Sean Bean Interview: Entering the Unique World of Knights of the Zodiac

The Saint Seiya Saga has been around for decades. Saint Seiya is a massively popular Japanese manga and anime series that started in the mid-’80s. The original series follows the five Saints, mystical warriors who fight to defend an Olympian Goddess named Athena from evil beings who seek to conquer Earth. The protagonist, Seiya, is an orphan who enters into seclusion in order to find Athena’s protective armour. If chosen, the armour turns its wearer into one of Athena’s many Saints. Seiya eventually comes to find his power and takes up the mantle of the Pegasus Saint.

While intricate in its world-building, at its core, the Saint Seiya Saga is a classic origin story about heroes and protecting those you love, which fits perfectly in today’s superhero-oriented entertainment landscape. Yet shockingly, no one has ever attempted to make a live-action adaptation of the manga and anime series until now. Fans of the long-running and international sensation can finally celebrate as director Tomek Bagiński and Stage 6 Films bring the Saint Seiya Saga to where it belongs — the big screen.

Knights of the Zodiac is the first live-action adaptation of the Saint Seiya Saga. However, the story might look slightly different than it did in the anime series. Writers Josh Campbell, Matt Stueken, and Kiel Murray find dynamic and thrilling ways to adapt the story into something both new audiences and die-hard fans will find entertaining. In this adaptation, Alman Kiddo (Sean Bean) whisks Seiya (Mackenyu) into a world of Gods and Knights to protect Kiddo’s daughter, Sienna (Madison Iseman). While Sienna might seem like any ordinary girl at first, Seiya soon discovers she also happens to be the reincarnation of the Olympian Goddess Athena.

Beans’ character, Alman Kiddo, is responsible for inaugurating Seiya, and the audience, into this dynamic and complex world when Guraad (Famke Janssen) discovers Sienna’s true identity and sets out to destroy her. Kiddo must find the Pegasus Saint, who turns out to be Seiya, and convince him to join the fight to protect his daughter from Guraad. Audiences will be surprised when watching Janssen’s (X-Men) deliciously evil performance. Her portrayal is a twist on the classic character from the anime but in the best way.

Its unique mixture of Japanese culture and Greek mythology set Saint Seiya and Knights of the Zodiac apart from similar movies and television shows. That mix is integral to the story and is one of the main elements that attracted Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones) to playing Alman Kiddo.  “I was quite familiar with the Greek Mythology side growing up, and I’ve kept quite an interest in that, but the Japanese side of the manga — I wasn’t as familiar with it. But then I got hooked. The two cultures combined was such an interesting mixture. It’s fantastic.”

Watch the full video to learn more about what legendary actor Sean Bean found so fascinating about his new film, Knights of the Zodiac, and how he tackled entering the complex and expansive world in his interview with That Shelf.

Knights of the Zodiac opens in theatres on May 12.