| Sean Bean
On the set in Austin, Texas: June, 2006
BD: Weíve been watching some of your stuff on the monitor down there, itís hot down there.
SB: Oh, youíve been down there?
BD: Yeah, we were watching your altercation with Zach.
BD: So howís the shoot going for you so far?
SB: Good, Iíve been here just over a week now and weíve done quite a fair amount of work. I mean, we started up with a scene, it was the scene in the car with Jim and Grace when we first meet and so you know, we did a big chunk there. Which was probably good because we didnít really know each other in the scene and we didnít really know each other as people, so thatís good. Itís been really good and really exciting. It really comes alive, really comes off the page.
BD: Had you seen the original film?
SB: Yes, how long ago was it?
BD: Almost 20 years ago.
SB: Yeah, I went to see it at the cinema and it made quite an impression.
BD: Did you revisit it at all before this?
SB: No, that was the last time I saw it, maybe 15-20 years ago, when it first came out in cinemas. And you know when I was going to start doing this, I didnít really want to revisit it at all because I thought it was a good film and an exciting film, I just didnít want to have something in my head that wasnít going to be in this film. I always sort of like to make the part mine rather than seeing someone else play a role and then recreating that.
BD: Does that come from your background in theater? Because I know that a lot of theater actors believe that no one actor owns a role, they kind of rent it for a while.
SB: Yeah, I suppose with something like film, itís different because doing something like Lord of the Rings, for instance, Iím playing a character in that, itís something you donít very often get the chance to do and thatís sort of set in film for the next 20 years or whenever they decide to make another Lord of the Rings, which you know, is probably doubtful in the near future. So I suppose with theater you can, like Shakespeare, thereís many people that play many parts like Macbeth and Hamlet, Othello, people are always playing those parts all over all over the place, whereas on film, in something like ďThe HitcherĒ itís something thatís being done on stage or anything. And so itís good to have to opportunity to do something like this and sort of stamp your authority on it and create a character.
BD: What do you see as John Ryder, your characterís motivations for terrorizing these kids?
SB: Weíre still sort of figuring that out at the moment. Itís kind of a journey for him, itís probably a journey heís done before and I think he just feels kind of frustrated and amused by the fact that he can get away with anything and nobodyís stopping him. Heís pushing the boundaries and nobodyís pushing back. He wants to know where to stop and when to stop and how to stop. I think heís kind of happy about it but he thinks if thereís someone up there or some kind of spirit, then why is he not stopping me from doing what Iím doing? Who is going to stop me from doing what Iím doing? Maybe I see Grace as a woman who can but you know, itís not in the text, itís not mentioned of him having a previous life. I imagine him as sort of a ghostly character that lives in the shadows that does this thing probably on a quite regular basis and gets away with it and sees no reason to stop and he probably gets pleasure from it and finds some sort of peace in that experience.
BD: Heís kind of a traveling angel of death type character?
SB: Yeah, heís not particularly vicious. I donít even know if you ever see him killing anyone in this film. In fact, you donít see him killing anyone, you see the aftermath and you see the results of what heís done. But heís not a particularly angry man or a vicious killer, heís very controlled, methodical and quite charming in a sense.
BD: He seems like heís inhabiting his own realm, heís just on a different plane .
SB: Yeah, heís on a different level really I suppose.
BD: In the original film, in the first scene where he meets the C. Thomas Howell character, thereís immediately a disturbing presence about him, does your interpretation of the character start off as a friendly guy and then he segways into who he really is as something darker or is he menacing from the minute he gets into that car?
SB: Sort of. Heís pretty lucid at the beginning, seems pretty friendly, a quite affable guy, the sort of guy that you maybe would give a lift to a motel. I didnít want to sort of start him off as the bad guy right from the beginning, I think itís more interesting to seeÖthereís not much time to show his friendly side so I thought Iíd make the most of it at the beginning and try to portray other aspects of his character, the more human side to his character. From then on, once they give him the lift, heís pretty ruthless.
BD: What was it about the role or the project in general that attracted you? I know that you were just coming off another movie and you were probably very tired from that production so what was it that grabbed you and made you say youíre going to do this?
SB: I just read the script and I was very excited by it. It was a real page turner and it was very exciting and I thought there was a lot I could do with the part that wasnít restricted in what you could do. There wasnít a lot of exposition to the character, you donít have to explain things, he just is who he is, therefore that gives you a kind of freedom to experiment and try things out. I thought there was a lot of potential there and working with Dave, Iíve worked with Michael Bay before and I enjoyed that experience. With Dave, heís got such good ideas, heís very stylish, very inventive, and I think with the script being so good I thought a combination of those factors made it very appealing to me. And itís something unusual, itís not very often you get to play this sort of phantom of death and the opportunity to take things to extremes which I like to do if at all possible.
BD: A lot of the other actors and the producers commented on how well you can be in the character and be evil and then snap out of it and ask ďare you okay?Ē How do you manage that as an actor to go between evil villain and the normal you?
SB: Iíve never found it a problem really, there are some characters where youíre working very intensely for a certain amount of time where you take away some residue of that character and that can filter into your everyday life but Iíve always found it quite easy to snap in and out of a character. I try to find out as much as I can about what Iím doing, do my research and study so that when it comes to the moment of really putting it on the floor and acting, I kinda know what Iím doing. I think itís too much to carry that weight of a character around in your daily life. I just think I can compartmentalize that I suppose which I always have done.
BD: Do you think that actors that do carry it with them, is that a sort of narcissistic or self-destructive behavior for them to bring it home with them? Should they be able to turn it on and off?
SB: I donít know, I suppose every actor has their own approach to their work, it just happens that I try to distinguish between reality and fiction. I feel that otherwise, being the person that I am, I would get a little disturbed by it. I mean, everyone has their own approach and that has to be respected. Every one has their own method of work and as long as you portray it as truthfully as possible and immerse yourself in your work when the crunch comes then it doesnít really matter how you approach.
BD: Are you more at peace now with the idea the Hollywood has generally cast you as the heavy, even though overseas youíre Sharpe?
SB: I donít really have a problem with that. I really enjoy playing these kind of sinister, idiosyncratic roles which have got meat and juice to them. So you know, I donít have a problem with that and I feel as though I can flip from one to another, I have the ability to do that. So itís not as though I have a problem being the bad guy. Itís just the way youíre perceived in certain circles, perhaps in Hollywood Iím seen as kind of a bad guy because Iíve played a lot of good bad guys, if you know what I mean, successful bad guys, convincing bad guys, so therefore I suppose people approach you to play them again.
BD: A lot of the villains youíve played are kind of justified in what theyíre doing, at least in their own mind. Thereís an emotional justification for what theyíre doing, whether itís in Patriot Games or even in GoldenEye. Is that something youíre cognizant of when youíre picking villain roles or is it just so happens that thatís kind of how it is?
SB: I suppose itís more of a rounded character, more three-dimensional character. You do look for the human qualities and virtues if youíre playing a villain especially. Everybodyís got that capacity for the dark side, for hatred, and anger and darkness, I think itís just a matter of what level itís at. You know, we all feel that at some point in our lives and I suppose for some people, you feel it more than others, I mean, the characters that Iíve played have often felt it quite a lot.
BD: Did you audition for the role of Bond back in í87 or something and what do you think of Daniel Craig?
SB: No, I didnít audition for it, there were sort of rumors going around that I was up for the part and I mightíve been at the time. I was before I played 006, that sort of put the kibosh on me playing Bond. Many actors look to play James Bond, so no exception, but I thought Pierce Brosnan made a great Bond and I enjoyed working with him on GoldenEye. And I think they made a good choice with Daniel Craig. I worked with him on Sharpe, he was in that, and I met him on several occasions over the last few years and I think heíll do a good job. He looks the part.
BD: Do you have any favorite villain characters? In your head, whoís the quintessential bad guy?
SB: I remember Boris Karloff and all those kinds of guys, I used to watch all those films and I suppose those spring to mind. And Anthony Hopkins in ďSilence of the LambsĒ, I think he played that to perfection. I mean James Cagney and Edward G. Roberts and all of those guys, I know they played bad guy gangsters, but at that rate, with a very believable, human side to them and charm. You could go with them and sympathize with them and thatís something I try and do, try and make people sympathize with your cause, even though itís not a very admirable one. Youíve got to allow people to get into your world and feel sorry.
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