Legends, 100 - Sean Bean
Legends, 100 Pilot - Martin Odum (Sean Bean) ©2014 TNT, photo by Richard Foreman

Best known for his performances in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and TV’s Game of Thrones, Sean Bean now stars in TNT’s new drama Legends, which premieres on Wednesday, August 13th at 9pm.

Bean portrays Martin Odum, an undercover agent working for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations division, where he uses his uncanny ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job. But when a mysterious stranger confronts him about his past, Odum begins to question his own Identity.

Sean Bean came to the TV Critics tour to talk about his new series.

They gave us all t-shirts that say #don’tkillseanbean. What do you think about the interest people have in your dying on TV and film?

Legends, 100 - Sean Bean
Legends, 100 Pilot – Martin Odum (Sean Bean) ©2014 TNT, photo by Richard Foreman

Quite bizarre. I guess I’ve died quite a few times, actually, and I’ve died a lot of different deaths. Maybe it’s the quality of my death they’re fascinated by. I’m still here anyway.

Do you have a favorite death so far?

I like Lord of the Rings, that death. I was quite happy. Big death.

How much danger are you going to be in this show?

Legends, 100 - Sean Bean
Legends, 100 “Pilot” – Martin Odum (Sean Bean) ©2014 TNT, photo by Richard Foreman

I’m going to be in this for a while.

You’ve done a multitude of different roles. What was it that attracted you to this one?

I think one of the attractions was playing multiple characters, which I have never done before, and I’ve done a great deal on television. I also wanted to work with Howard Gordon because of his track record, pedigree, and what a great cast.

People around me who are wonderful actors, very supportive, and the storylines were fascinating.

I just thought it was interesting to follow these characters that went undercover, having to totally believe that you were someone else and think [about how they] deal with that kind of dilemma.

Do you design the looks of the characters Martin portrays?

Legends, 101 - Steve Harris, Tina Majorino, Ali Larter and Sean Bean
Legends, 101 “Chemistry” – Nelson Gates (Steve Harris), Maggie Harris (Tina Majorino), Martin Odum (Sean Bean) and Crystal McGuire (Ali Larter) ©2014 TNT, photo by Doug Hyun

I started off with Lincoln Dittmann as a stutterer and a bit goofy. I didn’t know what he was supposed to be at the beginning. They didn’t give me a description. It was up to me to say things like, ‘[I’ll] wear my hair like this, have my shirt to one side.

I’m going to want to wear glasses.’ It’s kind of little things that make up a character that’s credible, and I had a lot of fun.

Then I went into another character who was totally different, very smooth, suave, sophisticated man, a steely character, and I was totally different. I thoroughly enjoyed that because I drove big nice cars and wore Gucci costumes and went with a lot of women.

In the pilot we see Martin’s technique is kind of like method acting, where he stays in character all the time. On set, do you go in and out of a role or do you stay in it all day?

Legends - Ali Larter and Sean Bean
Legends – Crystal McGuire (Ali Larter) and Martin Odum (Sean Bean) ©2014 TNT, photo by Richard Foreman

I guess I’m kind of in between. I do like to totally immerse myself in the roles that I’m playing, and that was particularly relevant to this production.

There was research and preparation to play a character like Lincoln Dittmann in the pilot episode. He was quite a fascinating character. He’s got a stutter and I did quite a lot of research on that. He’s an American guy, so I prepared for the accent.

People think he’s a bit goofy, a bit slow. They don’t take too much notice of him, and [therefore the] character he plays is quite clever, because by playing goofy and a bit dumb  he’s actually getting right to the core of this organization. He’s ripping it apart, so there is a purpose behind acting that way.

I try to keep the character close to me. I’m not someone who will live that life in real life, and it is sometimes hard to switch off. The more intense the production is, the more you’re involved, then there is a residue that you take home with you, and that can be tricky sometimes because you have to share it with your family.

After the panel, Sean was asked if Game of Thrones had changed his life. Click here to listen to his reply.
Game of Thrones - Sean Bean
Game of Thrones, 101 – Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) © 2011 HBO