TV Heartbeat Interview: Sean Bean is Alive in Re-Booted Legends!

Fans of Legends will be excited to see season 2 of the Sean Bean spy thriller. People who didn’t love the first season of the TNT show should also be excited since Legends is re-booting with a new showrunner, new focus, and a new location, but still with plenty of Sean Bean.

Showrunner Ken Biller and star Sean Bean dropped by New York Comic Con to talk about this new season which focuses on Martin Odum (Sean Bean) who’s on the run for a murder he didn’t commit. To clear his name and to discover who he really is, he will continue to use his special skills aka undercover personas aka legends. This season, however, the story will focus on a greater mystery and will not feature a bad-guy-of-the-week.

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“I was approached by the studio and the network to revamp the show for a second season,” begins Ken. “To make it feel and look different and to embrace a different kind of storytelling that was a little less traditional. That was more of an edgier, more fully serialized show.”

Sean embraces this change: “I think there’s a lot more thought into the story, the one big story. It’s not a series of episodes which I think it was last year. It was a series of episodes that had villains that died in the end. It was a bit predictable, in my opinion.”

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Sean will have fewer legends to play this season as the story focuses on Martin Odum and Dimitri Petrovich. This was a welcome change for the actor who was eager to avoid the “how many parts can Sean Bean play in a series” syndrome. “It’s more important to me to concentrate on two. That was the most thrilling thing for me this year.”

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Ken was proud of his star since Sean is “really digging his teeth into two roles and not jumping around from character to character.” In fact, his favorite scene in the premiere episode is one that Sean “plays entirely in Russian. I think he’s brilliant. I love that scene.”

Sean Bean fans may be surprised at this since he was reluctant to embrace a standard English accent for Game of Thrones (as Kit Harrington tells it). Sean takes the Dimitri’s Russian accent in stride: “Once I was familiar with the structure of the language, the rhythm, the accent, I felt very comfortable and very secure so I don’t mind switching. It wasn’t difficult for me.”
While Sean is not a method actor, he said “I spent quite a lot of time in Russia, the Crimea. I was there the best part of two years. I was in Moscow and I have a lot of Russian friends so it was familiar to me.”

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In addition to focusing on two legends for Sean, the story will become more intricate. Ken gives an example: “There’s a character called Terrance Graves who’s played by a wonderful actor called Ralph Brown. He seems to be an ancillary character. You meet him in episode 1 and you don’t think he’s connected to the larger story and then you discover that he is. And then, if you get to episode 5, you discover more than you can possibly imagine about this guy.”

Also, Ken explains that the “storytelling is very non-linear and so we jump from time period to time period and from character to character and sometimes we see characters at different points in their lives or as different people. You don’t have to pay attention, but if you do pay attention, you’re really rewarded.”

Among the rewards, Ken promises, is an answer on the proverbial ‘who is Martin Odum?’ question. “If they watch for 10 episodes, they won‘t be teased. I think it’s a pretty interesting answer.”

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For fans of the first season, Morris Chestnut will be back to help link the story across seasons. Ken designed this season to “make some things in season one connect” without having to have seen the first season for new viewers. Oh, Ken also teases that Morris “does take his shirt off.”

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So are you ready for the new season?  Sean describes it as “much darker and edgier with a raw, gritty feeling to it. We’re not afraid to go to places we didn’t in the first series. We push it and I love that. I think it’s much more gripping and much more adventurous, bold production.”

But perhaps not overly bold. If there’s a legend he would not like to portray, Sean says “well, I wouldn’t want to be Donald Trump.”

The new season of Legends starts on Monday, Novembers 2nd on TNT. Episodes of season 1 are available on demand and Netflix.

Legends NYCC 2015 (1)

Stay tuned!

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