Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Accused: Anyone order a Sean Bean in drag?

There are some things in life that are so unlikely they will never even cross your mind - and the site of burly man-actor Sean Bean fleeing for his life in a wet Peak District in January, dressed in a tight red dress and ripped black stockings, is one of them.

The scenes were from the climax of the first episode of the new series of BBC One's Accused - four self-contained, high-quality, one hour episodes exploring an individual's guilt or innocence as they stand in the dock, accused (hence..) - and given that the tv-drama-overlord-in-chief Jimmy McGovern is at the helm, actors of the calibre of Sean Bean want to be involved. Even if that means putting on a frock.

He tells the BBC media centre: “I had a call from my agent saying, ‘Do you fancy playing a transvestite?’ I said, ‘Not really, why?’

“But as soon as she said it was a Jimmy McGovern project, who I’ve wanted to work with for a while, I was interested.

“The script was brilliant, and very moving. It’s a really touching story about a complicated man. He has a relationship with another man, which develops into deep love, and then spirals out of control into something quite dark and disturbing.

“It’s a grown up story about identity and about being true to who you are."

And that's not just press release bluster used to sell a tv show, it's also true - the result is an engrossing hour of tv with a strong, if sad, story at its heart, and the actors' complete conviction in their performances manage to compensate for any doubt - or initial sniggers - you might feel about Sean Bean dressed as a woman, or how likely it might be that Stephen Graham's Tony might fall for a man-in-drag, who then goes onto - SPOILER - murder his wife.

Sean Bean says: “It’s kind of disconcerting seeing these unlikely blokes falling for each other. But we gave it our best shot, and played it for real – it’s very sincere. Tony is totally besotted by Tracie. I could see it in his eyes! I can’t imagine anyone else being Tony.”

And then there is that chase sequence in the Peak District - and with anything other than its tense and melancholic string-heavy musical soundtrack, the scene could almost have been in danger of veering into the realms of soapy meldodramatic panto: deranged man hunts down his male-lover-dressed-as-a woman, and she's in her best gear, too: what's not to love?

Sean Bean says: “Stephen’s Tony and Tracie are engaged in a serious altercation on the hillside. We were running, shouting and I was slipping about like mad in stilettos and full drag. 

"The weather was freezing, it was sleeting and the wind was ferocious. We got soaked through. Stephen chose to carry on despite having tonsillitis. In the end I had to chuck my wig off because it was getting in the way.

"I think it’ll make really atmospheric and frightening telly."

He got that right. When's the spin-off series?

Related stories:
The Accused: Jimmy McGovern does the wicked stepmother in Stephen's Story

1 comment:

  1. He made one ugly woman!! I prefer him out of the dress. great prog tho