Entertainment Weekly Reunion issue

EW traveled to London, Sydney, and Los Angeles to reunite the cast of The Lord of the Rings — Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Bernard Hill, Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen –and director Peter Jackson, who recalls the disorienting feeling everyone had the last day of shooting: “There were a lot of tears,” he says. “It was just very weird and sad — the feeling that we were never going to come back and do it again.”

 Scans all thanks to Pudge! Click for full size.


LOTR Official Movie Magazine


Read the full article here



LOTR Interview

Sean Bean: Man Of Steel

Elizabeth Hurley gave him her heart. Harrison Ford gave him a scar. And Sheffield gave him his accent. Simon Beckett meets LOTR:FOTR star Sean Bean finds his claims to 'ordinariness', well, extraordinary.


If it's true that the type of car you have reflects your personality, then Sean Bean's current choice of vehicle speaks volumes. Since his BMW was stolen a few months ago he has been driving a battered old H-reg Vauxhall Nova, bought for pounds 100 from friends who planned to cut off the roof and use it to transport garden rubbish. Which means for the past few weeks the star of the hugely popular Sharpe television series, who has worked alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas, has basically been driving around London in a skip.


"Have you seen my car?" he enquires, inordinately pleased with his new runabout. If there's one thing you couldn't accuse Sean Bean being pretentious. In his suede jacket, faded jeans and boots, it must be said that the 42 year -old Sheffielder looks less like an internationally successful actor than... well, someone you'd expect to see driving a 15-year-old Vauxhall. Above his left eye is a scar from where Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook during the filming of Patriot Games. Other than that, Hollywood - like everything else - doesn't appear to have put much of a dent in a persona perhaps best described as "Northern bloke".


After meeting outside the Post Office near his home in Hampstead (he can't think of anywhere else off-hand) we wander around in mutual indecision until a suitable cafe is settled on. There's a polite, unaffected diffidence about him that makes it easy to forget that this is the man who kept women glued to television screens with Sharpe, Clarissa and Lady Chatterley's Lover, or who gave Pierce Brosnan's 007 a run for his money as the villainously urbane 006 in GoldenEye.


Sipping his coffee and lighting a cigarette, he admits to being a little interviewed-out at the moment. He hasn't been back in the UK for long, attending various promotional junkets in the States for Don't Say a Word, Michael Douglas's new heist thriller in which Bean plays a criminal mastermind.


But what's causing most excitement right now is the Christmas release of The Fellow-ship of the Ring. Directed by Peter Jackson Heavenly Creatures, Braindead) this is the first installment in the long-awaited three-film adaptation of JRR Tolkein's classic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. Jackson famously took his cast, which in addition to Bean includes Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm and Liv Tyler, to the wilds of New Zealand on a marathon 18-month shoot to film all three parts of the $ 270m epic back-to-back. It was a massive logistical undertaking, and a gamble for everyone involved.


"I don't think any of us really expected what we were letting ourselves in for," says Bean, who spent a mere year in New Zealand shooting the films, interrupted only by a couple of brief visits back to the UK.


"But it was just sort of magical, to have a group of people all doing the same thing, all going in the same direction, just left on an island. A very beautiful island. They'd chopper us up to mountain tops where nobody had ever been before."

For anyone not familiar with Tolkien's novel, LOTR (as the film trilogy has become known) is a more sophisticated, darker follow-up to his children's story The Hobbit. Bean plays Boromir, a dour warrior who joins a motley band of humans, elves and hobbits charged with keeping a dark lord from laying hands on the all-powerful ring, only to find himself being corrupted by its influence. It's a project that Bean is obviously proud of. He had read the novel in the late 1980s, and when he heard rumours that a film of the book was going to be made he was keen to be involved. He met Peter Jackson in Covent Garden and read for him there. "Had to act it out a bit, you know," he says, self-consciously.


The two of them apparently hit it off, but it was another six months before the call he'd been hoping for came through. "I got the news on the phone when I was driving down the M1 with my kids in the back. I speeded up about 30 miles an hour. Unintentionally," he adds, not wanting to seem reckless.


Driving up the M1 is something he still does quite regularly, or at least as regularly as work permits. Although he admits he could no longer live in Sheffield, his ties to his home town have remained as unbroken as his accent. The son of a steel plater and a secretary, Shaun Mark Bean grew up in Handsworth, a working-class suburb. As a boy he played football, developed an undying passion for Sheffield United (he has "100% Blade" tattooed at the top of one arm) and showed no thespian inclinations whatsoever.


After leaving school at 16 with 'O' levels in art and English, Bean worked as an apprentice welder at his father's steel-fabrication business for three years. "They were great years, you know," says the man who according to OK! magazine is one the highest earners in British showbusiness. "You had to learn to get on with other fellers, you're all in this factory eight, 10 hours a day. We used to have some good laughs. But I'd got a lot of time to daydream, and I did daydream a lot. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do."


Acting was still a long way from his mind. He had always been interested in art, and describes with obvious pride how he used to exhibit pictures in an art -shop window in Sheffield: "And I sold a few, actually." It was enrolling on an art foundation course at Rotherham College that opened his eyes to the possibility of another career altogether. An acting course was being taught in the same building, and Bean found himself drawn to it. He watched for a while - "seeing how it all worked and stuff" - before changing courses.


"He wasn't particularly noticeable, other than being a lively lad. Very personable," recalls Paul Daniels, one of Bean's drama tutors from Rotherham. "You wouldn't spot him in a group." But Daniels describes watching "the penny drop" as Bean realised he had something the other students could only aspire to. "Once the lights were on him, he was just magnetic. You just totally noticed him," he says. "Yet he was clearly one of the lads outside the class. He didn't have airs and graces, because his culture wouldn't allow him to."


After only a year on the course Bean applied to, and was accepted by, Rada. "When I got the letter I was just, like, chuffed," he says, with considerable understatement. Needless to say, moving to London proved something of a culture shock. "You know, you're from quite a close-knit community and all of a sudden everything seems so big and expansive. But I enjoyed that. And at the same time I was learning about various plays and playwrights, and different types of theatre. The Restoration, and Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekov. It was a massive jolt, but a really pleasant, eye -opening one."


It wasn't quite the Pygmalion-like transformation it might appear. Bean later changed the spelling of his Christian name, but Shaun the welder remained as much a part of his psyche as Sean the actor. Unlike some of his peers (including another young hopeful called Kenneth Branagh) who toned down their regional dialects, he learnt how to speak standard English but kept his own accent - partly through his own inclination, and partly on the advice of a Rada tutor who told him it would come in useful. "If you have to learn an accent, then you go to a voice coach," Bean shrugs. "You apply yourself to it. That's acting."


When Bean talks about his acting he refers to it as his "job" or "work", as if what he does for a living is no different to putting in eight hours a day at a factory. He's no method actor, preferring to switch off when the filming stops - mostly, at least. "What do they call it, when you can tell your telly's on? Standby. It's like that," he says with a laugh. "I feel like that, with the red light on. And I can put a green light on when I want to."


Even granted that it's an actor's job to step into and out of other characters, the huge dichotomy between Bean's on-screen (or on-stage) intensity and the Yorkshire Everyman of his "resting" state seems extreme. "Sean was incredibly shy and the least flirtatious person I've ever met," says Elizabeth Hurley, who played one of Bean's conquests in the Sharpe series (a pairing that brings to mind the words "chalk" and "cheese"). "Nevertheless, I thought he was gorgeous."


No doubt quite a few women would agree with her about the latter, although the rest is hardly in keeping with the sex-symbol image of an actor who, not to put too fine a point on it, has never seemed particularly shy about getting his kit off in front of the cameras.

When Ken Russell's adaptation of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was screened in 1993, the Broadcasting Standards Council bleated that the sex-scenes featuring Bean as Mellors and Joely Richardson as his aristocratic lover were "too long" and "too rough" - a criticism presumably not shared by the show's 12.63 million viewers.


Bean seems not so much an unlikely as an indifferent sex symbol. But he's not entirely unaware of his powers. He's been married three times, the last two to actresses who evidently weren't put off by any lack of flirtation. His first wife Debra Anderson was the Sheffield girlfriend who he married pretty well at the start of his career. The marriage didn't survive his move to London, but the two have remained friendly. "I see her now, and she's great," he says earnestly.


Bean's second wife was Melanie Hill, with whom he has two daughters, Lorna, 14 and Molly, 10. They were divorced in 1997, in what was reportedly a far more acrimonious split. (Hill has been quoted as saying that she felt "like a housemaid".) Later that same year Bean married Abigail Cruttenden, his screen wife in Sharpe; timing that suspicious minds might interpret as being somewhat less than coincidental. They have a three-year-old daughter, Evie, but are now also divorced.


Bean sees his daughters regularly and says he's remained on good terms with his ex-wives, which pleases him (although he admits that it can be awkward sometimes, "with all the arranging things, organising things").


When asked whether his work complicates relationships, he stares reflectively into his coffee cup. "It can be difficult, yeah." He gives a rueful grin. "Look at my past record. I mean, there's some things where you think, 'I could have done that.' But you learn from those. You make mistakes, but you learn from them."


He doesn't go into details, but admits that spending large chunks of time away filming doesn't make for an easy home life. "You go off into you're own world, and when you come back you're still in it. You don't think you are, but you are. It's not a usual nine- to-five job where you come home, you have your tea, you watch television and go to bed. You know, see the kids, get up next morning and do the same. It's always something different. That's the beauty of it, and I wouldn't change it for anything."


Bean's professional acting debut came shortly after he graduated from Rada in 1983, when he played Tybalt in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. In 1986, Bean appeared in the RSC's production of Romeo and Juliet at the Barbican and Swan theatres, this time playing the male lead. "It was a big break for me," he concedes. "That somebody saw something in me of quality that they thought might work, I was quite surprised by that."


In 1992 Bean won the part of Peninsular War hero Richard Sharpe after the first choice, Paul McGann, injured his leg. Bean was offered the role just four days before shooting began in Russia. Sharpe went on to become a phenomenal success, running for five seasons and selling world-wide. And Bean stamped his own identity on the series from the start. Using his natural Sheffield accent, he turned what was originally conceived as a dark-haired Londoner into a dirty-blond Yorkshireman who could call an enemy a bastard with all the contempt of a Blades fan insulting a referee.


"He has a kind of third eye for what's required," says Daragh O'Malley, who played Sharpe's side-kick Sergeant Harper in the series. "He's very easy to get on with. The great passions in his life when I was with him were his family and Sheffield United. And, you know, he was fond of sessions on the high stool. We spent many hours on the bar stools and the battlefields of southern Crimea."


Despite the tough conditions the series was filmed under, the only time O'Malley heard Bean complain was when a new cast arrived on location for one episode. "After the first day Sean said to me, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I don't know, what do you think?' He said (O'Malley lowers his voice into an imitation of Bean's gruff Yorkshire) 'They're fuckin' full of luvvies!'"


Despite his Rada training, being a "luvvie" is something that no one can accuse Sean Bean off. While the actor, who learnt to box in his early teens, can "do" both sensitive and romantic (he plays a struggling artist in the yet-to-be -released children's film Tom and Thomas) he has an undeniable gift for portraying volatile characters prone to, or simply good at, violence: soldiers, warriors and just plain hard bastards.


He's had his moments off screen too. While commenting -quite mildly - that he doesn't see himself as being that way inclined now, he admits to having had a short fuse when he was younger. "I wouldn't say that's necessarily a fault. I mean, in some ways it's helped me in my work, because I can jump into a fit of anger quite quickly. I don't want to sound as though I'm bragging but that can be an explosive quality. I don't think you should try and get rid of qualities which could be useful in your work. But you've got to watch yourself in real life, I suppose." \


He has let his attention slip on at least one occasion, when an altercation at a party resulted in him being charged with actual bodily harm (he was fined pounds 50). Bean laughs, a little embarrassed, when the incident is mentioned. "I let that drop in an interview about 10 years ago, and I thought, 'Fuck!'" he says, shaking his head. "It was all a bit of nonsense, really. I got done for that during the first year at Rada. I was only 21. Not that that is any excuse. But I suppose I was excitable, I was excited about where I was, and what I was doing. It was just one of those things."


Less excitable now, Bean still relishes physical parts, and enjoys performing his own stunts as much as possible. "I love doing all that stuff," he grins. "I think most people do. You know, they love it when a fight comes up in the middle of a film and everybody gets a bit..." (rubbing his hands) "...Come on, then, this is what we've been waiting for!'"


It's at this point where he shows me the scar left by Harrison Ford.


"We slipped and the boat hook ended up smacking me across my eye and nose." This was at the time of the LA riots, and Bean laughs as he describes returning to his hotel after having the wound stitched. "I'd got this big shiner and my nose was flat across my face. I had this leather jacket on, and jeans, and I walked into the Beverly Wilshire. They're going, 'Sir! Sir! Security!' I said, 'Look, I've had a rough day. Just let me in my room.'"


Bean played an Irish terrorist in the film, but earlier this year he witnessed the real thing when a promotional event for Don't Say a Word meant he was in New York on 11 September. It's an experience he says is hard to describe; wisely, he doesn't try. So far, none of Bean's projects have been affected by Hollywood's sudden aversion to explosions. But he's quick to point out that, while he's played his fair share of action/adventure roles, gratuitous violence has never interested him.


"Most of the stuff I've done has been sort of personal, psychological battles between characters," he says. "I think the most interesting drama is the human drama, and things that evolve out of relationships. Not necessarily where the action and special effects have been pressed on to the film, and you're trying to find your character through all that lot."


Despite its special effects, LOTR is not just another digital extravaganza. Bean says there is real dirt and sweat, the battle scenes enhance what he describes as the "human story", not overpower it. And Boromir is up there with Sharpe as one of his favourite roles, which is praise indeed. There are some striking similarities between the two (think testosterone, swords, fighting). But he sees the warrior as more complex than the straightforward Napoleonic soldier. "He's constantly fighting this battle, to keep down this desire to own the ring," he says. "He goes through quite extreme emotions during the course of the film. And that's what I was trying to get across, this kind of inner struggle."


He's obviously hoping the film will prove the success it is tipped to be. But, even if it is, Bean won't be moving to LA. He's happy here; and if people in Hollywood want him, they just fly him out, he says. Also, he doesn't want to give up the roles he gets to play on much lower budget UK films and television. "I like to try and combine the two. But I don't want to let go of doing character-based, interesting people because I think that's the life blood of what you do."


At the moment his plans for the future centre around a return to the theatre next year to play Macbeth, an ambition of Bean's ever since he was at Rotherham College and saw a production starring Ian McKellen  "Who I've just worked with." He smiles, as though he can't believe his luck. "I had a good chat with him about the part."


But that's still in the planning stages. In the meantime he'll see what scripts come in, and perhaps take some time off before starting again in the New Year. There's plenty to do - his youngest daughter's birthday is coming up, and there's the gardening to think about (a closet hobby he sheepishly confesses to). And he's started getting back into welding again. "I wanted to see if I could still do it, you know," he says, pleased that he hasn't lost the knack.


After obligingly posing for photographs in the wet grass on Hampstead Heath, he heads off for his car. He's meeting a group of friends who are coming down from Sheffield, and he's looking forward to it. As he drives by in his Nova he gives a cheery wave, just another welder off to see his mates in the pub.




"New" FOTR article, click for full size



"New" LOTR scans, click for full size !







A small Rings article.



Sean Bean, without giving away what happens, can you comment on the transformation your character Boromir undergoes?

Bean: It was the only option open to him then. I think the guilt and the shame is so appallingly to him that the only way he can atone for that is to throw himself into battle.

Did you know the journey that Boromir would take?

Bean: Yes. I think he learns a hell of a lot during the course of the film. He's a much wiser man. He understands the complexities of Middle-earth and its different cultures much more clearly than when he first sets off from Gondor to Rivendell to plead his case. He seems to have found his spirituality, his soul. Even though he's been ripped apart, he's not going to let the ring defeat him.

Did you have much direction on how to portray Boromir?

Bean: No. I feel as though we were allowed to find the characters ourselves, and we were just guided now and then, led by [Peter Jackson]. It was like he was living the characters sometimes, though.


Scan thanks to The Compleat Sean Bean.  Click article twice to enlarge.



While discussing films with a few buddies it came to our attention that the death of a major or minor character can be a culminating event in how an audience views a film. After discussing a few examples and the effects of said examples on each appropriate film, it was decided that the deaths of on-screen characters make one heck of a topic.

Therefore, here is the first of many articles for our new editorial-- "Best Death."

Boromir Gets Pin-Cushioned in Fellowship of the Ring

In Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring we encounter the character Boromir played by Sean Bean. Boromir is a 'son of Gondor' and eldest son to the last ruling Steward of Gondor, Denethor. Boromir was a skilled warrior whose skills helped him rise through the ranks and become a Captain of the White Tower.

Due to his rank and his bloodline, Boromir was selected to join a secret meeting held in the Elf-city of Rivendell; Boromir's brother, Faramir, opted to go but Denethor wouldn't have it. The meeting was designed to create a small, specialized, group to help combat Sauron by secretly delivering the one ring to the fires of Mount Doom. After much debate, Boromir became one of two human men, the other being Aragorn, to join the 'Fellowship of the Ring.'

During the meeting Boromir learns that Aragorn is Isildur's Heir and the true king of Gondor; something that Boromir refuses to accept.

From the moment the fellowship sets out on their quest Boromir's desire to do his father's bidding and protect Gondor consumes him into wanting the ring for his cause. When the group finally reaches the bank of Parth Galen, Boromir takes it upon himself to steal the ring from Frodo while out gathering kindle. Boromir betrays the Fellowship at this moment and is left to realize that it was the ring that controlled his hand. Before any of the Fellowship had time to react the entire party falls under attack by Saruman's Uruk-hai. Pippen and Merry, left helpless, find themselves stuck between approaching Uruk-hai before Boromir appears to protect them.

In the battle between Boromir and the Uruk-hai, the Captain of Gondor proves his battle prowess and is able to keep the approaching army at bay for some time. However, Boromir was no match for the bow. While holding off his enemy Boromir gets struck in the chest with one of three arrows that eventually take his life. Eventhough the character is mortally wounded, he is able to stand up (twice) and continues to swing down his enemy.

Aragorn later arrives to the scene (after dealing with his own Urak-hai) to see the body of Boromir and the missing hobbits. Though Boromir had been in denial about Aragorn's birthright throughout the entire film, he slowly learns (through action) that Aragorn is truly the king of Gondor. In his final words, Boromir lets this be known.

Boromir: They took the little ones.

Aragorn: Be still.

Boromir: Frodo, where is Frodo?

Aragorn: I let Frodo go.

Boromir: Then you did what I could not. I tried to take the Ring from him.

Aragorn: The Ring is beyond our reach now.

Boromir: Forgive me, I did not see it. I have failed you all.

Aragorn: No, Boromir, you fought bravely! You have kept your honor. (goes to grab arrow)

Boromir: Leave it! It is over. The world of men will fall, and all will come to darkness... and my city to ruin.

Aragorn: I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the white city fall, nor our people fail!

Boromir: Our people? Our people.

Boromir: I would have followed you my brother, my captain, my king! (Boromir passes away)

Aragorn: Be at peace, son of Gondor.

With so many lines of dialogue during ones passing there is a higher probability of creating a scene that doesn't come off true and strong. However, thanks to solid performances from both Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean, the scene serves as the uber-conclusion to a great film.

LOTR Interview Sean-Viggo

The Lord of the Rings - Cannes Coverage

English translation of Interview with Sean Bean and Viggo Mortensen from
El Senor de los Anillos (the Spanish LOTR website)
Translated by Jera

Interview with Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Sean Bean (Boromir)

Interviewer: What has the relationship between the actors been like?
Viggo Mortensen : I will always feel something very special for my friends in the cast. I will not be able to forget their small eccentricities, already you know... stories of what has been happening. The relationships have been much closer than that I have had with other casts in previous projects. I like to work with actors and get acquainted, but perhaps the fact that we have spent so much time together has caused a much deeper friendship. Also for our own story that we lived, I don't know, I believe that we do not have to forget that, for some reason, we all understood each other. Peter Jackson had much to do with this; he created between us a very particular form of relationship. I'm sure that Peter not only chose each of us because we fitted with the character, but that he also looked for people who were compatible, who could form a true "community" of actors. Everyone's personal experiences, their good and bad events, were shared. There were good days and bad days, and always there was somebody ready to lend a hand when the day was bad.

Interviewer: Was the shoot difficult?
Viggo Mortensen: Yes, it was difficult, I missed my family. Not that I don't like to get to know new places, I enjoy discovering wild places, in the United States, Canada, Europe or New Zealand. New Zealand is really incredible, it has been a great chance to travel to the depths of the country, to reach the most remote and inaccessible sites. But this has meant travel in a helicopter for more than half an hour and required work in the hardest of conditions.

Interviewer: A great experience, I imagine...
Viggo Mortensen: It was an enriching experience for an actor, because of learning how to feel at home anywhere. And that was indeed where we were working, the essence of history. To learn to live with what you have, to be tolerant, really to commit oneself and much more, fighting against evil. Evil is always watching the weak one and the Community knows it. Others are protected and they don't allow anyone to succumb to the dark of Sauron.

Interviewer : Sean, what can you tell us about your character?
Sean Bean: Well, I'm the only one of the Community that, somehow, is corrupted by the ring. In fact it also happens to Frodo and whoever enters the surroundings of the ring. And, I don't know, I can understand why it doesn't have to be used to fight against the forces of evil, why we must corner it and look after it outside our surroundings. But as time passes, I realize that all this is not as simple as was thought. My character has more layers, he's more prudent than it seems in the beginning. There are other forces which are involved, it's not only a question of brute force and ability.
Viggo Mortensen: It is understandable that Boromir (Sean Bean) doesn't realise that, if one has as powerful a device as a nuclear weapon or something, one cannot use it, no?
Sean Bean: Of course. He would not want to destroy it, that is to say, why destroy the ring when you can use it against evil.
Viggo Mortensen: That is the temptation. The ring makes you stronger. And in fact you are losing your identity, you lose yourself, I don't know how to explain it myself... The Community is strong based on how they are all and each one of the individuals that form it. Any one of the companions of the Community, or Boromir or Frodo, must assume the load of that temptation all along.

Interviewer : Then how is it that...
Viggo Mortensen : If you lose your strength and covet the ring, that is to say, if anyone of the comrades falls into the temptation and it is lost to themselves somehow, then the Community becomes weaker. The others must then take care of what this person recovers in way of sanity and it surrenders. It'is something very interesting. Really, neither Frodo, nor Gandalf, nor Aragorn, nor Boromir are the heroes. No one is the star, as happens in other films where everything has been simplified. The Community is an entity, you know, not a person. For that reason discussions and disagreements occur, they want to do this and others that, and problems appear...
Sean Bean : Yes, the conflicts within the group arise...
Viggo Mortensen: Of course. Well yes, that is my burden, to say it somehow. My character also takes a burden from long before, an inheritance that must be accepted.

Interviewer : And he will take that burden since then?
Viggo Mortensen: Yes, most of the time.

Interviewer: You were the last one selected, how did you feel?
Viggo Mortensen: Well, I had to perform something to make me more with the character. I also didn't know much about the story. Later, when I had read the book, I found that it had something of the old tales of the Vikings, of Celtic myths, and that made the job easier for me, helped me to fit into the story. In many ways I felt like a stranger as I was selected later. Never have I been a character who, at first, was intended for another actor. Well, as an actor, you're able to imagine, it is rare that you feel. But well, as I didn't meet with the other actor and I didn't know him either... In a way I felt very grateful for the part of Aragorn. I suppose that I would have felt worse if the role had been taken to my best friend. In any case I don't believe that being better or worse than him was why they gave the part to me.

Interviewer : Why do you think they chose you?
Viggo Mortensen : Of course Stewart Townsend is a great actor. I believe that he has all his life ahead of him to do great projects. It is more a problem of age than anything else. Aragorn is older, it was a small mistake in casting. They put him there and felt that he was not absolutely right, you know. The character is clearly older, and also of a different race than Boromir for example.

Interviewer: Boromir has a life like ours...
Sean Bean: Yes he is a man, like us...
Viggo Mortensen : Sure he is a human being. I am of a species of average humans. That is to say, I am human but my life is much longer. For that reason I am older than I really appear. Aragorn has many years, you know, and to look like this was easier for me than for Stewart.
Sean Bean: You can live many more years, yes?
Viggo Mortensen: That's right.

Interviewer : Then it is genetic?
Viggo Mortensen : Yes, because I descend from the Numenóreanos.
Interviewer: Did you look for Aragorn in yourself, that is to say, during the filming did Viggo look to feel like Aragorn?
Viggo Mortensen: I always try to get a feel for it as much as possible. But the truth is that I did not have the free time, so, I walked and dressed like Aragorn and, as Peter always encouraged us to look for the realism within the story, without worrying about the fantastic thing that could be in the scene that we were filming, the clothes or weapons that we had, because we were dirty, freezing cold or dying of heat, and we were really uncomfortable. That is indeed the beauty of this project. It is a very real performance, although obviously the story is in another time. But it is very real, at least I felt like it was true. Did the same happen to you as me?
Sean Bean : Well yes. There are tons of special effects and incredible scenes, and the surroundings... the sites in which we filmed; frightening cliffs, ancient forests, places where nobody had been before. Well, what can I say? It has been wonderful.
Viggo Mortensen : Yes, the truth is that the film is not just what you see, the thrill of special effects, that... it goes so much further. The film is an adventure.
Sean Bean : And the relationship between the characters.
Viggo Mortensen : It is drama and adventure on a grand scale.
Sean Bean : Exactly, it's a study on humanity. I believe that this is the base of the film. The special effects and the action add to the story, complete it.

Interviewer: How do you feel after working with the same character for so long?
Viggo Mortensen: We're still working! Some odd takes and things like that.
Sean Bean : And we continue to talk about it... I think that you always have something left, that you take something of the character with you.
Viggo Mortensen: Yes.
Sean Bean : You keep the character and you can return to work and bring him out after some time. It's there, within you.
Viggo Mortensen: Now, for example, I'm looking at you and some things come to me at once, like difficult scenes that we did, in which our characters worked closely together. They will remain in my memory forever.
Sean Bean: Yes, yes.
Viggo Mortensen : And when I see you in other films, I know that there are things that I have had the fortune to share with you which others have not.
Sean Bean: I agree.

Interviewer: Have you read the book?
Sean Bean : Yes, I read the book a long time ago, some twenty-odd years...

Interviewer: What a memory. It is a book that is not forgotten then?
Sean Bean: I have certainly always preserved it, I have remembered it. There is a cartoon version of "The Lord of the Rings" isn't there?

Interviewer : Yes.
Sean Bean: As I told you, I read the book a long time ago. And well, when I found out that a new version was being made, the project interested me and I did everything possible to be a part of it. When this happened it almost gave me a heart attack. Imagine, this is something that I've always wanted to do, something in which I wanted to participate in one way or another. It is a classic, something that you don't always have the opportunity to do, you can hardly cope nor even imagine given the characteristics of the project. It is something that is quite complicated to carry out. It has been incredible to participate.
Viggo Mortensen : The idea of having participated in a story of this scope, I don't know, it 's something that you have to think on and digest. It is not just any job.
Sean Bean: Frankly it is a huge project. It is creating a lot of interest, I didn't expect that it would create so much anticipation when we began this.
Viggo Mortensen : I, however, had not only not read the book, but not even heard of the subject. I bought it when I was already on the way, at the last moment.
Sean Bean : You read it in one go - it was hard work, yes?
Viggo Mortensen : Yes. I read it on an airplane. I felt like a kid. It's not something invented solely by Tolkien, I mean, when I was young I read stories of the Vikings, Celtic myths and I remembered many things when reading "The Lord of the Rings". In the West, there is so much of these old stories in our own culture. Even if you have not read the book you understand the approach and the characters of the film.
Viggo Mortensen: I believe that many people are going to benefit from this and now read the book themselves. In Germany or England it is a classic of necessary reading. It has a very lively following in the literary culture. Many are going to want to know what it is about.

Interviewer: Why don't you describe one to the other?
Viggo Mortensen : What, describe his work?
Sean Bean: His work... Okay, to tell the truth the other day I saw him in jeans for the first time... I believe that nobody saw him in street clothes during the filming! (laughter).
Viggo Mortensen: He always wore short trousers... whether it was hot or cold (more laughter).
Sean Bean : Careful, Viggo did not dress coarsely, he was in `hobbit' dress, yes, but he had a special hobbit " look ". Yes?
Viggo Mortensen : I think he is calm and easy and fairly relaxed. Sean was incredible. He was very concentrated. I could not imagine anyone to be more centred on his work, on all the details, the surroundings (the scenes) and everything what he referred to in the film for so long. What stamina...
Sean Bean : Viggo didn't sleep more than four hours a day, yes? But, I don't know, I saw he was so enthusiastic with everything, well, I suppose that he didn't need to sleep more.
Viggo Mortensen: I believe that Sean was as enthusiastic on the last day or filming as on the first.

Interviewer: It seems that Mr. Bean is a rock, and the others?
Viggo Mortensen : Well Sean has greater ability to put on a poker face than I, of course. Sometimes I felt that the situation was beating me, in truth I was a little amazed. But Sean or the Community as much as the rest of the filming crew were always there supporting me.
Sean Bean : All of us helped each other, it was hard sometimes...very hard.
Viggo Mortensen: Everybody is great.
Sean Bean: Everyone was very deeply involved in the world of "The Lord of the Rings". From the wardrobe department to lighting, all were fascinated with the story. This is something that does not happen usually.
Viggo Mortensen: Of course.
Sean Bean : I believe that nobody ignored the subject. Everyone had a passion for "The Lord of the Rings".
Viggo Mortensen : There is nothing like feeling that every last one of the members of the crew is living what they are doing to the maximum. Each scene, you saw them watching, passionately.
Sean Bean : It is that everyone knew the book perfectly, down to the electricians, or the people who don't normally read the script.
Viggo Mortensen: Yes.
Sean Bean: They knew at any moment in what part of the story we were.

Interviewer : Has this ever happened to you before?
Viggo Mortensen: Well, I have worked on films where the crew was very involved, but is not the usual thing. And less when the project is so long. There have been many days, that have had everything; good and bad, and everybody has been very involved, very interested.
Interviewer: Did you know Peter Jackson before the filming?
Sean Bean : Well, I was with him a couple of years, yes, in his office in London. We were preparing my role, working it together. And, then, on location.

Interviewer: Have you already seen something of the film?
Viggo Mortensen : Well, we have seen some special effects, a few panoramas and things like that. But the story itself, our story, not yet. But it has a fascinating look, It feels like everything is as it is.
Sean Bean: What I have seen has left me in awe. When filming you cannot see all the special effects that they will add later and so on, so when you see some finished scene for the first time, it makes an impression on you.


The Express on Sunday

16 December 2001

By Molly Marks


WHEN Sean Bean says The Lord Of The Rings has marked him for life, he means it literally. So memorable was the cast's experience of filming The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first part of JRR Tolkien's classic trilogy, that the nine members of the Fellowship - who also include Elijah Wood and Sir Ian McKellen - all decided to get the same tattoo.


Bean rolls up his sleeve to show me a freshly etched squiggle. "It's nine in elvish, apparently, " he laughs.


"We all got together one night near the end of the shoot. "We'd had a few drinks and decided we needed to get something to celebrate this, something so that the experience would live for ever in our memories.


"I was the last to get it, " Bean admits, adding that it was rising British actor Orlando Bloom who finally persuaded him. "He dragged me to get it done in New York recently. I think everyone thought I'd chicken out but I've completed the circle now."


Bean's body already boasts another such work of art - "100% Blade" is at the top of his arm, a token of his passion for his home football team, Sheffield United - but he's not a fan of tattoos. "I'd never have got another one if it hadn't been for a really special reason like this. And let's face it, it's not often you make a film and want to go and get a

tattoo to remember it by."


Bean, who plays the sullen warrior Boromir, appears noticeably relaxed and suffused with an aura of happiness as the GBP200million movie goes on worldwide release this weekend. Clearly, this film has changed his life and he is not surprised that it is being hailed as a masterpiece.


"I think Peter [Jackson, the director] has managed to create a real epic on a grand scale but at the same time, there are great characters who you can feel for and sympathise with as they go on their journey. 


"We spent a whole year of our lives together. We learned to socialise and accept other people from different backgrounds, as we do in the Fellowship in the film. We all used to go out together, and then the hobbits would break off and play pool, " says Bean. "If I wasn't hanging out with all the guys in the Fellowship, I'd hang out with Viggo Mortensen. You could say he was my best friend on the film." At that, Bean suddenly smarts at his apparent pretension. "Best friend. Listen to me!"


Unlike his on-screen sex-symbol-with-a-rough-edge reputation - acquired from roles, which usually see him stripping off at some point, in Anna Karenina, Lady Chatterley's Lover, as a war hero in the TV series Sharpe and a Bond baddie in GoldenEye - Bean is shy and unassuming. Despite being one of the highest-earning British actors who is now making his

mark in Hollywood, he is happiest heading back to Sheffield whenever he can.


He grew up in the working-class area of Handsworth, the son of a steel plater and a secretary, and his accent and the love for his hometown are undiminished - although the apprentice welder who went to RADA says he wouldn't want to live there again, preferring the salubrious environs of Hampstead, north London.


Bean has no intention of moving to LA either, despite being fully aware that The Lord Of The Rings will work wonders for his Hollywood career.


Although he does enjoy his anonymity in the US. "I'm a much more familiar face in England, so it's really nice to be able to walk around unknown in Los Angeles.  "Having said that, anyone who recognises me at home is always very supportive and enthusiastic."


Though he has never especially cultivated a Hollywood career, his path hasn't been without its longrange strategising - like the American TV advert he recently did for contact lenses, a job he is unlikely to have taken in England.


"I think my manager and agent thought it would be good to have some kind of presence in the US.


"I did Patriot Games 10 years ago, and GoldenEye, but I wasn't very well-known in Hollywood, " he explains. "It [the advert] did have a positive effect and it was quite classily done. It's not like it was for motor oil or McDonald's."


THE RECENT success in America of another film Bean stars in, Don't Say A Word, co-starring Michael Douglas, won't help the actor's yearning for privacy Stateside. Once again he plays the villain, but Bean isn't worried about following the well-trodden path of being a British bad guy in Hollywood. "I got to work with Michael Douglas and he was great. It was a good role too."


Nothing, however, compared with The Lord Of The Rings, about which Bean cannot stop eulogising.


"It may be the biggest film of all time, but it also has theatrical qualities. It's not meant to be a Hollywood blockbuster. It's not a film that relies on special effects.


"And, of course, as an actor you want to be involved in something that's imaginative and intelligent." 


His only bad memories came from having to relocate to New Zealand for filming. "I'm not a very good flier, though I'm getting better. It's the turbulence which really gets me." When it came to flying - "in a Dakota!" he adds - from New Zealand's North Island to South Island, he and Orlando Bloom decided to drive and take the ferry instead. The only

problem was Bloom's propensity for shopping.


"He had to stop at every shop to get Christmas presents, " Bean recounts. "It was pouring with rain, so I was saying: 'Look, we've got to get going or there's going to be a landslide'. And sure enough, there was. We turned back to find another one so we were stuck in the middle of nowhere."


The pair managed to rent a house, where they stuck it out for a few days. "They sent a chopper to airlift us out - even worse than a Dakota!" says Bean, visibly appalled. "It was still raining and we were flying through mountain passes and the windscreen wipers were going like mad. I said: 'Can't you just drop us there in that field?', but they wouldn't. I was gripping Orlando's kneecap so hard I must have nearly broken it. He was saying: 'It's OK' but he still takes the piss out of me for that."


Bean later found himself being ferried to remote locations by helicopter. "I just had to get on and do it, " he says. "I took my Rescue Remedy and it got a bit better."


The experience has done nothing to tarnish his love of New Zealand, though. "It's such a beautiful country. I had never been that far from home before and I didn't know what to expect. I had just heard about lots of sheep - and that's what it turned out to be. But it was such an easy and peaceful way of life. I can't think of anywhere I would rather have been."


Three times divorced and the father of three daughters (the youngest, Evie, is from his marriage to Sharpe co-star Abigail Cruttenden), Bean still gets on with his ex-wives and sees his children regularly. Trips home from New Zealand were a tricky proposition, however, and Bean flew home only twice. "It was very difficult because every time I had a

break, the kids were at school. And it's such a long journey that by the time you got home, it was almost time to leave again. I had a lot of making up to do. But my kids are used to me spending a lot of time away. The kids accept this as part of my life but I really missed them. Them and football, of course."


His three understanding daughters - Lorna, 14, Molly, 10, and Evie, three - knew how much The Lord Of The Rings meant to their father when he discovered he had won the role. "I was in the car with the kids driving up the M1 when I got the call. You could say I accelerated rather a lot. I was absolutely overjoyed. I already felt I was going to be part of something special though I had no idea at the time what it would turn into."


A small part of him, though, thinks the role was meant to be. He had read The Lord Of The Rings about 15 years ago. "I wasn't working and my wife was having a baby so it was a nice, quiet time. 


It was a hard read because you have to keep referring back but I managed to get to the end and it made quite an impression on me. Years went by until it came up again, but it all seems strange now to think back to reading it and being here now talking about the film."


It has also enabled Bean to work with one of his acting heroes, Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf.


"When I was a drama student in Rotherham, I saw him and Judi Dench in Macbeth. That really got me going and I have wanted to play Macbeth ever since, " says Bean.


He discussed his plan with McKellen and is hoping to play the role later next year. "The ideal way is to do something on a really large scale and then go off and do some theatre or a smaller film. That's the way I'd like to see things going."


BEAN, who is 42, looks horrified when I read him a quote attributed to him talking about his younger years: "My 20s were about excitement, my 30s were about consolidating, " he is supposed to have said. "Ugh, " he replies.


"That sounds really pompous." So what is this decade about? "This is probably one of the best times of my life so I'd have to hope it continues for the rest of my 40s."


One thing that amuses him more than anything is the fact that he now comes in the form of a highly desirable Lord Of The Rings action figure. "I've been a little lead man toy for Sharpe but it's the first time I've been so many toys, " he grins.


It's something, too, for his girls to remember him by, next time he is forced to fly to far-flung pastures.


The Fellowship Of The Ring opens on December 19.





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