Michael Sheen is best known for his roles as Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in Frost/Nixon. So it was a bit of a surprise that this serious actor, with a great ability to transform completely into real-life characters, would want a role in the frothy Twilight series. EW.com chatted with Sheen about his New Moon experience.
What made you want to sign on to this project?
I knew about the whole Twilight thing, primarily through my daughter, who’s 11 and is a big fan of the books. She’s read the books many, many times. And I knew how much people got into them. These weren’t just books you read. She was really into it. That was my introduction to it. I read the scripts and the book myself and saw the first film. And I thought it was a wonderful story and a great character. And then [director] Chris Weitz sent me a really lovely letter. It was a terrific thing to get involved with.
What was your daughter’s reaction to your playing Aro?
It was a whole mixture of things. She was very excited to think I was going to be a part of this, but she also thought her father was taking over something that was hers. But she got over that pretty quickly and was in the end just excited about going to the premiere really.
That’s what it all boiled down to, her chance to meet Robert Pattinson?
Yes, but actually her favorite is Ashley Greene.
Ashley spoke very highly of her time working with you.
She’s lovely. They all were very nice but they kind of treated me like an elderly uncle. They were all on their best behavior when they are around me. I just want to be down with the kids but that doesn’t really work out to well.
You have great command of the scene with the Volturi and you can tell that those other actors had great respect for you.
It helps coming into something where they all know each other and have already done one movie together. They’ve also been involved in the whole phenomenon together so I think they’ve bonded a lot. So when you’re coming in to do a big scene like the one we did in the film, it helps if the character you are playing is higher status than the other ones. At least it gives you a bit more confidence. So that certainly helped.
What do you think audiences are responding to with Twilight?
I think it’s a whole combination of things coming together. Especially for adolescent girls and also for older audiences, Stephenie [Meyer] takes the incredibly powerful experiences you have as a teenager and treats them absolutely fearlessly and gives them the respect they deserve. The first book and film are about the first time you fall in love. And New Moon is all about the first time your heart is broken. These are some of the most powerful experiences you can have in your life, regardless of your age. And there is a tendency to kind of trivialize those things as you get older, to kind of be patronizing about those things. And Stephenie treats them absolutely seriously. She also, very cleverly in a way, said that the vampires are stunningly gorgeous as a way to lure their prey. That’s very clever because in casting the film you have very beautiful people who are very good as well.
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