The square-jawed English actor has played countless tough guys (mostly villains, some heroes) and has been regarded as a sex symbol, but what he’s best known for is bringing his unique blend of ruggedness, panache, and conviction to death scenes. He’s been killed onscreen more than two dozen times, usually in baroque and horrific ways.
He’s been impaled with an anchor (Patriot Games), drawn and quartered by horses (Black Death), pushed off a cliff in by a stampeding herd of cattle (The Field), shot point blank while in reading in a church (Equilibrium), crushed by a satellite dish (GoldenEye), and most poignantly, turned into a human pincushion by Uruk-hai archers in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. (There was also his untimely beheading on TV’s Game of Thrones, a death that should have been less shocking, not because it happened that way in George R.R. Martin’s novel, but because poor Ned Stark was played by Sean Bean. Of course he was going to meet an awful, premature demise.) In fact, it was weird to see him cast as Odysseus in Troy. Sure, he did his usual yeoman’s work in the role, but it was off-putting to see him play a character who’s still alive at the end of the movie.
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