Psychologies Magazine

Sean Bean, 46, was born in Sheffield and lives in London. He has been married three times, and has three children: Lorna, 18, Molly, 14, and Evie, seven. His recent films include Lord of the Rings, Troy and The Island His latest, Flight Plan and North Country are out next month. By Charlotte Northedge


Name four words that describe you?
Imaginative, realistic. Easy going — but I've got a temper. I'm a contradiction.

Are (were) you closer to your father or your mother?
Growing up, my mother: you often are as a child. But, as I've got older, I've formed a close friendship with my father over Sheffield United matches.

Bottle it up or let it all hang out?
I believe in expressing emotions, unless it's going to hurt someone.

Is the glass half-empty or half-full?
Half-full. I try to be an optimist, to feel hopeful. It's easy to lose perspective.

You wake up suddenly at 4am. What's on your mind?
How to get back to sleep. I don't usually worry in the middle of the night.

What record do you listen to when you're feeling down?
Classical music calms me down. I like Baroque music, such as Handel and Bach. I'm into Wagner at the moment, particularly the Rienzi Overture.

What is your biggest regret?
I don't have regrets. There are things I could have done better, but I believe in seeing life as a whole. The ups, downs and wrong turns make me who I am.

Best piece of advice you ever ignored?
That time is a great healer. I wouldn't say I ignored it, but you never believe it when you're in a crisis. You think, how can things get any better? Now I know you have to be patient and trust that things will become less painful.

If you could nominate an eighth deadly sin, what would it be?
Hedonism. Though secretly, I'd love to live a completely hedonistic life, without guilt or consequences.

Religious, spiritual, humanist or none of the above?
I wasn't brought up [to be] religious, although I have been to church a few times: at school and to get married. But I believe in a spiritual world on another plain. I think we all want to believe there's something else.

What drives you — fear or desire?
I'm competitive, so I don't like losing. There's no point in taking part if you don't want to win.

Do you spend a long time in front of the mirror?
It depends what my hair is doing! I take care of my appearance, I like wearing nice clothes, but I don't change my outfit three times.

Last time you got really angry?
At an airport in Albuquerque four weeks ago. I was flying to LA and I'd already gone through security, but after I'd gone outside for a cigarette, the security guard wanted to do a second full body search. I lost it. I know security is important, especially at the moment, but I can't stand mindless bureaucracy. I said I didn't want to get on his fucking plane anyway, and the police escorted me out of the airport!

Conformist or rebel?
Non-conformist. I'm not a rebel, but I don't agree with just going with the flow because it's easier.

What was your Plan B?
If I hadn't gone into acting, I'd have been an artist. I used to paint surrealist pictures at school. I went to art college, but I didn't fit into that environment. When I started an acting course it felt very natural, like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes.

What's your ultimate ambition?
To play Macbeth on film. I did it on stage two years ago, but film would be a challenge.

When, and where, are you happiest?
In London, with friends or my children: drinking in the Belsize Tavern in Belsize Park, going to Hampstead Heath, taking my children to the cinema or a museum, watching football.

What's the record you never confess to owning?
'All That She Wants' by Ace of Bass. But it's quite good actually.

Single or attached?
I'm seeing someone at the moment. We've been on holiday recently, but I'm not living with her or getting married.

Family or work?
Family comes first. I do have to go away for long periods of time — I left for a year to do Lord of the Rings — but that's the job I do, and I do it for all of us

Scan of article including pictures can be found on LJ

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