If Breaking Dawn Part 2 star Michael Sheen could go back in and give himself some advice before heading into the phenomenon that is the Twilight world, what would it be?
“I probably would have gone into therapy, just to prepare myself for what it’s like to be on set with some of the most attractive young people in the world today. There is nothing like being around Rob [Pattinson], Kristen Stewart, Ashley [Greene] and Nikki [Reed] to make you feel like an old, fat Welshman,” Sheen said and laughed.
He admitted that the getup he has for his evil Volturi leader Aro doesn’t help things either. “When you look at the white make-up -- you’re supposed to look pasty -- but it’s really not an attractive look for the slightly older generation. But, the younger ones look fantastic! They look pale and interesting, with their cheekbones. I have to wade through about 10 inches of subcutaneous fat, before I find the cheekbones!”
Sheen admitted that he appreciates joining that exclusive club of movie vampires (who’s your favorite movie vampire?). “With vampires, there is such a great tradition that you suddenly find yourself a part of. Each generation reinvents what that means to them. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do a huge amount of research on vampires because I really love those films. I recently had the chance to meet Willem Dafoe, who did the film Shadow of the Vampire. And I love Gary Oldman in Coppola’s Dracula.”
What Movie Fanatic adores so much about Sheen’s portrayal of the evil Aro -- especially in Breaking Dawn Part 2 -- is how his characterization utilized a killer sense of humor. “Stephenie [Meyer] hints in the book that he thinks of himself as being this sentimental old fool,” Sheen admitted.
“He’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. I would imagine the biggest problem is that you just get bored. I like the idea of someone who is constantly trying to amuse themselves. That brings more to it. Especially in this film, it allowed the moments where it really is horrible to be more chilling. I really creep myself out in this one.”
Because Sheen has not been in a position of celebrity that the series has forced on Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner -- where they cannot walk down the street without a screaming mob around them -- the actor has a unique perspective on the fandemonium. “Because I’ve got long black hair and white skin in the movies, people tend not to know that it’s me, until some parent goes, ‘That guy over there is in Twilight.’ Then, they go, ‘Aaah!’” Sheen admitted.
Sheen does admit he does have one memory of a tenacious Twilight fan. “My strangest encounter with a Twilight fan was in a changing room in a store, here in L.A. I was buying a new pair of jeans, and I came out of the changing room, just to look in the mirror, and there were two 13-year-old girls. I don’t know how they knew, but they found out that I played Aro and they just screamed at me. I thought, ‘I’ll take these jeans!’”
Through his daughter’s fascination with the Stephenie Meyer universe, he has a firsthand account of why audiences go batty for Twilight. “I feel like she’s really grown up with these books, as I’m sure a lot of young girls have. Now I sense the coming to the end of some kind of journey for the audience -- especially for a lot of the young girls who have grown up with Bella.”
We wondered how his daughter initially reacted to the news that he was joining the cast of her favorite movie and book series. “I thought she was going to be really excited when I said that I was going to be Aro, but in fact, she was really annoyed. It was her thing,” Sheen said and chuckled. “I slightly underestimated the effect on her. But, she eventually got very excited.”
He thinks that fans will cherish how filmmakers have closed out the series on Breaking Dawn Part 2. “Bella’s journey allows other people to live vicariously through it with her, while they are also actually going through that journey, feeling things for the first time. I think the journey of Bella and Edward is like a little light, guiding them along that path,” Sheen said.
“I’ve seen the film twice now and each time I get to the end, I’m bawling. Goodness knows what a 14-year-old girl is going to be thinking. I find it a very moving end of the story.”
When it comes to the two roles he’s most famous for playing, Tony Blair and Aro, Sheen has a unique take on the parts. “One is a slightly self-delusional psychopath, and the other one is Aro,” he said and laughed.
“Funnily enough, there was one moment when I realized Aro is trying to convince all the other vampires about what they should do about this child, and he’s trying to persuade them while he’s being so disingenuous and laying it on quite thick. I noticed that I instinctively started using some of Blair’s hand gestures! They were both in positions of power. But, I think Aro has an insanity, the depth of which goes way beyond Tony Blair.”