In the twilight of their careers, many actors decide to broaden their horizons by taking on roles outside their comfort zones. Like Robert De Niro, who started doing terrible comedies. Or Al Pacino, who started doing terrible comedies. OK, so it's mainly them doing terrible comedies. And now veteran thespian Sean Bean has decided that he too will play against his type -- "his type" being a corpse.
Over a career spanning several decades, Bean has been shot, stabbed, impaled, and trampled by cows more times than your average highlander. He bites it in over a third of his features, a ratio that's only outclassed by actors who exclusively played tragic movie monsters. But no more killing, says the actor. In a recent interview, Bean claimed that he has started to reject roles if they end up dead. He has even insisted that his character in an upcoming project be rewritten from dying at the end to merely being badly wounded. A bold choice, particularly if that project turns out to be a remake of Hamlet set in a dynamite factory with improbably lax standards.
Bean hopes this will also let him move away from always being offered roles as (doomed) villains, which he reflects on as "great but they weren't always fulfilling -- and I always died." But the actor assures us the choice isn't borne out of his ego, or even his desire to never again have to lie perfectly still on cold dirt for six straight days of shooting. Instead he wishes to subvert audience expectations that whenever he shows up, that character has a life expectancy shorter than the career of a middle-aged actress.
So in the future, we can look forward to Bean taking on more roles befitting aging character actors. Like the hero's best friend who gets killed to raise the emotional stakes. Or the wise old mentor who gets killed to show how powerful the bad guy is. Or the snarky, selfish antihero who proves he has a heart of gold -- by getting killed saving the hero's life. Boy, this could be a lot harder than he may suspect.
If you enjoy watching people die a horrible death on a screen, you can always follow Cedric's comedy efforts on Twitter.
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