That’s Using Your Bean

Fiction has been kind to the career of Sean Bean, who has perhaps appeared in more films adapted from novels than any other contemporary actor. You could easily theme an entire book group meeting around the great novels that have been made into films and series in which Bean figures prominently. Now he’s about to add one more genre to his resume.

Bean first came to the attention of film buffs as the villain in the adaptation of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan thriller, Patriot Games.

Historical fiction fans perhaps knew him first as Sharpe, the hero of films from fourteen well-loved Bernard Cornwell novels set in the era of the Napoleonic Wars in Spain.

Less known in the U.S. are several adaptations of classics. Try him in 1990’s Lorna Doone, 1993’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, or his turn as Count Vronsky in the 1997 version of Anna Karenina. These aren’t marvelous, but they’re serviceable, and will make you want to read the great books that inspired them.

Those who like works for young readers might check out Bean as Farmer Grey in 1994’s Black Beauty, as Zeus in the adaptation of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, or wait for his turn as Smee in the forthcoming Pan which will drastically re-imagine the J. M. Barrie classic.

Of course Bean’s fame was truly cemented by turns in two fantasy masterworks. He was a memorable Boromir in the film of The Fellowship of the Ring and recently raised cries of distress among those who loved him in HBO’s Game of Thrones and hadn’t read George R. R. Martin’s book.

If romance is your thing, you could even catch him in the miniseries based on Alexandra Ripley’s Gone with the Wind sequel, Scarlett, although in this case you’d be better served by re-reading or re-watching the works that inspired them.

Now you can add crime fiction to Bean’s list. Bean has signed to play South African Detective Benny Griessel in a film based on Deon Meyer’s Devil’s Peak trilogy. If you love the books, which have received starred reviews in Booklist, you’ll be happy that they’re about to get much better known. If you love Sean Bean, starting reading now to finish the trilogy before the film. The three books are Devil’s Peak, Thirteen Hours, and the forthcoming 7 Days.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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