Michael Christopher Sheen appears in New Moon, Eclipse, and both Breaking Dawn movies as Aro. Sheen is well known for his roles as David Frost in the Academy Award nominated Frost/Nixon, and as the Lycans' leader Lucian in the Underworld film series. He also played the voice of the white rabbit in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and reprised his role as Tony Blair in the 2011 Peter Morgan film The Special Relationship.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Sheen was born in Newport, Wales, to Irene and Meyrick Sheen, both of whom worked in personnel management. His father is also a part-time professional Jack Nicholson look-alike. He has a younger sister, Joanne. When Sheen was five, the family moved to Liverpool, where he became a lifelong Liverpool F.C. fan by watching the side of the 1970s. Three years later, the family returned to his parents' home of Port Talbot, where he attended Glan Afan Comprehensive School and played football for Baglan boys club.
Sheen was offered a trial at Arsenal FC after being spotted by the father of Tony Adams during a family holiday at Pontin's on the Isle of Wight, but chose to pursue an acting career instead. "I was wearing a Swansea kit at the time, so everyone called me Swansea, which I hated. Tony Adams was playing against me and I skinned him a few times, so I must have made an impression." Deciding not to take the trial as it would have meant the family leaving Port Talbot for London, he lost interest in football in his early teens as football became a more physical game.
Sheen became interested in the theatre through both school study and parents being members of the local amateur dramatic group, which resulted in Sheen joining the West Glamorgan Youth theatre, where he was a contemporary of writer Russell T Davies.  After leaving school Sheen accepted a place to study acting at the National Youth Theatre of Wales in Cardiff, and then trained at the internationally renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Career[edit | edit source]
During his second year at RADA he scored his first starring role, opposite Vanessa Redgrave in When She Danced. Sheen soon established himself as one of the most promising talents on the theatrical scene, notably being cast as Mozart in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, which was staged at the Old Vic theatre and directed by Sir Peter Hall. He later reprised this role on Broadway.
His screen appearances include the BBC drama serial, Gallowglass (based on the novel by Ruth Rendell), and the films Wilde (1997) (in which he played Robert Ross) and Mary Reilly. However, he remained primarily a stage actor, having starred in high-profile productions of Henry V, Peer Gynt, The Dresser, Caligula and Look Back in Anger, among others.
In 2003, he appeared with Kate Beckinsale in the Gothic action film Underworld as the werewolf Lucian. Salon critic Andrew O'Hehir commented that while the "... entire movie is full of campy overacting... Brolly and Sheen seem to have been selected for their talents in this regard." Sheen has also appeared with Beckinsale in the season seven premiere of Punk'd.
He has become well known for playing real-life characters. He played Tony Blair in the Channel 4 drama The Deal and later, in the film The Queen. He has also played Kenneth Williams in Fantabulosa! on BBC Four, H G Wells in H G Wells: War with the World on BBC Two, and in 2006, he played Nero in the BBC's Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire.
At the 2005 British Academy Television Awards, Sheen was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in the TV drama, Dirty Filthy Love, in which he played a man with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2007, he received two BAFTA nominations, this time for Best Supporting Actor in a Film, for his performance in The Queen, and for Best Television Actor, for his role in Fantabulosa; once again, he was unsuccessful in both cases.
Later that year, he played David Frost in the critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, which later transferred to the Gielgud Theatre before heading to Broadway in 2007. He has reprised the role in the 2008 Ron Howard-directed film adaptation. In 2007, he read Paul Torday's novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. The same year, Sheen was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
On 2 October 2007, it was announced that Peter Morgan was working on a sequel to The Queen, and that Sheen will be reprising his role as Tony Blair in The Special Relationship, starring alongside Dennis Quaid as former US President Bill Clinton and Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton.
In January 2009, he returned to the role of Lucian in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the third release in the Underworld film series and prequel to the original 2003 film.
In March 2009 Sheen played Brian Clough to critical acclaim in Peter Morgan's adaptation of David Peace's novel The Damned Utd, based on Clough's 44-day spell in charge of Leeds United. The same year, he co-starred as the vampire Aro in the second installment of the Twilight film series, New Moon, released on November 20. He was the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" on the November 22, 2009 edition of Top Gear.
November 2009 also saw the release of the DVD; 'Michael Sheen presents You're The Boss'. An entertaining documentary comedy celebrating the games greatest football managers and the highs and lows of football management.
He has appeared in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Disney sequel Tron: Legacy, independent drama Beautiful Boy and Woody Allen's highest-grossing film in twenty-five years, Midnight in Paris. In November 2010, he received the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year.
His television work was recognised in 2010 with a nomination for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie for his performance in the third instalment of Peter Morgan's Blair trilogy, The Special Relationship. He also made a guest appearance in four episodes of NBC's 30 Rock as Wesley Snipes, a love interest for Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey). In 2011, he voiced a character in a Doctor Who episode written by Neil Gaiman.
At Easter in 2011, he starred in and was creative director of a 72-hour staging of The Passion, a secular passion play, in his hometown of Port Talbot, Wales. In addition to a professional cast, over one thousand local amateurs took part. The event was the subject of a BBC documentary and was also filmed by director Dave McKean for a separate release. He will next play Hamlet at the Young Vic Theatre in October 2011, directed by Ian Rickson.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Sheen and English actress Kate Beckinsale have a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, born 31 January 1999. When Beckinsale shot the film The Golden Bowl, Sheen hit actor Jeremy Northam after he had insulted Beckinsale. Their seven-year relationship ended when, during the filming of Underworld (in which they both starred), Beckinsale left him for the film's director, Len Wiseman, whom she then married. Although he did not appear in the 2006 sequel Underworld: Evolution, other than in flashbacks to the first film, Sheen had a prominent role in the prequel Underworld 3: The Rise Of The Lycans, which Wiseman produced but did not write or direct, and in which Beckinsale does not appear except for the end where she is sitting and thinking about something.
Sheen lived for a time in the United States with Beckinsale, but since their relationship ended, he now splits his time between the United Kingdom and Los Angeles co-parenting their daughter. Sheen has been dating ballet dancer Lorraine Stewart in 2003-2004, whom he met while watching cousin Caroline Sheen perform at the National Theatre. He later dated Rachel McAdams between 2011-2013.
On 15 July 2008, Sheen was awarded the freedom of the borough of Neath Port Talbot, making him one of the youngest people to receive the honour and putting him amongst a select group of people including Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Sheen was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. He was named Actor of the Year in GQ Magazine's 2009 Men of the Year Awards.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
|1998||Lost in France||Owen||television|
|The Four Feathers||William Trench|
|2003||Bright Young Things||Miles|
|The Deal||Tony Blair||television|
|Timeline||Lord Oliver de Vannes|
|2004||Laws of Attraction||Thorne Jamison|
|Dirty Filthy Love||Mark Furness||television|
|"The Banker"||The Banker||Short film|
|2005||Dead Long Enough||Harry Jones|
|Kingdom of Heaven||Priest|
|"The Open Doors"||Framton Nuttel||Short film|
|The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse||Jeremy Dyson|
|2006||Underworld: Evolution||Lucian||Flash backs only|
|Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!]||Kenneth Williams||television|
|The Queen||Tony Blair|
|Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire||Nero||TV Series: 1 Episode|
|HG Wells: War with the World||H. G. Wells||television|
|Blood Diamond||Rupert Simmons|
|2007||Music Within||Art Honeyman||Nominated|
|"Airlock Or How To Say Goodbye In Space"||Adam Banton||Short film|
|2009||Underworld: Rise of the Lycans||Lucian|
|The Damned United||Brian Clough||Nominated|
|My Last Five Girlfriends||Burnham|
|The Twilight Saga: New Moon||Aro|
|2010||Unthinkable||Yusuf / Steven Arthur Younger|
|Alice in Wonderland||The White Rabbit||Voice only|
|Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue||Dr. Griffiths||Voice only|
|30 Rock||Wesley Snipes||TV Series: 4 episodes|
|The Special Relationship||Tony Blair||Nominated|
|Beautiful Boy||Bill Carroll|
|2011||Jesus Henry Christ||Dr Slavkin O'Hara|
|Midnight in Paris||Paul|
|Doctor Who||House||Episode: "The Doctor's Wife"|
|The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1||Aro|
|2012||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2||Aro|
|Jesus Henry Christ||Dr. Slavkin O’Hara|
|2016||Alice Through The Looking Glass||The White Rabbit||Voice|
|2017||Home Again||Austen Blume|
|2018||Slaughterhouse Rulez||The Bat|
References[edit | edit source]
- From Tony Blair and Brian Clough to King of all Vampires, Michael Sheen is back in the Twilight zone. Mail Online (2009-04-12). Retrieved on 2009-04-13.