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Sean Bean is a great actor that fans of both movies and television love. However, when it comes down to it, he's best known for dying on screen. For some reason, a lot of his characters end up dead, many of them long before the story as a whole is over. It's become a joke, but it seems that for Bean himself the joke is over because he's started turning down roles that include him dying in the movie.
The issue for Sean Bean isn't that he necessarily has a problem with his character dying. It turns out that he's turning down the roles where he dies because "Sean Bean dies in the movie" has become so predictable. He doesn't want simply appearing on screen to give away how the story is going to end for his character. According to Bean...
I’ve turned down stuff. I’ve said, ‘They know my character’s going to die because I’m in it!’ I just had to cut that out and start surviving, otherwise it was all a bit predictable.
It's a fair point. When audiences have seen Sean Bean die on screen 21 times, the more shocking fate for his characters is when they survive the entire movie. Nobody wants to know how the movie is going to end and if you assume Sean Bean's character is going to die as soon as he appears on screen, it takes away the drama that death is supposed to have.
Looking at the complete list of Sean Bean deaths provided by The Sun, where Bean made these comments, it seems that he hasn't actually died on screen since being beheaded in the Season 1 finale of Game of Thrones back in 2011. That's eight years of surviving, but considering his deaths go all the way back to the mid-1980s, it's going to take a while before he's able to put a dent in his reputation for death.
Regarding that Game of Thrones death, Bean says he was happy with it, as, at the time he wasn't interested in being on a long running series. Although, he does admit now, following the show's success, that he sort of wishes he had been able to stick around.
Considering the situation, it seems like Sean Bean wasted an opportunity back in 1995 when he played the villain in the James Bond movie Goldeneye. In that film, Bean's character appears to die early in the film, only to be revealed to be alive, and the mastermind, later on. Of course, he ends up dead by the end anyway.
It feels like that kind of setup would be great for a Sean Bean movie now. Make it look like he dies. Fans will buy in easily, because Sean Bean. Then bring him back in a surprise twist later that fans likely won't see coming, because Sean Bean.
Sean Bean's next project is a BBC series called World on Fire, in which Bean already confirms that he lives. Beyond that, we'll have to wait and see.