Michael Sheen: Interview with 'New Moon' star on fitting in with the cast

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.

Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

Comments (22 total) Add your comment
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  • michka

    The man did great in the movie but…i’m thinking of taking a break with EW website until next saturday. I’m fed up with the twi-crap.

    • ANNYONG!

      Hush, now.
      I’m eagerly awaiting the EW interview with Grip #3.
      I’ve gotta know what it was like to push a dolly through the set.

  • Aiden

    I really respect Michael Sheen as an actor, in whichever role he plays. He’s absolutely amazing. In this film, for the brief moment he was in it, he commanded the screen. Perfectly creepy.

    Interesting perspective on the Twilight Saga, as well.

  • Paul

    Not sure why EW is surprised he took a role in “New Moon”. Sure he’s known for playing David Frost and Tony Blair but he also played the lead werewolf in “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”! So he’s no stranger to horror-genre films.

    • Kalie

      I was going to say the same thing. They might want to do a little more research before posting these articles.

  • Ellen

    He is a great actor and it showed in the one scene he had. He made Robert and Kristen lack of real acting skills apparent

    • stephanie

      Gotta agree with you on that one…

  • Gregoire

    CAST MEMBER FROM TWILIGHT FARTS: EW is THERE!

  • Lynn

    I’m also not surprised Sheen took the role. Man’s gotta get paid just like everyone else.
    And Ellen is correct. What Sheen did in his one little scene pretty much made his other castmates look embarrassingly bad.

  • CVisca

    I thought he had one of the best performances in the movie, can’t wait to see what he does w/ Breaking Dawn.

    • Nelly

      Me too! Aro appears a lot more in that book so I can’t wait to see him again playing the role. He was fantastic in New Moon.

  • jacob78

    as much as I love everybody in the movie, michael sheen was the big scene-stealer. I was in total awe of his command and presence as Aro. He played him as a playful, creepy,powerful leader. His performance was a highlight for me. The accent, the facial expressions, the enjoyment he has instilling fear, and the part when he changes his voice from playful to commanding when he asked bells for her hand was brief but incredibly powerful. I absolutely love him now.. Team Michael Sheen and… Taylor lautner of course.. LOL!!

  • Ali

    I LOVE MICHAEL SHEEN! This interview makes me wanna see the damn movie, and I HATE TWILIGHT!

    • Lizabeth

      Honestly, you will be annoyed for however long the movie is minus the 5 minutes he is on screen, but it is so worth it! He is so awesome!

  • JC

    That is so funny that he said the part about his daughter being a little upset about his involvement with New Moon. I am addicted to all things Twilight but after seeing the movie, I didn’t love it. My daughter (12) was like good. I can have it back now! Too funny.

  • Andrea

    it’s good for him that he kind of sees past the fantasy aspect of the twilight saga. because believe it or not, there’s actual meaning behind the story.

    • @Andrea

      I’m breathless to know what the “actual meaning” is.

      • Cara

        Did you not read what he had to say about the meaning of it in the interview, then?

  • F.

    I just love Michael Sheen and I did before he got involved in the all Twilight thing. He’s just an incredible actor and did a great job with Aro.

  • Jillie!

    This shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone! Michael Sheen played a Lycan in the “Underworld’series.

  • kelly

    Adoro Michael Sheen é um ator de expressões e papéis fortes o que deu a saga uma nova cara apesar de sua participação ter sido em uma pequena parte do filme na minha opinião foram uma das melhores partes.
    Michael Sheen tras mais verácidade, verdade e respeito ao filme já que muitos críticos o esnobam por falar de coisas que eles já não lembram mais o que significa como amor, perda e esperança.
    O filme é lindo o livro melhorrrrr ainda e aqui no Brasil já estamos na espera do próximo “eclipse” que pra mim foi o melhor livro e que une os 3 personagens espero ver Michael Sheen novamente ele é ótimo.

  • jenb

    I LOVED Michael as Aro. He had him down perfectly. He totally stole & commanded the Volturi scene. Not Dakota Fanning as Jane, not the Edward & Felix fight, but Michael’s performance as Aro. I hope BD gets made so that we’ll get to see him play Aro again.

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