June 15, 2012 5:57 pm

The Inventory: Sean Bean

‘Ambition can open doors, but I’d rather get where I am by being talented,’ says the film and TV star

Sean Bean, 53, is a British star of film and television. His most memorable roles include Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones.

What was your earliest ambition?

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To be a fireman because they seemed really brave and strong and had the big red lorries and uniforms.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

State school. I went into work after that, for my dad, to be a welder apprentice.

Who was or still is your mentor?

My family.

How physically fit are you?

I’m pretty fit. I do a lot of cycling. I also do press-ups and use these rubber bands that you can do various exercises with. I smoke, but apart from that I’m not too bad.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Talent – but ambition can open doors. But I’d rather get where I am by being talented than by being ambitious.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

No.

How politically committed are you?

I like to keep abreast of the world political situation. My father has always been very clued up, politically. I used to enjoy talking to him – arguing a lot of the time –about principles of politics, so I kind of inherited that.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

Yeah. I see adverts about not leaving the tap running when you brush your teeth and think: “Who does that anyway?” I don’t drive much. And I recycle. I don’t like throwing anything away, I’m a hoarder.

Do you have more than one home?

I’ve got a cottage in Sheffield, a couple of flats in London and a place in Krakow that my assistant, who’s Polish, and I are converting.

What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

A horse to ride nearby.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

I don’t spend much. But the other day I bought two fine-mohair three-piece suits from a tailor called Mark Powell, who I’ve known for 20 years – I did a film called Shopping with Jude Law and Sadie Frost and he was making the suits then.

In what place are you happiest?

In the garden, smelling the wonderful smells.

If you had a coat of arms, what would be on it?

Sean Bean seal

Two crossed scimitars. That’s Sheffield United – the crossed-swords symbol. And a white Yorkshire rose between them.

What ambitions do you still have?

I don’t think I’m that ambitious. I’ve achieved a lot of things that I wanted to achieve and I think you’ve got to sit back and savour that sometimes.

What drives you on?

In terms of my career, the buzz I get from acting.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

Bringing up my lovely three girls, who I’m very proud of.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

It’s probably football related. Being a football fan is a double-edged sword; you’re always going to be really happy or shattered. I support Sheffield United. I wouldn’t say Sheffield United are a disappointment, I’m just saying losing to Crystal Palace in the play-offs at Wembley in the last minute is tragic.

If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?

He’d be surprised. I didn’t think I’d be here. When I began my career, it was just to act. The fact that I’ve been successful is a bonus.

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

I think I’d start again and build up with the same work ethic.

Do you believe in assisted suicide?

No.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Yes.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

Seven.

“Cleanskin”, starring Sean Bean, is released on DVD this month

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