Home   >   Movie Stars   >   B   >   Sean Bean

Sean Bean

As Zeus, the supreme ruler of Mt. Olympus, the charismatic British actor Sean Bean adds another epic portrait to his diverse gallery of motion picture roles that includes Odysseus, the leader of the Greek Army that overthrows Troy, in Wolfgang Petersen's largescale mythological adventure, Troy, and the proud warrior Boromir in Peter Jackson's landmark Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Born and raised in Handsworth, Sheffield, in the north of England, Bean was educated at several schools including Rotherham College of Arts and Technology, where he took his first acting class. A handful of notable local performances (in shows such as Cabaret and The Owl and the Pussycat) earned him a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. After graduating from RADA in 1983 (where he won the silver medal for his graduation performance in Waiting for Godot), he made his professional stage debut as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury.

Launching his career on the English stage, he headed north to Scotland to work with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. He went on to perform onstage for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon, notably as the lead in Romeo and Juliet, and continued to fill his résumé with performances in plays such as Fair Maid of the West, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Deathwatch and Last Days of Mankind.

In 1984, a new medium, television, beckoned the burgeoning talent with his small screen debut in the CH4 film Winter Flight. Two years later, he made his feature film debut in Derek Jarman's film Caravaggio, and reunited with the director two years later in his 1988 drama, War Requiem. His early film roles also include the Irish janitor in Mike Figgis' moody drama, Stormy Monday, and Oscar nominee Richard Harris' repressed son in Jim Sheridan's The Field.

He returned to television for the BBC's prestigious Lady Chatterley, Ken Russell's lauded adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence classic, and another BBC project, Clarissa, proving a charismatic romantic lead in both films. In 1993, Bean gave birth to one of his best known roles, the army lieutenant Richard Sharpe, in Sharpe's Rifles. The telefilm was the first of sixteen two-hour episodes in which the actor would reprise his signature role of a British soldier in the Peninsular War during the age of Napoleon.

Returning to the motion picture screen, Bean's career flourished with such villainous, tough-guy roles like the IRA terrorist opposite Harrison Ford's CIA agent in Patriot Games, James Bond's nemesis, the hardened double agent 006, in GoldenEye, a mercenary weapons expert alongside Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno in John Frankenheimer's thriller Ronin, the psychotic ex-con in Essex Boys, the malevolent kidnapper-jewel thief who terrorizes Michael Douglas in Don't Say A Word, Nicolas Cage's nefarious rival in National Treasure, the devious head of a cloning facility in Michael Bay's sci-fi thriller The Island, and the psychopathic hitchhiker who preys on a young couple in The Hitcher, a remake of the 1986 horror classic.

Bean has also demonstrated his versatility with a slate of sympathetic, heroic protagonists in roles such as the pilot who questions Jodie Foster's sanity in Flightplan, the dashing Vronsky opposite Sophie Marceau in Anna Karenina, the real-life British soldier Andy McNab, who led a secret mission during the Persian Gulf War, in the British TV drama Bravo Two Zero, and the compassionate husband of a female miner opposite Oscar nominees Frances McDormand and Charlize Theron in Niki Caro's North Country.

Bean's epic characterizations include the aforementioned Boromir in Peter Jackson's historic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth trilogy, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and the subsequent sequels, The Two Towers and Return of the King. Bean was part of the films' ensemble casts to receive the SAG Award for the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 2003, Return of the King, and a nomination for The Fellowship of the Ring. He also took home a National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble for the third film, and earned a nomination for England's Empire Award for The Fellowship of the Ring. Bean returned to epic-themed filmmaking when he played the legendary Greek hero Odysseus in Wolfgang Petersen's Troy, the big screen adaptation of Homer's tale of the Trojan War.

Bean's other key credits include the supernatural horror film, Silent Hill, the CBS miniseries Scarlett, When Saturday Comes, The Big Empty, Equilibrium, the horror thriller The Dark and Outlaw. He recently completed work on Menno Meyjes' epic love story set against the Viking invasions, Last Battle Dreamer, the thriller Ca and a pair of crime thrillers, Red Riding: 1974 and Red Riding: 1983. He stars in HBO's upcoming adaptation of the George R.R. Martin fantasy book, Game of Thrones, to be directed by Tom McCarthy.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2010.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Sean Bean Facts

Birth Name Shaun Mark Bean
BirthdayApril 17, 1959 (62)
BirthplaceSheffield, England, United Kingdom
Height5' 11" (1m80)  How tall is Sean Bean compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Dark
The Martian
The Snow Queen: Magic of the Ice Mirror
Patriot Games
National Treasure
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Jupiter Ascending
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy
Continue » Find more details on the Sean Bean Movies page