Michael Sheen finds career in real people roles

Thu Dec 4, 2008 1:05pm EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Michael Sheen has played former British Prime Minister Tony Blair twice -- in "The Deal" and "The Queen" -- but he described his latest film role portraying television host Sir David Frost as liberating.

The film, "Frost/Nixon," is about Frost's 1977 interview with former U.S. President Richard Nixon, three years after Nixon was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal. The interview gripped viewers around the world as Nixon admitted for the first time he made mistakes and had let the American people down.

Director Ron Howard's film is based on Peter Morgan's Tony Award-winning play of the same name and stars Sheen and Frank Langella, as Nixon, in the roles they played on stage in London and New York.

Sheen spoke about playing Frost in the film which debuts in major U.S. cities on Friday and nationally and globally in the coming months.

Q: What was it like to play the character of David Frost for the movie after performing the role on stage?

A: "It was kind of liberating I suppose to do it in front of a camera after about 16 months altogether of doing it on stage.

"After doing it for that long you build up such depth, if you are lucky. We were very fortunate, me and Frank, in the production that we both kept each other honest, in a way, on stage in that we both bounced off each other and both kept each other in it, rather than it becoming a little stale as it can over a long period of time.

"Being able to go from (the play) to the (the film) was quite a challenge but having a new cast helped."   Continued...

<p>British actor Michael Sheen poses at the British Academy of Film &amp; Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) 17th Annual Britannia Awards in Los Angeles, California November 6, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>