After Burton and Hopkins, Martin Sheen Is Tipped as Wales' New Acting Giant

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

After Burton and Hopkins, Martin Sheen Is Tipped as Wales' New Acting Giant


Byline: By ROBIN TURNER AND PAUL CAREY Western Mail

Welsh actor Michael Sheen has been tipped by one of the world's top directors to become as big a star as Richard Burton and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Oscar winner Sam Mendes described Port Talbot-born Sheen as a 'stage creature' destined to become a major Hollywood player. Sheen will be directed by Mendes when he plays David Frost in a stage adaptation of the broadcaster's famous post-Watergate interview with Richard Nixon.

Mendes, who won a Best Director Oscar for American Beauty in 1999, attributed the 36-year-old's talent to his Welsh roots.

Speaking in America, English- born Mendes said, 'I'm serious - he's Welsh in the tradition of Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton - fiery, mercurial, unpredictable.

'There is no doubt he is going to follow in their footsteps.'

Sheen, from Baglan, Port Talbot, where his parents Meyrick and Irene still live, is building an Anthony Hopkins-like reputation for portraying real life characters.

He has been picked to play David Frost in the Donmar Warehouse Production of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon.

He will be joined by 66-year-old former Dracula actor Frank Langella as Nixon in the world premiere of the play, opening on August 21.

Frost/Nixon revisits the legendary 1977 interview (when Michael Sheen was aged eight) between David Frost, then a leading British TV talk-show host, and the infamous Richard Nixon.

The interview, which followed the Watergate scandal, drew the largest-ever audience for a news interview.

The decision to cast Sheen as David Frost follows his highly successful portrayal of Tony Blair in Channel 4's The Deal (also written by Peter Morgan) about the relationship between the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown.

And soon after that he won rave reviews for the way he played Carry On star Kenneth Williams in the BBC 4 biopic Fantabulosa.

Sheen has many admirers in the acting business with highly acclaimed theatre director Peter Schaffer saying of him, 'He's terribly moving and also he's got grace and wit and a complete childlike anarchy let loose as well.' Like fellow 'Port Talbot boy' Anthony Hopkins, 69, Sheen has a chameleon-like quality when it comes to playing other people. …

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