Sean Bean doesn't have a big problem with his characters getting killed. The death of his Ned Stark in "Game of Thrones" was a shocking turn for the HBO drama – at least for fans who hadn't read the novels on which the series is based.
The "Lord of the Rings" star returns to television again in tonight's "Missing" on ABC. Spoiler alert: He dies even faster than he did on "Thrones." The pilot picks up 10 years after the death of his character, CIA Agent Paul Winstone.
His wife, Becca (Ashley Judd) and son Michael (Nick Eversman) manage to rebuild their lives – until Michael is mysteriously kidnapped. One thing in Becca's favor: She happens to be an ex-CIA agent as well. And so begins a search across Europe, filled with flashbacks to her husband.
We talked with Bean about dying, whether we'll ever see him again on "Game of Thrones," and his transition to playing heroes after fulfilling the bad-guy duties in films including "Patriot Games."
TheWrap: Do you kind of like getting killed off so early? It must keep your schedule open for movie roles. You exit "Missing" pretty fast.
Sean Bean: It's not that that's the end of him. There are flashbacks… It's quite a chunky part. It's very important to the plot.
It's kind of less is more when you die so early in "Missing" — the audience ends up missing you.
Yeah. With flashbacks and stuff like that you find out why they married, how they got together, they had their son Michael, and how far she'll go to try to rescue him. How far she'll go to save her kid, and cross a line that she otherwise wouldn't.
Watch a scene from "Missing" in which you-know-who gets it:
What's your favorite thing about Paul Winstone?
He's a decent guy. He's torn between two things. He's working for the CIA and he loves his wife, he loves his child. There's this division because he's in a job where you can't reveal things to loved ones. It's a lonely place to be. But he's a good guy that you don't know very much about. He's a loving father but there's a steely edge to him that he has to have because of his job.
Do you think you'll come back at all on "Game of Thrones"?
Someone told me that there's some kind of flashback there. I haven't read all the books. But that'd be good. I'd quite enjoy going back to Belfast and playing that part for a while.
When Hollywood first discovered you they kept giving you villain roles, and now you're being cast as the hero. Why do you think that happened?
That kind of happens to a lot of British actors, I think. We start as villains and when they get to like you a bit more…
Over the years I've tried to diversify and doing television work here and film there. I'm at the stage now where I feel quite comfortable with either the good guy or the bad guy. And there's sometimes not much difference.
"Missing" premieres tonight at 8/7c on ABC.