Edit
Michael Sheen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (87) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK
Birth NameMichael Christopher Sheen
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Even though he had burned up the London stage for nearly a decade--and appeared in several films--Michael Sheen was not really "discovered" by American audiences until his critically-acclaimed turn as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1999 Broadway revival of "Amadeus".

Sheen was born in Newport, Wales, the only son of Irene (Thomas) and Meyrick Sheen. The charming, curly-haired actor grew up a middle-class boy in the working-class town of Port Talbot, Wales. Although his parents worked in personnel, they shared with their son a deep appreciation for acting, with Meyrick Sheen enjoying some success later in life as a Jack Nicholson impersonator.

As a young man, Michael Sheen turned down the opportunity to pursue a possible professional football career, opting to follow in the footsteps of Daniel Day-Lewis and Patrick Stewart by attending the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School instead of university. In his second year, he won the coveted Laurence Olivier Bursary for consistently outstanding performances. While Sheen was still studying, he landed a pivotal role opposite stage legend Vanessa Redgrave in Martin Sherman's "When She Danced" (1991). He left school early to make his West End debut and has been dazzling audiences and critics with his intense and passionate performances ever since. Among his most memorable roles were "Romeo" in "Romeo and Juliet", the title role in Yukio Ninagawa's 1994 Royal Shakespeare Company's staging of "Peer Gynt" and "Jimmy Porter" both in a 1994 regional staging in a 1999 London revival of "Look Back in Anger". A critic from the London Times panned the multimedia production of "Peer Gynt", but praised Sheen for his ability to express "astonishing vitality despite lifeless direction". Referring to Sheen's performance in "Look Back in Anger", Susannah Clapp of The Observer hailed him for his "luminous quality" and ability to be goaded and fiery and defensive all at the same time. Sheen also managed to set critics' tongues wagging with a deft performance in the role of "Henry V", not a part traditionally given to a slight, boyish-looking actor. One writer raved: "Sheen, volatile and responsive in an excellent performance, showed us the exhilaration of power and conquest".

In 1993, Sheen joined the troupe "Cheek By Jowl" and was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for his performance in "Don't Fool with Love". That same year, he excelled as a mentally unstable man who becomes enmeshed in a kidnapping plot in Mystery!: Gallowglass (1993), a three-part BBC serial that aired in the USA on PBS' "Mystery!" in 1995. The actor nabbed his first feature film role in 1994, playing Dr. Jekyll's footman in Mary Reilly (1996) opposite John Malkovich and Julia Roberts, but that film did not make it into theaters until 1996, a year after Sheen's second movie, Othello (1995), was filmed and released. Perhaps his most memorable big screen role at that point, however, was "Robert Ross", Oscar Wilde's erstwhile lover, in the 1997 biopic Wilde (1997). He would also be seen in the Brit road film Heartlands (2002) opposite Mark Addy.

Hot off the success of "Amadeus", Sheen began racking up even more notable big screen credits, starring opposite Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson in The Four Feathers (2002) and landing a major role opposite Kate Beckinsale in the action-horror blockbuster Underworld (2003), along with supporting turns in Bright Young Things (2003), Timeline (2003) and as British Prime Minister Tony Blair in director Stephen Frears' film The Queen (2006). Next, Sheen grabbed good notices played a divorce-embattled rock star, stealing scenes from Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore in the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction (2004).

Back on the stage, the actor earned raves for his performance as "Caligula" in London, for which he won the Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, along with a nomination for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kat

Trade Mark (2)

Known for playing real-life figures such as David Frost and Tony Blair.
Rich mellifluous voice, with a Welsh accent.

Trivia (27)

Brother of Joanne Sheen.
He has a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, born January, 1999 with his former long time girlfriend Kate Beckinsale. Lily lives with her mother.
He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Best Actor for his performance in "Look Back in Anger" at the Royal National Theatre, Lyttelton stage.
He was nominated for a 1999 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance of 1998 for his role in "Amadeus".
He was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of 2003 for his performance in "Caligula" at the Donmar Warehouse.
He was awarded the 2003 London Critics Circle Theatre Award and the Evening Standard Drama Award as Best Actor for his performance in Caligula at the Donmar Warehouse.
Became an Associate Member of RADA.
Graduated from RADA.
Primary residence is in London, England. He also has an apartment in Los Angeles so he can spend time with his daughter.
Portrayed British Prime Minister Tony Blair three times. In The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006) (both directed by Stephen Frears) and in The Special Relationship (2010).
In 1997, as both actor and director, he ran "Thin Language", a Welsh theatre company co-jointly with Simon Harris, and mounted a production (directed by Sheen) of Harris's play "Badfinger" at the Donmar. He also joined forces with Helen McCrory and Robert Delamere to set up a new writing production company called "Foundry" that same year.
Brought up in Port Talbot, the Welsh town that famously produced Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins.
One of 115 people invited to join AMPAS in 2007.
His father works as a professional Jack Nicholson look-a-like.
He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2009 Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to Drama.
His favorite film is Stairway to Heaven (1946). Other favorite films include Apocalypse Now (1979), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Twelve Monkeys (1995), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
Has played both a werewolf (in Underworld series) and a vampire (in Twilight Saga).
Lived with fellow Welsh actor and friend Matthew Rhys for some time in Los Angeles. They had previously shared a flat when living in London.
Shared a flat in London with good friends and fellow Welsh actors Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys.
Was in a relationship with actress Rachel McAdams from July 2010 until 2013.
Two of his paternal great-great-great-grandparents, Edward Sheehan and Catherine Hickey, were Irish. The surname "Sheehan" was later changed to "Sheen".
Central London, England [December 2008]
Finishing his run as David Frost in the West End production of "Frost/Nixon", and preparing for its Broadway transfer. [February 2007]
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Queen (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008) and Midnight in Paris (2011).
He has said that his favorite film of all time is Stairway to Heaven (1946).
In a relationship with Sarah Silverman since January 2014.
Played both a vampire elder and werewolf elder in separate movie series. In the Underworld series, he was the first werewolf who could turn from human into werewolf and back at will, leading a war against the vampire covens who had oppressed werewolves, but in the Twilight series, he was the head of a vampire coven who fought against werewolves, and the vampires who sided with them.

Personal Quotes (87)

It's interesting that in searching for monsters to play you often end up playing leaders.
[on playing "Castor" in Tron (2010)] I wanted him to be like a sort of popular-culture jukebox program and, then underneath it all, there's something completely psychotic going on.
Having played a lot of characters that are dangerously close to caricature, there's something I've always found, and that is: everything you do has to be connected to the source of what the character really is.
My job takes me away from my daughter Lily a lot, so when I am with her the time is precious. When I'm filming I try to speak to her every day and let her know that I'm thinking of her and hopefully stay a presence in her life. I want Lily to have a parent who is enjoying and is passionate about their work but at the same time I don't want it to be something that takes me away from her too much.
I do think there's a kind of a dark energy in Port Talbot. It's dominated by the steelworks, where there's this fire that's pumping out energy every day, and I think that is a good symbol for a kind of restless, fiery energy.
I'm definitely passionate and obsessed, and maybe that is a result of where I grew up. There was a real anger to south Wales in the 1970s and '80s when industries were dismantled and people's livelihoods were being messed up. There was a lot of unemployment and depression. I look at actors like Burton and Hopkins, and what they have in common is a dark anger that comes out in their acting. They're at their best when they're letting all that anger go. I can also see that in me.
There's a great deal to be said about talent and inspiration but hard work is the most important in terms of being able to do anything well.
My tragedy is that all I want is a dog, and yet I have been cursed with cats all my life.
Getting older is a struggle. I always feel that just under the surface of acceptance and enjoyment of the aging process is a terrible hysteria just waiting to burst out.
On the one hand Twitter gives you the opportunity to engage with people, which is great, but on the other there are people who feel they can say whatever they want, put poison out there, really, without fear of any repercussions.
'Hamlet' is one of the most dangerous things ever set down on paper. All the big, unknowable questions like what it is to be a human being; the difference between sanity and insanity; the meaning of life and death; what's real and not real. All these subjects can literally drive you mad.
I am very impatient.
I love watching Jeff Bridges act. He's brilliant.
Part of the fun of life is interacting with people and not knowing what the truth is inside. Letting them reveal that to you is what binds you to people.
I think parenthood is a wonderful balancing act. On the one hand, you want to spend as much time with your children as possible. On the other hand, you want to set an example for them to see that you're fulfilled in your life and in your work.
I think the story of 'Alice in Wonderland' in a way is a reminder that life is frightening, it can shift on you at any moment.
Hopefully, any character I play has an anchor in reality.
By the time you are 30 you are still trying to make your 15-year-old self happy but you are a different person. You need to be brave and let go of that.
A parent can seem very kind and gentle, but as any child knows, as soon as that parent gets stressed, they can suddenly turn and get a bit angry.
My taste in watching things runs from dramas and low-budget films to high-end fantasy/science fiction.
I always say if I'm not good at something it's just because I've not had time to focus on it... it's just uncrafted, like a slab of rock that contains the statue of David within it.
For a culture that has such a problem with death, we seem to deal with it in a quite bizarre way. We see people shot, killed and blown up, and we find it funny and sexy and all those things. But, the reality of it is that every day people die, and people are really sad and they grieve and they go through a really difficult process with it.
I think a good story's a good story and a good character's a good character.
A lot of children are interested in fairies, especially young girls, and Tinker Bell is the ueber-fairy. She's the pin-up girl of fairies. She's the ultimate fairy, but she's also got a mischievous spirit and she's very strong-willed. I think a lot of youngsters recognize themselves in Tinker Bell.
Acting itself is quite scary. Some people say that actors are show-offs, very egotistical and all that kind of stuff, but it is quite scary.
My chief gifts are - naturally good at all sports with a raw talent for pretty much everything, which if nurtured could develop into improper talent.
As a general thing, I've always been drawn to characters who appear to be one thing on the surface, but are actually something else underneath.
I suppose I'm something of an eccentric dresser.
I enjoy doing things that involve research because it's part of what I enjoy about acting.
I was obsessed with football when I was growing up.
I perceive and relate to the world through where I grew up; that's part of me. It's what I judge everything else against.
If someone has an ability to impress an audience there's a tendency to be tempted into doing just that.
Everyone deserves compassion.
I would like to be taller, thinner and more rakish looking.
I think I'm becoming more relaxed in front of a camera. I suppose I'll always feel slightly more at home on stage. It's more of an actor's medium. You are your own editor, nobody else is choosing what is being seen of you.
I find increasingly that the more extreme are the things going on in your life, the more cultural reference points fail you. More mythical reference points actually help, and you realize that's what myths are for. It's for human beings to process their experience in extremis.
I'm not a Tony Blair impersonator.
I cry when I feel moved by incredible generosity or a connection to someone. We spend so much of our lives being separated. It's the relief of connection that produces the tears.
I think it's quite tough for people like Tom Cruise where you can never really get away from being Tom Cruise in something. You're so familiar to people and people know so much about your life.
When I was at drama school, I wanted to change the world, and thought I had some great wisdom to impart to people about humanity. Now that I'm older, I know enough to realize that I know nothing at all.
If you can define what God is, I can tell you whether I believe in it.
I think the best acting is when you allow yourself to be kind of vulnerable in the moment.
I have a daughter, and fairies meant a lot to her growing up.
You know, we're each the hero of our own story and we perceive what's going on around us, and especially in a relationship, from the kind of viewpoint of, 'Well, this is my story, and I'm the hero of that, and I justify what I do around it.'
For me, what makes life enjoyable is having a shared culture and shared references.
I've always loved animation and animated films.
When you look at all the miracles attributed to Jesus, they're all about change.
I can be a lazy dresser.
The secret to acting is don't act. Be you, with add-ons.
Although my family - parents and sister - all work in the personnel management business, their real passion is performing, amateur operatic societies and so on.
I've always had an eye for what looks good on a man. But I've not always found it easy to find clothes that look good on me.
I try not to pay any attention to clothes fascism and I'd rather be thought of as someone who has his own sense of style.
I don't want to do something that I've done before; I can't see the point of it.
There are times in my career where I can see it would be helped by having a bit more of a profile, but it's not like I refuse to do interviews, no, not at all.
Stories have always been the things that entertain me and make me feel happy and sad and move me and give me the experience of being able to live many lives in one lifetime. It's the best thing about being alive.
In some ways any film that you do has an artificiality about it. Even when you're doing the most kitchen-sinky, gritty, realistic scene you've still got 50 people standing around watching you with cameras and lights and things.
My rule of thumb is that I want to do things I'd like to go and see myself.
I am prone to get carried away thinking about creative projects.
I suppose I've got a reputation for playing quite extreme characters and making them quite believable.
A lot of the times when I've auditioned for parts in America, the answer is, 'Sorry, we need a bigger name.'
Normal people - i.e., people who aren't actors - are the most bizarre people you can ever come across. I'll talk to someone and come away thinking, 'They are clinically insane.'
I've never met anyone normal.
I don't do the whole L.A. nightlife thing.
The first thing, when I read the script, is that I need to care about what happens and feel compelled by the story and engaged by the characters. It needs to resonate with me, even if what the characters are going through is not something that I have experienced in my life. I have to feel like it has some sort of meaning to me.
My dad is a Jack Nicholson lookalike and a frustrated performer, my mother's into reading and poetry. I suppose the thing I owe them most is my confidence.
I'm happy in my life.
We see death constantly on film.
I'd love to go back to Europe in the '20s and '30s, for the beginning of the Psychoanalytic Movement, and Freud and Jung, and all that was going on with discoveries in quantum physics. The whole nature of reality was changing and being challenged.
I've always found it hard to say sorry.
I have a terrible temper. I have absolutely no problem with getting shouty or a bit physical. It's not something I'm pleased about and it doesn't happen very often, but it's very much there.
I'd love to go back to Greek times and see the birth of theater and performing, in that time. It would be so extraordinary to see the need that theater came out of, in the first place. I think we could probably all learn a bit from that.
I would never use prosthetics. I don't like sticking things on. I don't really like wearing wigs, either.
While I enjoy spending time in L.A., Britain is my home.
I'm a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy - not so much horror because I get a bit scared.
When I'm in America, I like to be near the sea, listen to music, watch films, read and write.
I'm always aware that there are, broadly speaking, two different ways to act: there is acting, and then there's being, and I'm always more interested in that.
Americans are much more open than people in Britain.
I think when you work on a Woody Allen film the actors become a real company, probably more than on any other film.
Sometimes you see things in a script, and it doesn't necessarily mean the director sees the same things. And if you think you're going to be making a different film, then that's not gonna work.
I think being a parent is the most challenging thing you do. That's why we're here. It's at the heart of what it is to be a human being. It's the ultimate experience because it questions everything about who you are. But it's difficult.
I'm a big fan of vampire movies generally and that sort of tradition of characters.
My own daughter is a big fan of the 'Twilight' stories, the books.
I live a very Kenneth Williams-like existence.
I don't find the life in Hollywood all that meaningful or inspiring.
On ex Kate Beckinsale: Our relationship now is probably better than it ever was. And it helps that she actually likes Sarah (Sarah Silverman) more than she likes me.
It's weird that I've ended up playing so many real live people, because I was never any good at impersonations at school.
I'm not a Christian.

Salary (1)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) $7,300,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page