Sean is renowned as a Mr. Fanservice (despite or because of his many roles as villains). According to The Other Wiki, he does not mind being considered 'a bit of rough' by the ladies. Apparently, the ladies are okay with that because he was voted the UK's second sexiest man in 2004.
Sean Bean's Star-Making Role role was the titular field-promoted British officer in Sharpe, and is best known in America for playing Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Alec Trevelyan (006) in GoldenEye and Mitch Henderson in The Martian.
He's renowned as a Chronically Killed Actor. In fact, seeing Sean's name in the credits could almost be considered a spoiler, because it is almost certain that he will be a good guy who turns bad and then dies — or even just a major character who dies period. He even died twice in GoldenEye! This newspaper article lists 23 times he has been killed onscreen (100% spoilers).
Like many other British leading men, he purportedly wanted to become a professional footballer before he went into acting.
He also did the voiceover for the Train Simulator 2015 trailer, as well as providing the narration in both Kholat and Civilization VI. He was also made into an Elusive Target in Hitman 2, as was even given the title of The Undying, an MI5 agent who has a penchant from coming back from the dead. Very meta indeed.
Live Action Films
- Black Death: Ulric
- Caravaggio: Ranuccio
- The Dark (2005): James
- Death Race 2: Marcus Kane
- Don't Say a Word: Patrick Koster
- Equilibrium: Errol Partridge
- Flightplan (2005): Captain Rich
- Goldeneye: Alec Trevelyan (006)
- The Hitcher: John Ryder
- How to Get Ahead in Advertising: Larry Frisk
- The Island: Dr. Merrick
- Jupiter Ascending: Stinger Apini
- The Lord of the Rings: Boromir
- The Martian: Mitch Henderson
- Mirror, Mirror: The King
- National Treasure: Ian Howe
- North Country: Kyle
- Patriot Games: Sean Miller
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Zeus
- Pixels: Cpl. Hill
- Possessor John Parse
- Rōnin: Spence
- Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac: Allman Kido
- Shopping: Venning
- Silent Hill: Christopher 'Chris' DaSilva
- Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: Christopher 'Chris' DaSilva / Harry Mason
- Troy: Odysseus
- The Young Messiah: Severus
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones: Eddard 'Ned' Stark
- Legends: Martin Odum
- Medici: Jacopo de' Pazzi
- Red Riding: John Dawson
- Sally4Ever: Himself
- Sharpe: Richard Sharpe
- Snowpiercer: Mr. Wilford
- The Story Teller: The Prince (episode "The True Bride")
- World on Fire: Douglas Bennett
- Civilization VI: Narrator
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Martin Septim
- Hitman 2: Mark Faba
- Kholat: Narrator
- A fictionalised version of him is the main hero of Sean Bean Saves Westeros, where, after the filming of Game of Thrones's first season, he ends up in the city of White Harbor on the same day Eddard Stark is killed, so Sean ends up taking over Ned's life and the task of saving the Seven Kingdoms from the threat coming from Beyond the Wall.
- Adam Westing: His role in Hitman 2 as Mark Faba is a parody of his role in the James Bond movies as well as his status as a Chronically Killed Actor, including several Shout Outs. Heck, the character's name itself is a reference to hisExplanation . The character himself has faked his death several times over and earned the epithet of "The Undying" as a result. It takes Agent 47 two attempts to put him down for good.
- Awesome McCoolname: An interesting case. The reason why he changed his first name to Sean was because he thought it was cooler when he was graduating from drama school. Admittedly he's sort of regretting it now with the sheer number of people misreading his name.
- Chronically Killed Actor: The most well-known example, having died in over two dozen of the films and shows he's appeared in. So much so that part of the promotional campaign for Legends involved him asking fans to not let him die. According to him, his favorite death is Boromir's. It's lampshaded in Hitman 2, where his character has earned a reputation for faking his own death and is nicknamed "The Undying"
- Fake Nationality: Played Fake Irish characters in The Field and Patriot Games, both opposite genuine Irishman Richard Harris.
- The Danza: As explained under Adam Westing, his character of the Undying in Hitman 2 is named after himself, disguised as a clever Bilingual Bonus pun.
- Manly Gay: Sean Bean's role in British series Accused showed him as an incredibly straight gay man, who escapes on weekends into an alternate persona as a flamboyant, but incredibly unconvincing, woman. The role was positively reviewed as departure for Sean Bean himself given his manly persona.
- Mr. Fanservice: Most spectacularly in the 1993 film adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, in which he not only doesn't get killed, but ends up with Joely Richardson.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Sean pretty much sticks with his native Oop North. He doesn't have to bother for Game of Thrones. There, it's just perfect. This is not, by the way, to say that he can't do a Northern Irish accent very well.
- Playing Against Type: Whenever he's not a rough good guy (such as Sharpe or Odysseus) or a straight-up bad guy. One such case was Flightplan (2005), where the producers cast Bean as the plane's captain to misdirect the audience into thinking he is part of some villainous plot.
- Rhyming Names: Subverted. While his name is spelled as "Sean Bean", it's pronounced "Shaun Bean".
- Spell My Name with an "S": You'd be surprised how many people mispronounce his name even in this day and age. The proper reading is how his name was originally given, "Shaun Bean".
- Stage Names: His birth name is Shaun, but he picked the Irish spelling.
- Typecasting: Apart from Sharpe, Troy, Flightplan (2005), Jupiter Ascending and The Martian, most of his roles are either villainous/suspicious or someone who dies. Or both.
- Walking Spoiler: Meta example. Due to his history of being a Chronically Killed Actor, he eventually began to turn down roles where his character is planned to die down the line, partly due to him wanting to break out of the rut, but also because he finds it to be far too predictable and obvious.