Despite becoming relatively wealthy, the family never moved away from the council estate as they preferred to remain close to friends and family.
Other roles include Alec Trevelyan in the James Bond film Golden Eye (1995) and Odysseus in Troy (2004), as well as roles in Patriot Games (1992), Ronin (1998), National Treasure (2004), North Country (2005), The Island (2005), Silent Hill (2006), Black Death (2010), Jupiter Ascending (2015) and The Martian (2015).
As a voice actor, Bean has been featured in the video games The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Sid Meier's Civilization VI, and the drama The Canterbury Tales, among several others.
He appeared in his first film, Derek Jarman's Caravaggio (1986), opposite Tilda Swinton, playing Ranuccio Tomassoni, followed in the same director's War Requiem (1988).
In 1989, he starred as the evil Dominic O'Brien in The Fifteen Streets, where he gained a dedicated following.
He appears briefly in flashbacks in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as well as in a scene from the extended edition of The Two Towers.
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.
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.
Bean's fear of flying in helicopters caused him difficulties in mountainous New Zealand, where the trilogy was filmed.