Michael Sheen (born 5 February 1969) is an award-winning Welsh actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tony Blair in the Stephen Frears directed-films The Deal and The Queen.
Sheen was born in Newport, Monmouthshire in south east Wales to Irene and Meyrick Sheen, both of whom worked in personnel management. His father was also a part-time professional Jack Nicholson look-alike. The young Sheen was brought up in Port Talbot where he attended Glan Afan comprehensive school and joined the National Youth Theatre of Wales at sixteen, eventually training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.One of his first jobs was flipping burgers at the local fast food restaurent “Burger Master”.
Sheen soon established himself as one of the most promising talents on the theatrical scene, notably being cast as Mozart in Peter Shaffers play Amadeus, which was staged at the Old Vic theatre and directed by Sir Peter Hall.
His screen appearances include the BBC drama serial, Gallowglass (based on the novel by Ruth Rendell), and the films Wilde (1997) (in which he played Robert Ross) and Mary Reilly. However, he remains primarily a stage actor, having starred in high-profile productions of Henry V, Peer Gynt, The Dresser, Caligula and Look Back in Anger, among others.
In 2003, he appeared with Kate Beckinsale in Underworld and reprised his role in the film’s sequel Underworld: Evolution in 2006, by playing as a Lycan (Werewolf)called Lucian. Sheen has also appeared with Beckinsale in the season seven premiere of Punk’d.
He played Tony Blair in the Channel 4 drama The Deal and the film The Queen, as well as Kenneth Williams in Fantabulosa! on BBC Four and H G Wells in H G Wells: War with the World on BBC Two.
At the 2005 British Academy Television Awards, Sheen was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in the TV drama, Dirty Filthy Love, in which he played a man with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In 2007, he received two BAFTA nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actor in a Film, for his performance in The Queen, and for Best Television Actor, for his role in Fantabulosa; once again, he was unsuccessful in both cases. In 2006, he played the role of Emperor Nero in the BBC’s Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire. Later that year, he played David Frost in the much-acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon, which later transferred to the Gielgud Theatre before heading to Broadway. He reprised the role in the Broadway production in 2007.
He will soon team up with Miranda Richardson to take the role of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in a biopic of his marriage to Caitlin. In 2007, he read Paul Torday’s novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime. In February, The Sun reported that Sheen was in the running to play The Master in the BBC science fiction series, Doctor Who. This may stem from a confused eyewitness who saw Doctor Who producer Julie Gardner speaking with Sheen after a West End performance of Frost/Nixon; Gardner told Doctor Who Magazine that she was at school with Sheen, and was not discussing Doctor Who with him.
In 2007, Sheen was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sheen is expected to play Brian Clough in Stephen Frears’ forthcoming adaptation of David Peace’s novel The Damned Utd, based on Clough’s 44-day spell in charge of Leeds United.
On October 2, 2007, it was announced that Peter Morgan was working on a sequel to “The Queen”, and that Michael Sheen will be reprising his role as Tony Blair.
Sheen and former longtime girlfriend, English actress Kate Beckinsale, have a daughter together; Lily Mo Sheen was born 31 January 1999. After living for a time in the United States with Beckinsale, he returned to the United Kingdom when their relationship ended.