Sean Bean Says He's 'Turned Down' Roles If His Character Dies

Sean Bean
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Audiences have watched Sean Bean die dozens of times -- and the British leading man is getting pretty tired of it!

In everything from Lord of the Rings to GoldenEye, and, of course, Game of Thrones, the 60-year-old actor has bitten the dust on screen and in a new interview, he's reveals that he's gotten more selective in recent years with regard to the roles he takes, mostly concerning whether his character makes it to the final credits.

"I've turned down stuff. I've said, 'They know my character's going to die because I'm in it!'" Bean tells The Sun. "I just had to cut that out and start surviving, otherwise it was all a bit predictable."

"I did do one job and they said, 'We're going to kill you,' and I was like, 'Oh no!' and then they said, 'Well, can we injure you badly?' and I was like, 'OK, so long as I stay alive this time,'" he recalls.

However, in many of the roles, his character almost certainly had to die for the story to work. Why? Because he was the villain.

"I've played a lot of baddies, they were great but they weren't very fulfilling -- and I always died," he shares of some of the roles he's taken on.

GoT fans will remember that Bean portrayed Ned Stark, the patriarch of the family at the center of the acclaimed show. However, although he didn't play the bad guy, he didn't even last a season on the series. Ned is beheaded in the first season's penultimate episode, a moment that rivals the infamous "Red Wedding" episode in season three in terms of shock value. 

"I'd read the Game of Thrones books and they said to me, 'You do die in this, but it's near the end of the series,'" he says of early conversations about the show. "And I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, fair enough.' So they made it very clear at the time I was going to die, and I thought, 'I don't want to get stuck in one of these series that lasts seven years.'"

However, the show went on to find massive success with audiences, leaving Bean feeling slightly left out.

"But I wish I'd have got stuck now!" he admits. "But it was very clear what [author] George R.R. Martin wanted to happen to Ned -- and it did."

Sean Bean, George R. R. Martin
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Although the HBO series concluded in May, Bean and the rest of the cast have one last opportunity to celebrate. The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday and GoT is easily the show to beat with 32 nominations.

Additionally, a number of the show's cast members are going to be taking the stage together to present one of the evening's prizes. 

Head here for all the details on the upcoming awards show and ET's predictions for the winners!


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