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Michael Sheen gets his kicks


British actor Michael Sheen, who has taken on the roles of real-life Brits such as Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in Frost/Nixon, is back at it again. This time he plays controversial soccer manager and former player Brian Clough in the TIFF film The Damned United.

The actor comes by the part honestly, given his soccer-playing past as a young boy in Wales who was a Liverpool supporter.

"I was really obsessed by football growing up," Sheen told Sun Media during roundtable interviews at TIFF. "And I wanted to be a football player and I was offered an apprenticeship, when I was 12, to go and play with the Arsenal youth team and come through their ranks, but it would have meant living in London when I was a kid, and I came from a small town in Wales and my mom and dad said, 'No, you're not doing that.' So I never went. And then by the time I was 14 I had discovered girls and nicotine, and then the game was up for me then. But I've always loved football. So this was a challenge for my two passions to come together."

And his position when he played?

"I played centre midfield 'cause I liked to boss everyone around, which is why I was born to play Clough."

VAMPIRES, RABBITS AND TONY BLAIR

Michael Sheen's next projects are numerous, including playing the head vampire Aro in New Moon after previously starring in the werewolves-versus-vampires movie, Underworld.

"I've been a werewolf so I thought I'd check out how the other half live... or die," Sheen quipped.

He's also The White Rabbitt in Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, and appears in Tron: Legacy, the thriller Unthinkable opposite Samuel Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss, and he just finished playing Blair again in The Special Relationship.

"It's the third filim about Blair 'cause we were always going to do three films," Sheen said. "And so there's The Deal, which we did for British TV, The Queen and The Special Relationship, which is about Blair in America."

The real-life Blair recently appeared on David Letterman but Sheen hadn't had a chance to see it yet.

"He's a smooth guy," Sheen said. "Again there's that thing of what's on the surface. He's very, very good, he's almost airtight what he puts across, but underneath I think it's a different story. So that's part of what our film has explored -- that special relationship. That'll be out next May."

 

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