly off topic, but it’s a question we tend to run on the site – do you have a favourite Jason Statham film?
[After a slightly confused pause, a long drawn out] Err… no! [laughs] nothing springs to mind at the moment! [a long and deep laugh]
Sean Bean, thank you very much!
Silent Hill: Revelation is out today in UK cinemas.
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