As one of the very few women on the mining crew and the only female union rep since her devoted partner Kyle (Lord of the Rings' Sean Bean) was injured at work and permanently sidelined, Glory offers an honest picture of the pros and cons of the job. It's tough, exhausting physical labor that will leave her muscles aching. The plant is grimy and dank, the pit can be treacherous and the air thick with soot, but that's not the worst of it. The predominately male workforce isn't exactly welcoming.
As Glory's illness progresses, she relies more upon Kyle, played by British actor Sean Bean, well known to American audiences for his role as the warrior Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which earned him a SAG Award) and as Odysseus in Troy, as well as a series of memorable villains in GoldenEye, Patriot Games and Don't Say a Word.
Kyle is introduced in the film as the stay-at-home partner in the relationship, sidelined some time earlier by a mining injury at the same company where Glory now "drives truck." In a traditional role reversal that a less confident man might not have been able to accept, Kyle maintains their home and keeps a low profile - as well as taking the occasional potshots from his former crewmates with grace - while Glory gains momentum at the mine. Then, as Glory develops ALS and starts to lose control over elements of her life, their roles shift again and Kyle takes charge. As McDormand says, "he rises and becomes her voice."
"Sean has such sensitivity as an actor," says Caro. "I'm surprised that he's played so many bad guys on screen. His Kyle is tireless and genuine, every woman's dream; a confident man who is also incredibly gentle. His story is entirely subtextual but vital and very moving. The relationship between Kyle and Glory is one of love and romance. Sean brings a powerful humanity to the character and his situation."
SEAN BEAN (Kyle) gained international recognition for his work as Boromir in the Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, starring in both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. But while Boromir may be his best known role to date, that portrayal is only one in a career that includes 40 films, acclaimed stage performances, and one of the most successful television franchises in British television history.
Originally from Sheffield, Bean worked with his father as a welder before turning to acting, and even in his most sophisticated roles he retains the hard masculine edge of a man who once sweated for a living. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and then moved to film and a breakout role in 1990's The Field, opposite Richard Harris, in the unforgettable and critically acclaimed drama. In 1992, he won rave reviews in Patriot Games, starring opposite Harrison Ford in a provocative and complex portrayal of the tragic antagonist.
A detour from feature films came when he was cast as Bernard Cornwall's beloved hero of the Napoleonic Wars, Richard Sharpe. Like the novel on which it was based, the 1993 telefilm Sharpe's Rifles was so popular that it spawned sequel after sequel, and by 1997, with 15 Sharpe films completed, Bean was one of the best known and most sought after stars in the UK, with legions of fans and a thousand websites devoted to following his every move.
After the last Sharpe, it was back to feature film, where he dazzled audiences in films as varied as Tom & Thomas, Essex Boys, Ronin and Anna Karennina. He most recently starred in the blockbuster National Treasure, opposite Nicolas Cage for director Jon Turteltaub, and in The Island with fellow Brit Ewan McGregor. Other recent films include a most heroic Odysseus in Wolfgang Petersen's epic Troy, with Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom; the independent The Big Empty, with Jon Favreau; the sci-fi thriller Equilibrium with Christian Bale; and Don't Say a Word, opposite Michael Douglas.
On stage, he won rave reviews last year in London's West End in an acclaimed production of Macbeth, in which he starred opposite Samantha Bond. Classically trained, he also recently worked in Henry VIII for Granada, opposite Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter, and has appeared in many productions at The Royal Court Theatre, Glasgow Citizen Theatre, and the RSC.
His upcoming films include Flightplan, with Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard, set for fall 2005; and Silent Hill, opposite Radha Mitchell, to be released in early 2006.
Voted by readers of Empire Magazine "the second sexiest man in England," Bean escapes madness by working non-stop in films around the world, and rooting for Sheffield United wherever satellite reception allows.
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