This Wednesday night, Sean Bean returns to television on Legends as the mysterious Martin Odum. He plays a deep undercover operative with multiple covers or "legends" working for the FBI.
During the Television Critics Association Summer Tour, the cast and producers stopped by to discuss their new show.
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Sean Bean has grown a reputation for portraying characters on the big and small screen who end up dying. Most recently as Ned Stark on Game of Thrones and he was believed dead on Missing only to surprise viewers when he showed up very much alive.
TNT has embraced the trend by promoting Legends with the hashtag #DontKillSeanBean, including promotional materials. When asked about the interest people have in his deaths on screen, Bean called it "Quite bizarre."
His favorite death was on Lord of Rings, "I liked that death. I was quite happy. Big death." Don't worry, he won't be dying soon on Legends, "I'm going to be in this for a while."
The Man, the Legend
"Martin Odum is a man of mystery who has a past that we dig into and it's sort of kind of a Russian doll of who he really is," said Executive Producer David Wilcox.
"Martin Odum, as an undercover operative, as someone who embraces various legends to go deep cover, you know, into these criminal organizations, is somebody who you don't necessarily know what you're getting in terms of his identity. And that's really what this show is about. It's about a guy whose identity is kind of the driving question. Who is he? And he's on this journey to figure that out.
Playing Martin Odum
One of the factors that interested Bean in the role of Martin Odum was the ability to play multiple characters while working undercover.
"I just thought it was interesting to follow these characters that went undercover and to kind of see what consequences were psychologically by doing that, having to totally believe that you were someone else, imagine yourself in another character and still try and lead a normal life with a wife and child," explained Bean.
"I think that deals with that kind of dilemma, very serious psychological dilemma that these guys or girls face when they go undercover."
When creating the legends, the writers didn't want the it to feel like the "undercover schtick of the week," instead Martin Odum becomes these people.
"It was about these legends that he has that are pre-existing identities that are out there, and they have their own apartments, their own cars. They have their own drink that they like." explained Wilcox.
"It becomes, as these legends go, it'a almost like they're entirely different characters. ... [Martin Odum] immerses himself so completely into that role and ultimately, circling back to just this theme of identity, ... it's about this guy who can't tell his legends from his life and finding out who the real person at the core is. [That's] what this journey was about this season."
Strong, But Vulnerable Women and Men
Ali Larter is excited to show the complexity of her character, Crystal McGuire. While Crystal doesn't have any legends as an FBI agent, she does go undercover when needed.
"One of the really fun things about taking her on was this chance that I wanted to play a really strong woman, but also be able to embrace her vulnerable side ... a lot of times with female characters, especially strong female characters, they're asked to cut that side of them off., said Larter.
"This show is taking these characters, but really showing the pieces and the place that break them, showing the moments and really the toll it takes on them with the pressures of their job. That's what's interesting t me to watch and interesting to play, is seeing where people break."
Legends premieres Wednesday, August 13 at 9pm ET on TNT.
(Image and video courtesy of TNT.)