Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Bean?

By Traci Moore

As we anxiously await the release of Ca$h, we want to take the time for you to get to know Sean Bean a little better. Although he has been a big star in the UK for quite some time, his career spanning nearly 25 years in film alone, there are audiences outside Britain who are still unfamiliar with his huge body of work.

Today we launch the beginning of our foray into the nature of Sean Bean’s work, focusing on what you see is only the tip of the iceberg in what you get with an actor of his skill and talent. Keep your eye on him; you never know which way he might turn. And that’s a good thing.

In Ca$h, we know we will be treated to two sides of a character, a welcome challenge to Sean Bean. In today’s post we are going to dig back a ways, to give you an inside glimpse of a few characters Sean has shown before.

In 1991’s Tell Me That You Love Me, he plays Gabriel Lewis, a man who on the surface seems like every woman’s dream come true. But as the relationship progresses, he stops being supportive and loving and becomes jealous, possessive and finally obsessive,

It’s a hallmark of Sean’s talent to go seamlessly from the charming, suave, sophisticated persona into the frenzied, driven personality who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

However, is Lewis such a bad guy?

"Yes, he's a nutter, he goes too far, but I usually find a quality I like in a role I play,"
says 32-year-old Bean. "I like him. This guy is screwed up, but he's not deliberately nasty - he's not a villain; he's a bit sad."
On screen, however, he relishes playing the oddball. "Everyone's got an obsessive, manic streak in them somewhere, and it just depends on how virulent it is," he says. "The man I play in Tell Me That You Love Me is just more manic than most of us."
Yorkshire Post 31 August 1991

Extremely Dangerous (1999)

Convicted of the shocking and gruesome slaughter of his wife and young daughter, Neil Byrne (Sean Bean) jumps off a speeding train and escapes into the night, leaving behind only his guards and a paperback novel. As Byrne goes undercover, taking on former acquaintances of a ruthless organised crime syndicate and evading capture by their mobs, the police and sinister government agencies, we begin to learn more details of his crime, and the significance of the missing paperback. Protested innocence seems an irrelevance as unseen masters use Byrne and his pursuers as expendable pawns in a chilling battle to protect deeper, darker secrets.

In this scene, DI Danny Ford (Sean Gallagher), who put Byrne away for killing his wife and daughter, struggles to reason with the escaped convict. Audiences aren’t quite sure whether to believe Byrne’s protestations of guilt or to agree with Ford. Bean’s countenance registers layers of emotion, dealing with Byrne’s graphic and painful memories, as the Detective Inspector details the history of the conviction.

"I liked trying to get into this man's head and what was going on in his mind. He’s been through this awful tragedy, this intense trauma where he's getting flashbacks and he's not quite sure himself that he hasn’t committed a crime."
Leicester Mercury November 11, 1999

Later in the story, we see Byrne deal with a couple of thugs out to rob the mini cab service where he is working undercover:

Neil Byrne is a volatile personality, capable of great anger and violence. Is this a psychopath capable of cold-blooded murder or an ordinary man driven to the edge by other people’s machinations? As the audience, we never know what Bean is capable of, but we are never disappointed. He always keeps us guessing.

Stay tuned as we continue to bring you more insight into the career of Sean Bean, featuring his thoughts on his chosen profession and the degree of focus and professionalism he puts into his roles. Something that many perhaps more well known names do not come close to by comparison. But don’t just take our word for it. All you need do it watch and listen.


  1. Interesting clips. I'd never seen Tell Me You Love Me before, and it was interesting seeing how the below-the-surface simmering erupts during the second clip. Thanks for posting these.

  2. I love Sean with his long hair. His obvious talent you've profiled will really shine in the new movie!

  3. Thanks for this. I had quite forgotten about this film.A good crit and well chosen clips. Does have a tendency to play chameleons, doesn't he?

  4. Thanks, I had forgotten how good he was in Tell Me You Love me. I like the clip form ED , really like him in the part ( story was good too) April