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Michael Sheen: New Man of a Thousand Faces

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 28, 2009

Michael Sheen as Lucian in Underworld

Michael Sheen as Lucian in Underworld

Michael Sheen as Head Vampire in Twilight: New Moon

Michael Sheen as Head Vampire in Twilight: New Moon

From IndieWire.com

Michael Sheen is as driven as the soccer coach he plays in Toronto-bound The Damned United.

In demand for a range of roles, the Welsh-born stage actor has conquered London and Broadway, smart movies and genre franchises. He starred as Lucian, king of the werewolves in all three Underworld movies. (Screen Gems released Patrick Tatopoulous’s Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans  in January.)

This summer Sheen traded in one set of hair extensions and fake incisors for another: now he is playing head vampire of The Volturi in Twilight: New Moon, directed by Chris Weitz. The film is due in November.

On stage in London and New York and in the Ron Howard movie Frost/Nixon, Sheen held his own with Frank Langella as they reenacted the 1977 ramp-up and television face-off between cheery TV host David Frost and embittered ex-president Richard M. Nixon. Sheen shares a special relationship with Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan. Sheen starred as Tony Blair in both TV’s The Deal and Stephen Frear’s Oscar-winning The Queen. Now Sheen stars in yet another plum role from Morgan, the Brit soccer flick The Damned United, directed by Tom Hooper (John Adams). In it Sheen plays a brash, controversial, alcoholic, arrogant and charismatic soccer coach. “Peter has a knack for making subjects accessible,” Sheen told me at a meeting at the L’ermitage Hotel last year. “Initially, Frost/Nixon and The Queen were both a hard sell.” Morgan was going to direct The Special Relationship, in which Sheen continued as Blair opposite Dennis Quaid and Hope Davis as Bill and Hillary Clinton, but Richard Loncraine took over the helm.

 “But Sheen’s willingness to embrace versatility may have a downside, he admits: you risk not creating a brand identity. “I enjoy the challenge of playing lots of different characters and having people accept me as that character.”

Sony Pictures Classics opens The Damned United in limited release on October 5. Next Sheen co-stars opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Gregor Jordan’s Unthinkable, and voices the White Rabbit in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

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