Moviehole caught up with the always amiable Michael Sheen (currently starring in another true tale, “The Damned United”) recently, and managed to sneak in a few questions about some of his future projects – namely the highly-anticipated “The Twilight Saga : New Moon” and “Alice in Wonderland” for director Tim Burton.
“New Moon” is obviously one of these – the franchise that is so highly anticipated. How prepared are you for the – for the response to a movie like that? I mean, do you ever prepare yourself, or do you just go with the flow?
Sheen: I just go with the flow, really. I mean, there’s certainly a lot of media attention on it, because obviously, everyone I do an interview with wants to ask about it. So I’m aware of that and I’m aware that there’s a very passionate and devoted following, which includes my own daughter. So , I’m looking forward to being a part of all that. I enjoyed making the film. I like the character very much. I’m very much looking forward to the decibel level I’ve been told about coming from the “Twilight” fans at the premiere.
Who are you in this movie?
Sheen: I play a character called Aro, who’s the leader of the Volturi, who’s the sort of head vampire.
Are different acting muscles required to play a character of such imagination, as opposed to a much more real or grounded character, as in Damned United?
Sheen: Not really. I don’t see a huge difference, personally, myself. They’re all characters in stories, ultimately. You know, none of them are real. The character I play in Damned United is based on a real man, you know. The character I played in The Queen, the character I played in Frost/Nixon are all based on real people. But they’re all characters in a story. So – you know, the same rules apply and I personally don’t see a huge difference. I know other people do. But – ultimately, you know, you’d be hard-pressed to actually meet any of these people.
What about ”Wonderland”? How much fun was it, working on that?
Sheen: It was great. All the animal characters in “Alice in Wonderland” are CGI and animated. So, we’re just providing the voices, really. And – and a bit of then – they filmed sort of some of our movements and stuff, to help with the animation. But ultimately, it’s mainly the vocal work. So it was just such an honor and a pleasure to – to be part of a Tim Burton film. I’ve been – you know, a massive fan of his. And – to get to work with him on Alice in Wonderland was sort of – you know, it’s a marriage made in heaven, really. Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland. So, it was great. I wish I could have been involved even more.
What surprised you the most about working with Tim?
Sheen: Gosh. There were no real surprises. I know he’s a phenomenally talented and incredibly creative and imaginative guy. And I wasn’t disappointed in that. He’s a very nice man, and very – very warm, very generous, and very – just really pleasant to be with.
So, beyond “Tron”, what else are you planning on doing at this point?
Sheen: Well, the next film I’m shooting is here in LA. It’s an independent film called “Beautiful Boy”. And I start that in a few weeks’ time. And then next year, I think we’ll have a film that I did with Samuel Jackson called “Unthinkable”.
Oh, yes, I remember that. You play the guy who’s being accused of terrorism?
Sheen: That’s right. So, that’ll be coming along at some point. And then we’ll see. So, next year’s sort of starting to take shape now with a few different things, but nothing absolutely confirmed yet. So, we’ll see what happens.
Who do you play in “Beautiful Boy”?
Sheen: It’s me and Maria Bello, and we play a married couple who have a son who gets involved in a sort of Columbine-type shooting.