Silent Hill: Revelation - Sean Bean interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
SEAN Bean talks about returning to the world of Silent Hill for horror sequel Silent Hill: Revelation and why he thinks it offers something different to most horror films.
He also discusses other parts of his career, including his role in James Bond movie Goldeneye, dying on film and playing a transvestite in Accused.
Q. We reckon you’ve died 21 times in film and on TV. So, how do you feel about that?
Sean Bean: [Laughs] I’ve stayed alive more recently, I suppose. There was one point where I was dying in everything, probably because I was playing the bad guy and so I had to die at the end. But they were all good things, although that’s what you get when you play a bad guy – you usually have to die at the end. I can’t complain because some of those roles, like Patriot Games and Goldeneye, were great career opportunities for me and they were great parts to play.
Q. Do you enjoy playing villains?
Sean Bean: Yeah, yeah I do. I mean, as I said there was a point where I was playing villains a lot and I had to change it round because I wasn’t doing anything else. So, it’s nice to be in a position where you can choose a little more.
Q. It’s taken a while for the sequel to Silent Hill to be made. Did you ever think it might not happen? And what appealed to you in the script?
Sean Bean: I didn’t know it was going to happen. There’s been talk of it for a few years because it’s been about eight years since we did the first one. There was talk a few years ago but that went away and then finally it was for real and I read the script and I liked it. I liked the first one too… I liked the premise of it, the disturbing surreal quality it always has, and I enjoyed playing that character, so I thought why not play him a few years on when his daughter had become a teenager and things have changed. I wondered what was ahead. It’s like a building brick for the game – it’s like the game in that it’s running parallel with that. Obviously, it’s got a massive following, so I was really pleased to ask to be a part of it again.
Q. Was the experience very different coming back to Silent Hill this time, particularly as your character was on the happier side of Silent Hill first time around?
Sean Bean: Yeah. I mean because he’d been through it all in the first Silent Hill, I suppose you start off with Silent Hill 2 with him already being quite damaged by that experience and he’s aware that there is a danger. He’s got a young daughter to look after and so there’s not that comfort that he had in the first one, where things were going along quite nice and then they got bad. Now, he starts off in that slightly kind of elevated state of apprehension and things just escalate and he becomes more drawn into it and more into Silent Hill than he was previously. He actually goes in there and he sees what it’s all about.
Q. Prior to the films, were you familiar with the games themselves?
Sean Bean: I wasn’t really, not when I did the first one. But my kids showed me some of it a few years ago and I thought it was quite amazing. I could understand why there was such a following. But the director, Michael Bassett, is a big fan and he’s familiar with all the games and he really squeezed every ounce of horror and emotion and suspense and fear out of what he had from the game. So, it was good to have someone on board who was a fan as well as a director. This new one makes you jump a lot. I think it’s better than the first one because technology has moved on so we have better CGI and effects and it’s in 3D, which is perfect for Silent Hill.
Q. Are you a particular fan of horror films?
Sean Bean: Yeah, I quite like horror films. I used to like things done by Edgar Allan Poe and a lot of his stuff with Vincent Price playing The Fall of the House of Usherm. There were quite a few he did. And I used to like all the Frankenstein and Dracula films with Christopher Lee, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Werewolf. I also liked the first Saw and Amityville and stuff like that.
Q. Compared to the classics, how do you feel about the 3D element being used in horror?
Sean Bean: It’s good for something like this and Avatar, obviously. For this it was perfect. I don’t like watching every film in 3D and I wouldn’t want to watch Coronation Street in 3D [laughs]. But for specific occasions, it’s fine. I just think it should be used sparingly – that’s my feeling. It should be relevant and enhance the subject matter. I don’t want to see people or things jumping out at me for no particular reason.
Q. I’ve seen Silent Hill referred to as horror, thriller and psychological. Which description do you think best fits?
Sean Bean: I think it’s more psychological and a bit more of a thriller. There’s a lot of things that are in there that are fearful – they’re kind of phobias a lot of them and things that people are scared of and they don’t know why they’re scared of them. It’s not always clear-cut what the horror is. It’s a bit more subtle than that. You can’t quite pin it down. It’s ‘why is that disturbing me?’. And why is it not nice? It’s quite clever. There’s a bit more to it – it’s not just people getting chopped up for the sake of it. There is a family unit in the midst of all this; the nucleus of a family who are trying to deal with the fear and the evil of what’s happening around them. So, I think you care about these people. It’s not a horror-slasher film, it’s more bizarre and macabre.
Q. Has your character in Silent Hill come to terms with what lies within Silent Hill?
Sean Bean: I think he’s come to terms with it, yeah. He’s aware of the dangers, the dread and the fear of Silent Hill and I suppose that’s why he’s keeping his daughter as close to him as he can and trying to raise her in a relatively normal way as a wholesome teenager – but with difficulty because she’s breaking out and breaking free and she also feels the attraction. He senses that but he doesn’t realise just how obsessed she is by it until sometime later, which is extremely worrying for him. And it all comes back again… just when you think it’s gone away it comes back and it’s actually quite scary.
Q. I’ve got to ask the James Bond question given it’s the 50th anniversary of the franchise. How much did being a part of the franchise mean to you? And what do you think of it now?
Sean Bean: Oh it’s great. I think they’re really pulled it around from a few years ago. Pierce Brosnan was partly responsible for that… creating a new Bond. And Barbara Broccoli – she was great with us. And especially now with Daniel Craig… he’s proved to be an excellent Bond because he was up against it in the beginning. People were putting him down and criticising him before it had even started. But he’s turned it round and proved to be a really good Bond. I think it’s gone from strength to strength recently. And to be able to keep that going for such a long time is a real achievement. It’s even more popular now.
Q. Do you still look back on Goldeneye fondly?
Sean Bean: Oh yeah. It was the first one that Pierce did and it was the first one that I did and I was playing a Bond villain, so there was a fair amount of expectation I suppose being in that position. But I remember it very fondly and it was a great time. Everything’s moved on a lot now but it still holds up.
Q. You played a transvestite in The Accused earlier this summer. Is it true that you went out dressed up as a transvestite as part of your preparation?
Sean Bean: I did actually, before I started it. It was interesting [laughs]. I got a cab and then got to this bar with one of my daughters there. It was different! I don’t know if people were not saying anything because they knew it was me… I had a wig on and lipstick and everything else. So, I don’t know if they knew it was me… I got a funny reaction but that was the purpose of it. I found it very enjoyable to play that part and I wanted to see what reaction it drew.
Q. Which was?
Sean Bean: Strange… a very silent, indecisive reaction, which I suppose was what I wanted to find out. But I didn’t think I would actually do it – but I did. I thought: “I’ve got to do something to find out what it’s like.”
Q. How was actually playing the role?
Sean Bean: It was great. It was a real eye-opener for me. I just had to go for it. I couldn’t have held back or it wouldn’t have worked. But it was about psychologically jumping that hurdle of getting into character… that was the hardest thing, more so than the dressing up – just getting my head around someone else like that.
Silent Hill: Revelation is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday, October 31, 2012.