|LEGENDS / 10 JUL 2014
Are we all obsessed with Bean dying?
BY ROTH CORNET
#DontKillSeanBean is the hashtag that TNT hopes will catch fire as they prepare to introduce their new series Legends. Perhaps as a result, or perhaps due to our continuing morbid curiosity with Bean's various on-screen dispatchings, the show's panel at today's TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour was dominated by questions about his chances to survive the series.
Bean stars in Legends as an undercover FBI agent who begins to suspect that his own identity may be the biggest lie - and cover - that he's ever had. The concept is an interesting mix of Total Recall and a more standard spy-series fare.
Bean was on hand along with series co-stars Ali Larter (Heroes), Morris Chesnut (V), Amber Valletta (Scandal), Steve Harris, and executive producer David Wilcox. The first order of the day was to establish whether Bean would indeed live to see the end of the first season. "That's up to David," Bean quipped. Adding that he did believe that he'd stay around for a decent period of time on this one.
"Well I've died a lot of different deaths," the actor reflected when asked why he felt that audiences were intrigued by his fictional deaths. "Maybe it's the quality of my death that they're fascinated by." When asked specifically which of his ends was the most dramatically satisfying, Bean replied, "I liked Lord of the Rings - that death was quite an epic death."
Let the LOTR vs. GOT battle begin.
Wilcox assured that Bean's iconic on-screen deaths is, "not the main reason that Sean was cast. Though he does feel that it's "a benefit in that it's going to be a fun question to play."
"Martin Odum is a man of mystery that has a past that we dig into," Wilcox said of the crux of the series. "It's a Russian Doll of who he really is. As an undercover operative who embraced various "legends" (identities) to go deep cover means that you don't necessarily know what you're getting in terms of his identity. His identity is a driving question. He's on a mission to figure that out."
The overarching story is Odum's quest to discover his real identity, but Legends also has a theoretically necessary procedural element. "In making a great show the mythology can't take over in such a way that you can't attract a new audience or grow that audience," Wilcox explained. "For new audience members, they'll be able to key in and follow that case that draws them in and then be able to pick up on the mythology."
For his part, Bean was attracted to the idea of playing multiple characters and the notion of someone embodying multiple identities and still trying to live a normal life, which the actor feels "would create incredible psychological stress."
"There is a method acting element to what Martin does," Wilcox said. Adding, "Martin can't tell his legends from his life."
In his own work, Bean looks to find a balance between a method approach and one which allows his to maintain his own identity. "We all aspire to immerse ourselves in the roles we're playing," Bean reflected. "It takes research to play the various characters and I try to keep the character and try to live it, but I don't talk to crew and cast in that accent. Sometimes it's hard to switch off. There is a residue that you bring home and that can be tricky, but you have to shake it off to be with your family."
Larter was drawn to the show both to have the opportunity to work with Bean and watch him transform himself each week and because she, "wanted to embrace a really strong woman, but also be able to embrace her vulnerable side."
"Often when there are strong female characters they are asked to cut that side off," the actress said. "I wanted to explore what makes people break." The actress also said that she also enjoys shooting guns, saying, "I've been lucky in my career to shoot gloks often."
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