No doubt you know Sean Bean for his portrayal of Boromir in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. But Bean has a number of other films on his resume that are worth a watch and one such film finds itself climbing the most-watched Hulu charts, sitting at #6.
Black Death is exactly what it says. The tale is set in plague-ridden, medieval England in the mid-14th century and it quickly shows what the bubonic plague is all about.
Our story begins with young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) who has a secret relationship with Averill (Kimberley Nixon) who has taken sanctuary in Osmund’s monastery. The plague, though, doesn’t play favorites and has found its way inside. Osmund convinces Averill to take leave to a nearby forest, where she will wait for him.
Sean Bean’s Ulric then arrives at the monastery, seeking a guide to lead him and his men through the forest to reach a remote village said to be untouched by the plague. Seeing this as a sign, Osmund agrees to guide them. It is after he agrees that Ulric informs him that the village is said to be led by a necromancer and their intent is to capture and deliver this person to the bishop for trial and execution.
From the start, the journey is filled with death. Osmund finds the bloody clothing of Averill and now believes her to be dead. The remaining group finally reaches the village and is met by the village leaders, Hob and Langiva.
The villagers know why Ulric and his group are there, so they take it upon themselves to drug the soldiers. Meanwhile, Osmund discovers Averill’s body in the village and is witness to Langvia performing a ritual that brings Averill back to life.
With Sean Bean’s soldiers captured and placed in a water-pit, they are told they will be freed if they renounce God. The group refuses, leading to one of the soldiers being crucified and then disemboweled. This causes another soldier to give in and renounce God. He is then taken into the woods and hung.
Death comes in different forms in this movie and all of it is brutal. Crucifixions, disembowelments, stabbings, and dismemberments. Not to mention the surrounding and prevailing bubonic plague. It’s all graphically medieval, showing just how horrible the seven years of the Black Death epidemic were.
Christopher Smith directed Sean Bean’s Black Death from a script he co-wrote with Dario Poloni. Smith had a different take he wanted to explore with his “medieval guys on a mission” story. The period of the black death,” he explains to Shock Till You Drop. “What’s fantastical and rich about that period? I said, ‘What if we took a realistic approach?’ … It’s like a dark parable about how things haven’t really moved on in the last 600 years.”
So, Smith made his Sean Bean feature as realistic as he could imagine life was in the Bubonic Plague-infested 1300s. It was very effective, if not stomach-churning at times. In reality, the bubonic plague was responsible for killing over 20 million people in Europe, which was nearly one-third of the continent’s entire population.
As for Sean Bean, as previously mentioned, fans know him best for playing Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy that brought in nearly $3 billion at the box office. As with many roles, Bean wasn’t the first choice to play the part. Liam Neeson was up first, but he eventually declined. Daniel Craig auditioned, and the production company suggested Nic Cage, but Jackson decided to go with Bean.
On the feature film front, Sean Bean has been quite active. He’s been seen in movies like Don’t Say a Word, Troy, National Treasure, Flightplan, Silent Hill, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
While Sean Bean has found plenty of success on the big screen, he has also made a name for himself on the small screen as well. Most famously, Bean was Ned Stark on the first season of Game of Thrones, but he has more to his credits when it comes to television. He’s been on Crusoe, Missing, Legends, Wasted, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Medici, Curfew, and Snowpiercer just to name a few.
Sean Bean can be seen in Black Death, climbing the Hulu charts.