Time after time, Sean Bean has given quietly perfect performances. That's something that seems to fit the actor and his roles, including "Game of Thrones" hero Ned Stark. "He exemplified Ned, that quiet strength," Michelle Fairley, who played his wife, said in "Inside Game of Thrones" (Chronicle Books, 2012). "He may not be much of a talker, but he can do a lot with a look."
Bean definitely isn't a talker, but with help from his colleagues, he told about "Legends," an excellent TNT series that starts Wednesday (Aug. 13); here's the story I sent to papers
By MIKE HUGHES
Sean Bean has raged across the centuries, making war and
He’s been Zeus and Odysseus and Major Richard Sharpe, galloping
through the Napoleonic wars. He’s been Lady Chatterley’s lover, Anna Karenina’s
lover, Lorna Doone’s nemesis.
His Ned Stark was the soul of “Game of Thrones,” until he
was killed. He led a revolt in “Henry VIII,” until he was killed. He was
Boromir in “Lord of the Rings,” until he was killed. “I’ve died a lot of
different deaths,” said Bean, who’s reportedly been killed at least 20 times on
film. “(But) I’m still here.”
Now he stars in cable’s “Legends” cable series, the ideal
job for the guy who’s played everything. “I think one of the attractions was
playing multiple characters, which I have never done before,” he said.
This is a story about FBI undercover work. We first see him
as Lincoln Dittman -- a militia member, shy and stuttering. “People think he’s
a bit goofy, a bit slow,” Bean said.
Except that’s just an undercover identity for the FBI’s
Martin Odum …. and some people aren’t sure he’s really Odum, either. “His
identity is kind of the driving question,” said producer David Wilcox.
Odum has propelled different stories about who he is and
where he’s from. “You watch Martin Odum really transform himself into these
different legends that he’s created,” said co-star Ali Larter.
This character needs to be the consummate actor; so does the
man who plays him. “To watch Sean morph into these different people is incredible
to watch,” Larter said. “I don’t think you’ve seen someone of this quality take
on a role like this.”
Here’s an actor who fits the battlefield. He “belongs to a
rare, dying breed – the believable, manly tough guy …. Sean can make you
believe he’s a man who’s made his place in the world killing people,” D.B.
Weiss, the “Game of Thrones” producer, said in “Inside Game of Thrones”
(Chronicle Books, 2012).
His rough image fits him well. Bean grew up in Yorkshire and
sometimes worked in his dad’s fabrication company. He studied welding, dropped
out of several schools and divorced four times. At first, Hollywood kept making
him a villain, battling Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games”), Nicolas Cage (“National
Treasure”), Ewan McGregor (“The Island”) and Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond (“GoldenEye”).
But there’s a flip side. Bean is Royal Academy of Dramatic
Art grad who became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He’s done “Romeo
and Juliet” and “Macbeth” and more.
Some British actors take pride in shaking a role off when
the camera stops; some Americans try to immerse themselves deeply. Bean calls
himself “kind of in-between,” but may lean to immersion.
“It is sometimes hard to switch off,” he said. “The more
intense the production is … there is a residue that you take home with you …. You
have to shake it off, to live with your family.”
Martin Odum – like Bean, a man who’s always acting – has
trouble shaking it off. He strains for a relationship with his ex-wife and his
son; he struggles to be himself … whoever that might be.
“Legends,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays, TNT, rerunning at
Opener (Aug. 13) also runs at 10 a.m. Saturday,
then late-night Saturday (technically, 12:31 a.m. Sunday); also, late-night
Sunday (12:31 a.m. Monday) on TBS.