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Bean was not the first actor to be chosen to play Sharpe.
As Paul Mc Gann was injured while playing football two days into filming, the producers initially tried to work around his injury, but it proved impossible and Bean replaced him.
Bean has since garnered further recognition for his performance as Ned Stark in the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, as well as roles in the BBC anthology series Accused and the ITV historical drama series Henry VIII.
Before casting finished, rumours circulated that Jackson had considered Bean for the role of Aragorn, but neither Bean nor Jackson confirmed this in subsequent interviews.
His first notable Hollywood appearance was that of an Irish republican terrorist in the 1992 film adaptation of Patriot Games.
While filming his death scene, Harrison Ford hit him with a boat hook, giving him a permanent scar.
He became a repentant, poetry-reading Grammaton cleric who succumbs to his emotions in 2002's Equilibrium, a quirky alien cowboy in 2003's The Big Empty, and a sympathetic and cunning Odysseus in the 2004 film Troy.
He appeared with other Hollywood stars in Moby's music video "We Are All Made of Stars" in February 2002.
The series ran continuously from 1993 to 1997, with three episodes produced each year.