Daily Post (Liverpool, England); 4/1/2006
IN the past few years Sean Bean has barely stopped working. He's starred in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and in the past year alone has made four back-to-back movies.
But, surprisingly, it wasn't that long ago that offers dried up for the talented actor after a stint playing TV swashbuckler Sharpe.
"It was only back in 1999. I'd finished Sharpe and it was really hard to get work," he says. "I was out of work for almost a year. Basically I'd been typecast."
In the end the Sheffield-born star, 47 later this month, was forced to leave Britain and head for Hollywood - a move that really paid off.
Almost immediately, he landed himself a starring role as Boromir in the phenomenally successful The Lord Of The Rings, and has worked solidly ever since.
But despite settling in sunny LA, the down-to-earth star remains patriotically committed to his Sheffield roots. And recently he proved his passion for his beloved Sheffield United football team by becoming a director of the club- he even has the team's logo tattooed on his shoulder.
Though he admits his first goal was always to play for the club, Bean eventually set his heart on becoming an actor. "Where I come from it was regarded as a bit fairyish, sort of poncy thing," he says laughing.
"But I didn't really care, I felt so secure with it. And it was good-humoured as well. I can still go back home and they take the piss, you know.
"I'd rather have it like that than people be too reverential."
Despite being naturally shy, he's become one of our favourite baddies, with villainous roles in movies including Goldeneye, Ronin and Essex Boys.
Now, though, he prefers to play characters who are a little less psychotic, such as his latest movie The Dark. Although a horror flick, Bean's character James is a normal down-to-earth guy.
"It really is nice to play just an ordinary guy," he smiles. "I do like playing villains but it's nice to have a break from that.
"James is a very free-spirited sort of guy. He's a sculptor and interested in very artistic things. He loves to be on his own in the wilderness."
Filmed on the Isle of Man and based on a Welsh novel called Sheep, by writer Simon Maginn, the movie stars Bean as a recently separated man who moves to Wales to find solace.
But when his wife Adele (Maria Bello) turns up with their 12-year-old daughter the family are suddenly plunged into a nightmare world of evil and demented sheep! "Yes, it's true," laughs Bean, "Weird things happen with the sheep, it's all very strange."
Despite the bonkers flock, the actor admits he was so freaked out by the script he didn't dare read it at night.
"I started reading the script at 6pm and it got towards the end and I was going to read it in bed but thought I better read the next bit next morning. It's a very strange story and that's why I like it."
real name Shaun Mark Bean
birth date April 17 1959
significant other three times divorced, he is now dating actress Georgina Sutcliffe
career high Boromir in Lord Of The Rings
career low a year-long spell out of work after Sharpe ended in 1999
Sean Bean as James in new movie The Dark. 'Weird things happen with the sheep, it's all very strange,' he says of the film based in Wales
The Dark opens on Friday April 7
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.