Michael Sheen

BATD ON Mar 24, 2009 AT 4:10 pm

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen is best known for his roles as the bumbling Tony Blair in The Queen and the hard-hitting journalist David Frost in Frost/Nixon, but his latest starring role in The Damned United proves that he can turn his hand to anything.

Born and raised in Port Talbot, Wales, Michael Sheen found himself at the age of 18 with two options: football or acting. The possibility of being able to follow a professional football career was very real, but he instead chose to train at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). There his talents were recognised quickly, and he didn’t even graduate – instead leaving early to make his West End debut opposite Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement, The Pledge) in the production When She Danced.

Michael’s career started on the stage and stayed there for some ten years, receiving major critical acclaim from the U.K’s top critics, especially for the role of Mozart in Amadeus and his part in Caligula. Starting his screen career in films such as Wilde, Kingdom of Heaven and Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things, he was then picked to play Tony Blair in The Queen (receiving a BAFTA best actor nomination), Simmons in Blood Diamond and David Frost in Frost/Nixon. Playing a major role in all three of the Underworld films, the last edition, Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans is due out later this year. Sheen has also been previously nominated for two BAFTA TV awards, both for Best Actor in Dirty Filthy Love and Kenneth Williams’: Fantabulosa! The Queen recognised his work and service to drama in her speech last year, by making him an OBE.  His portrayal of political journalist David Frost, acting opposite Frank Langella, in 2008′s Frost/Nixon gained him international accreditation and many believe it was his best performance yet.  The film was nominated for Best Film at this year’s BAFTAs and Sheen, along with the rest of the cast, were nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Award for their performances.

Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon

Michael has a daughter, Lily Mo Sheen, with Kate Beckinsale, his partner of eight years. The couple split after both appearing in the first Underworld, when Kate met director Len Wiseman and left Michael. Kate and Len married less than a year later in 2004, and though Michael was reported to be devastated at the time (understandably so!) he and Kate maintain that they have a great custody arrangement because they’re all friends. In fact, it’s daughter Lily who decides where she lives and when:  “It’s very relaxed and informal. We don’t work anything out too much. It’s up to Lily a lot of the time. When she gets bored of me, she goes to Kate, and when she gets bored of Kate, she comes to me.” Michael has a place in London but Kate lives in California, so he has a place there too, to be close to his daughter.

Michael in The Damned United

Michael in The Damned United

His latest film, The Damned United, depicts Brian Clough’s 44 day stint as manager of football club Leeds United.  Sheen, in the title role, portrays the outspoken and at times, controversial Clough in a performance that has already been praised by film critics and sports journalists alike.  The Damned United, out in theatres this Friday, is the type of film that will satisfy your need for drama (jealousy, betrayal and success are its major themes) and your guy’s need for a manly, sport-enthused plot.  A perfect compromise, set out this weekend and see Sheen dazzle on the big screen once again!

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