Sean Bean: Meet Me In Middle-Earth - Ringbearer
He admits he never got around to reading The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, the former Oxford University professor who delivered the bestseller in the mid-1950s.
The novels are set in the Third Age of Middle-earth, an invented prehistoric era populated with hobbits, elves, trolls, orcs and humans.
"To me, it is a grown-up fairytale that is dark and sinister" says Bean. "But it is an incredible fantasy that is quite wonderful and leaves you full of hope."
His 39-year-old director will be sharing that hope. At a point a few years ago when it looked as if the trilogy would finally be made with European film-fund cash, Sean Connery was penciled in as wise wizard Gandalf; Nicol Williamson as Saruman, chief of all wizards; Isabelle Adjani as Arwen, the young elf warrior; and Greta Scacchi as the elf Galadriel, wise and visionary queen of Lorien.