Sean Bean had acted in dozens of British theater, TV and film projects before finding global fame as Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. In 2019 Bean will star in Sky One’s Curfew, about a group of people who take part in a dangerous street race to win freedom from a totalitarian government. Bean tells World Screen about what drew him to the Sky Vision-distributed show and the character of “The General.”
WS: What appealed to you about Curfew?
BEAN: It was just different. There were so many different layers, so many different genres of style. There’s a kind of horror theme running throughout it, and humor. There’s a massive car race, which was very exciting. The characters have been thrown into this situation where they are trying to win this race in order to find paradise. Does this island that is the star prize for the winner actually exist? And I like the character, The General; I found I could have a lot of fun with him and push it to certain extremes and experiment and play around with the part. I quite liked him. He’s a bit of a psychopath and quite charming! [Laughs] [And I got] to play alongside a lovely co-star, Rose Williams as Faith; we got on very well and she’s very talented.
WS: Given that you’re in a race and your characters are competing against each other, what was the atmosphere like on-set, in between scenes? Were you able to slow down a bit or was it always at an intense pace?
BEAN: Usually I find it quite easy to switch off between shots. I think most of the time I was running back to my trailer to keep warm! It felt like it was minus 30 degrees in Manchester in the winter this year. We were all battling against that, which gave it an added bite, some urgency because you wanted to get it done and get in the warm! [Laughs] I found it quite nice to relax between takes, especially between set-ups. And then you can save your energy and switch on when they say, “Action!”
WS: Without giving away too much of the storyline, what can you tell us about The General’s arc across the episodes, the journey he’s on as he tries to get to paradise?
BEAN: He has a backstory that you learn in further episodes. He was a criminal, a very wealthy one, very successful and well respected. Life was going well, he had a lovely wife and kids, and then there’s an awful tragedy that changes everything for him. There’s a period of solitude, him coming to terms with this awful tragedy. Then he hooks up with the babysitter of the children and I think that’s because it keeps thoughts of his family in his mind. He sees her as some comfort, as someone from that world who is still around him. And then he gets her pregnant. [Laughs] She’s nine-months pregnant when you first see us two together and we’re just starting this race. She’s quite game. She’s a strong woman and goes along with it. Then she discovers that his behavior is so irrational and so reckless, he’s such a dangerous man to be around, that she starts having second thoughts about a future with him, especially for the baby. It’s a bit sad really. He’s trying to relive his past through her and this child that is on the way. Unfortunately, she’s thinking of herself. She changes as soon as she is about to have the baby and it [becomes] a different relationship.
WS: What was it like working with the stuntmen on all those dangerous action sequences?
BEAN: It’s Faith who is probably in the worst place because she’s stuck in the passenger seat and having to experience this horror and shock and dangerous behavior from a partner who is driving the car. Things are going through her head all the time, the flashbacks to her story. It’s a really interesting character. She looks cute and pretty and seems girly, but really she’s got an iron character, she’s so strong when it comes to the crunch. She’s much stronger than The General is. You discover that as it goes along.
WS: What new opportunities are you seeing as an actor in this very busy time for the scripted-content business?
BEAN: There are a lot more opportunities now and a lot more choices, not just in the characters I play but in the actual stories and the films themselves and the directors. People are much more willing to invest in something a little bit different now, [rather than] the tried-and-tested format that we’re so used to seeing. I love the opportunity to do something surreal and different and experimental. Television is very high quality now, that’s a good thing for all of us.