|Scott Tenorman - Friday, February 3, 2006
Actor Sean Bean's big break came when he played Mellors in the 1993 TV adaptation of Lady Chatterley. He played Boromir in The Lord Of The Rings and Odysseus in Troy, in addition to a wide range of stage roles. The three-times divorced star, 46, and long-time Sheffield United football club supporter stars in North Country, which is released today.
Your character in North Country is a sensitive sort. Would you still play a villain?
Yes, because I've played some good guys recently, so it has balanced itself out a little bit. Look at Anthony Hopkins doing Hannibal Lecter. You couldn't turn something like that down. The characters have to have some substance, rather than be caricatured bad guys.
The film's received some Bafta and Golden Globes nominations. You must be pleased.
You can't be in something brilliant artistically and commercially every time you do a film but you can be in something you feel strongly about. I've felt strongly about everything I've done but that's especially true of North Country.
You've worked with Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand on North Country, as well as Jodie Foster. Are they similar?
Some of them have quite a large entourage but, in terms of the actual acting, we're all in the same boat. Jodie is quiet, private and very focused on her work. Charlize is great but I got to know Frances better. She's very down to earth, very pragmatic, very realistic. She made quite a big impression on me. She's very: 'F**k it, come on guys, let's go out and have a beer.'
Do you ever look at website Worldwide Bean Alerts?
Really? Is there one? Are you serious?
It's weird, isn't it? I'm useless with computers and stuff. I sometimes ask my children what's happening with me on the Internet - you know, where am I? What am I doing? That sort of stuff.
You were recently voted the second sexiest Brit on a fan website.
Yeah, but who was first?
I thought it f**king might have been.
You've spent a lot of time in the US lately. Do you have a big house in LA?
I don't have a house there. It's just an added responsibility. I've got a place in London I like, so I don't really want to mess about with anything else.
Don't you get sick of hotels?
Oddly, no. I think I was the only one in The Lord Of The Rings who stayed in hotels for a year. Everyone else had houses or apartments. You just don't have to do anything, do you? You just do what you want and they come and clean it up.
Are you one of those actors who wants to work all the time?
I do like working. I love the process. I find it's really satisfying, rewarding and exhilarating. I like to have time off too because I have lots of other interests - football, cricket, boxing, seeing my friends. I got to see the last minute of the Ashes in the British Airways lounge at Heathrow then had to get on the plane for LA.
Is it true you and Peter O'Toole are cricket buddies?
Yes, I had lunch with him not long ago. He's a massive Yorkshire and England cricket fan. He's even done a coaching course. He's obsessed with it.
So you've been friends since you made Troy?
Yeah, I've not known him too long but I feel like I have. He was like an inspiration to me as a child, a real hero, so to work with him was incredible. The first time I met him was on the Troy set in Malta and he came into the dressing room holding a cigarette holder, wearing a dressing gown, sandals and a T-shirt with a picture of Darren Gough on it. I thought: 'F**k! Peter O'Toole. This is brilliant.'
Do you get recognised a lot when you go out?
It's sort of a mix. Most people leave me alone. I go to Sheffield and lots of people know who I am. They're old friends but it's different in London. If I go to a pub in the West End at 10.55pm, I'm asking for it but most people are complimentary and I do appreciate that.
You worked as a welder in Sheffield. How have your old friends reacted to your acting?
At first, it was a bit dodgy. They thought I was a bit of a fairy but I was determined to do what I wanted to do - and that's what I wanted to do, so I did it. I come from a very working-class background, so it was quite a strange thing to say to my parents: 'I'm going to go to London and be an actor.' They were kind of: 'What are you on about?'
How has your experience with the tabloids been?
I've not really been pursued by them. I seem to have quite a good relationship with them in that I don't seem to be in them very much, which is probably what constitutes a good relationship. I think they're OK with me and I'm OK with them.
Any truth to the rumour that you're getting married again (to actress Georgina Sutcliffe)?
No. I've had my fair share of that. Never say never but I certainly have no plans to get married.
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