Sean Bean, whose characters in film and TV probably die more than any other actor, reveals his favorite onscreen death. Bean's characters, of course, have met their demise in many creative ways over the years. As the villain Sean Miller opposite Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan in Patriot Games, he was impaled by an anchor; while as 006 in the James Bond spy thriller GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan drops his former friend-turned-foe into a giant satellite dish, where he was finished off by falling receiver that exploded as it crashed on top of him. His Game of Thrones death as Ned Stark was a little more cut and dry, as his head was lopped off by a sword.
Bean has died so much in film and TV that guessing how he'll croak in his future projects has almost become a running gag. Luckily, Bean has a good sense of humor about it all, which is why he amusingly recounting for EW his death as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – where he valiantly takes several arrows flung by the Uruk-hai to protect Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). Laughing, Bean tells EW:
“It’s my favorite death scene, and I’ve done a few. You couldn’t ask for a more heroic death.”
Bean recalled that director Peter Jackson opted for more of a practical approach to killing off Boromir over using CG arrows, which was done by sticking arrows into a metal breastplate under Bean's costume. EW says a great amount of thought even went into the words Boromir uttered before his death to Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). Meeting with Jackson, writer Fran Walsh, and Mortensen the night before shooting, the group – over some beer and spirits – came up with compelling line, "My brother, my captain, my king."
While Bean laughs over his death scenes, he tells EW that when he's in the process of dying on-screen, he takes the art of leaving this world for the next very seriously. Bean says:
“You can’t show off. You can’t be vain or posing …. Because every time you die, it’s a big f—ing moment!”
With any luck, Bean will be game for more big and small screen deaths in the coming years, adding to the growing list of trivia questions dedicated solely to guessing how he kicked the bucket in each of his projects. Perhaps the reason Bean's deaths stick out to viewers is because they're so emotionally involved in his characters, which, of course, is the hallmark of a great actor. Plus, anytime fans want to feel good about the actor, they can pop in a copy of The Martian, and revel in the fact that Bean actually makes it out of the movie not only alive, but virtually unscathed.