Posted by Rebecca-Jane Joseph on January 21, 2011

As the snow fell over Elephant and Castle in December HeyUGuys ducked out of the cold to catch up with Sean Bean on the set of his latest film Cleanskin. Whilst writer, director and producer Hadi Hajaig and the crew busied themselves against the weather and all odds setting up various impressive stunts and action-packed scenes, Sean told us a bit more about his role and the story behind CleanskinÖ
What is Cleanskin all about?
Itís essentially about terrorism and anti-terrorism. I play a character called Ewan Keane who has a lot of experience in that kind of work through MI5 and MI6. Heís a soldier Ė heís been over to Iraq and to the Middle East and seen some pretty shocking things in his time. In a sense, his is a personal vendetta despite his professional approach. Heís seen many people die at the hand of terrorism and his main aim in life is to correct that and rectify the situation. Heís very driven in that sense but heís a very lonely man. He doesnít have any attachments, he lives alone and heís not got a social life as such. Heís anonymous.
Ewan has seen a lot of trauma then, how did you prepare for the role?
Mostly by gleaning what I could from reading the script very closely and talking to Hadi about his research. That and my research, reading up on the current state of thingsÖ You only need to read the papers to realize the social and political situation and the questions and arguments surrounding these issues. Whether itís right or wrong itís always with us and itís definitely something which affects us all.
Terrorism has become a highly topical issue and there is a real emphasis upon it in todayís culture, how do you think this might affect Cleanskinís reception?
Hopefully in a positive way because Cleanskin is an interesting and intelligent film. Itís action-packed without being heavy-handed and itís entertaining but thoughtful. I think people will be able to identify with all of the characters including my character and Abhinís character Ash who are practically polar opposites. Whatever way you look at it youíll have an opinion one way or another and itís a very mixed up situation which has been going on for years and yearsÖ Itís a battle which travels right back to Richard the Lion Heart and the Crusades and that ideological and religious conflict hasnít ever really gone away. Itís nothing new in that sense.
So youíve played a lot of villains in the past and you were once the defected double agent Alec Trevelyan but in Cleanskin youíre the hero, whatís it like playing the good guy?
Itís good (laughs) itís refreshing! I like playing the bad guy, the bad guy got me a lot of work and a lot of exposure.
It must be good fun being bad?
It is! You can push the boat out and really go to town. Theyíre very meaty, juicy parts sometimes but I like to try and mix it up and Iíve played some pretty decent people recently which Iím quite pleased about. Ewan is an anti-hero in some sense as he can be very brutal in his methods in order to get what he wants.
Are there any impressive stunts we can look forward to in Cleanskin?

The film is quite physical. We set the stuntman Peter on fire not too long ago and he was running around like a fire ball! Some of the action is quite disturbing and brutal in order to show the methods needed to counteract the terrorist action. Fighting fire with fire really but the plot kind of leaves things open. I like this script because itís very open-ended. Itís up to you to make your mind up and for the audience to see how they feel.
Do you get to perform any of your own stunts?
Most of the time. If itís really dodgy stuff like jumping off the top of huge buildings or being set on fire Iím happy to get somebody else who knows what theyíre doing to do it! Iíve done a lot of sword-fighting and horse-riding and I enjoy that very much.
Which of your recent projects are you most looking forward to seeing come out?
Well, Cleanskin obviously!
Do you enjoy being involved in British cinema?
Itís always nice to be at home and I enjoy working with a British crew, I feel more comfortable around them, also thereís nobody shouting! Sometime you get crews in America who tend to like shouting a lot in order to get things moving whereas these guys (gestures towards the set) just get on with the job. Itís small and more intimate on set and I think you do some of your better work on these of films. Just havenít got enough money! (laughs)
Youíve come from theatre and film but are you making more of a move into TV?
Iíll just see what comes up really. I donít have a set game plan and I like the surprise of what comes up. Iíd never say no to an invitation to come back on stage for a good play and a good director with a good script because thatís a truly exhilarating experience. Itís rather different from the situation weíre in now where itís snowing and weíre not doing anything at all! (laughs) Weíre just hanging around.

Are there any characters youíd revisit if you could?
Iíd have to say Macbeth which I played on stage in the West End. It was always a role Iíd have liked to play in a film. I think there was an attempt at one point but unfortunately it all fell through.
Are you looking forward to Christmas and the New Year?
I finish tomorrow and Iím just going to have a bit of a break to be honest. Iíve been running around so many places, the Ukraine, Norway, South Africa, Ireland, and all over the place! Iíve hardly been at home this year so Iím looking forward to spending a little time with the kids.
Cleanskin will be showing at Cannes Film Festival in May 2011.
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