Posts Tagged ‘James Joyce Award’

Looking Back at 2011

Another year almost over dear friends, so I thought I would take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of 2011 before it is over.

At the start of the year, Michael was seen on TV, first in Shooting The Hollywood Stars with British photographer, Rankin, where he portrayed the iconic film star, Charlie Chaplin; then later we saw Michael being honoured with a Best Actor award at the LA BAFTA Britannia Awards that had taken place back in November.
The dates for Hamlet were announced, and false rumours were abound that Michael had been cast as Blofeld in the next 007 film.
News broke that the forthcoming ‘Passion’ play would be made into a feature length film, as Michael arrived in his home town of Port Talbot to begin preparations with the community for the Passion.
Tickets went on sale this month for both Hamlet at the Young Vic, and also for National Theatre Wales’ Passion
.Michael Sheen received the James Joyce award from the  Literary and Historical Society of University College, Dublin, followed by a Q&A. He also made an appearance at Treat Trust’s gala dinner to raise much needed cash to fund a world-class health and rehabilitation centre in Wales.
National Theatre Wales launched a web community for NTW13 (the Passion Play) as a means to keep the public informed of the progress of the play and to encourage the community to get involved in the project.
Beautiful Boy premiered at Dallas Film Festival to great critical acclaim. Michael continues to visit sections of the Port Talbot community, including the RNLI.
The viral campaign for the Passion commenced with the launch of, and news that a local Port Talbot man had gone missing. He was later seen in a video for Comic Relief along with other Welsh celebrities miming to a parady song called ‘Newport State of Mind’.
The rumour that this site broke, of Michael Sheen gaining a voice over guest spot on the forthcoming series of Doctor Who was confirmed by the episode’s writer, Neil Gaiman.
Tron Legacy, the sequel to the classic Disney sci-fi film of a cyber world ran by a master program, was released on DVD and BluRay.Jesus Henry Christ premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and the official website launched.  
The press surrounding the Passion reached fever pitch. Michael spent a few very busy days appearing on multiple TV and radio shows, including Fern, BBC Breakfast, This Morning, Radio 2 with Simon Mayo and a Q&A at The Laugharne Weekend.
Finally, during an uncommonly warm and sunny Easter weekend, the whole of Port Talbot became the backdrop for the Passion.Michael stayed in the character of ‘the teacher’ for the whole 72 hours of the performance, which featured 1000’s of local people, as well as Welsh rockers, the Manic Street Preachers.
Midnight In Paris opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Michael and his co-stars do a lot of publicity through out the month as the film gets a limited release in the US.
A portrait of Michael appeared at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ annual exhibition.Michael appears as the voice of the House in a Neil Gaiman penned episode of Doctor Who.
Midnight In Paris continues to do well at the Box Office, to go on to be Woody Allen’s highest grossing movie.
Michael Sheen delights Twilight fans when he reads out some fan fiction during an interview on VH1 Buzz.
Beautiful Boy gets limited US release and generated potential Oscar buzz throughout the media.
 A BBC making of documentary called Passion of Port Talbot airs on BBC One. It followed Michael as he worked with the locals of his home town in the production of the Passion play.
A teaser trailer of Breaking Dawn was released, showing Michael as the character of Aro and a release date for Resistance was announced.
  Doctor Who series 6, which features the episode Michael appeared in as House, is released on BluRay and DVD.
Michael Sheen takes a turn at DJing on BBC 6 Music, and got to spend an hour talking about, and playing, his favourite songs.
Michael is snapped at the premiere of Deathly Hollows along with his daughter, and her mother, Kate Beckinsale.
Behind the scenes images from a photoshoot by photographer Steve Carty. The photos were to be used as promotional images for Michael’s upcoming Hamlet production.
Beautiful Boy is released on DVD in Sweden before anywhere else. Beautiful Boy DVD cover
Rose Theatre in Kingston On Thames announced that as part of their Time To Talk series, there would be holding a Q&A with Michael in the following January.
During a press interview promoting Midnight In Paris, Michael Sheen revealed that he would also be appearing in the untitled Terrence Malick project.
In a series of 4 episodes, Michael reads letters from renowned Kenneth Tynan, as part of a BBC Radio 4 program.
 Michael Sheen and Chris Evans The cast list for Hamlet at The Young Vic is released.
Michael appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast show with DJ Chris Evans to start off his publicity for Hamlet.
Due to an early high demand, more tickets for Hamlet went on sale.
Beautiful Boy is released on DVD in US. Midnight In Paris gets a UK and European release, as well as being able to pre-order on DVD in US.  Michael Sheen as Hamlet
A new poster is released for Resistance. An in depth interview with Michael appears in The Times and in The Guardian as part of his Hamlet promotion.
He also appeared on Jonathan Ross’s ITV show.
Michael Sheen and Bill Mitchell win Theatre Awards UK’s Best Director for the Passion.Previews of Hamlet open at The Young Vic
 Michael Sheen as Hamlet at The Young Vic After official press opening night, and Hamlet’s direction receives mixed reviews, but the feeling that Michael Sheen’s performance was nothing short of tortured brilliance was unanimous. The performances continue to rave reviews and sell out audiences.
It is announced that Prince Charles will attend the premiere of Resistance, which receives a sadly limited release within the UK.
Michael unveils a blue plaque from English Heritage on the late Richard Burton’s London Home.
A new promo image of Michael Sheen as Aro for Breaking Dawn is released.
WhatsOnStage awards have Michael shortlisted twice for their 2012 awards. Once for Hamlet, and again for the Passion.
Michael makes an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Great Livesseries to talk about author Philip K Dick.Hamlet continues to wow Hamlet audiences at The Young Vic, and continues to sell out.
Michael appeared alongside Joanna Lumley and Samuel West at an Index On Censorship held an event at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park to highlight the plight of political prisoners in Belarus.
This site has continued to grow during 2011 and this is mostly down to each and everyone of you, my lovely visitors.
I created this site because I love the work of Michael Sheen, and wanted to support and promote him, and also to inform and create a community of like minded people. I am never going to make any money from this, it actually costs me money, but the people and friends I have made along the way have made it all worthwhile.

There are a few people who require a special thanks. One such group call themselves the Sheenian Sisters – @mariamuser @teamaro1 @nouarraa @Evangelinered @fulvia_malacart @gginsp @LucianaLycanus @Margarita_Q @NadyJdB @Redfoxi – thank you ladies for all your support in the twitterverse.

More twitter love to @Merlange @Lilyfreeman @magooglersriot, and @YVTeaBitch.

A really big thank you to my husband who supports me and who graciously, and without envy, accepts that he is not the only man in my life.

Finally, a massive thank you to my sista-from-another-mista @Caryn69. The most bodacious of babes, and a true and loyal friend.

I’m off to enjoy the holiday season, and I doubt there will be many updates over the next couple of weeks but normal service will be resume in early January.
Until then, all the best for the festive season and thank you for your support, and in the words of Bill and Ted – Be Excellent To Each Other. And if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to download the 2012 Calendar.
See you all in 2012!

Write up of Michael Sheen’s visit to UCD for James Joyce Award

A write up from someone who attended the presentation of Michael Sheen’s James Joyce Awards at University College Dublin.

~  ~  ~

So last week, my favourite actor, Michael Sheen, came to my college to accept an award in recognition of his services to acting (ie. an excuse to get famous people to come in). After the formalities, he then entered into a Q&A session, which went on to last about 90 mins, in which he covered a myriad of topics – from how he got started in theatrical work to future plans. Below are a few of the highlights of the night and some quotes. This blog proved to be much, much longer than I anticipated, so feel free to skip forward to the parts that interest you.

Early Acting Career

He told us a bit about his growing up in Wales, at a time when he appeared to heading for a significantly different career. As a youngster, he was a talented footballer, and was even offered Arsenal trials by the father of future England Captain, Tony Adams. On the advice of Sheen’s father (who is now a professional Jack Nicholson lookalike), Michael rejected the opportunity to continue living with his family. Instead, he chose to move into the arts – “Somewhere at the back of my mind I always accepted I was going to be an actor”, though he drew inspiration from a rather unusual source:

“I think I’m the only actor who got inspired to be an actor by a critic: Kenneth Tynan. I found a book of Kenneth Tynan theatre criticism called A Prospect of the English Stage. I was reading his reviews of Olivier on stage and that’s what made me want to be an actor. It gave me a kind of something to aspire toward.”

However, it was only after winning the Laurence Olivier Bursary Award from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts that he realised that a career in acting was possible. He now points to this as the crucial point in his career, as it afforded him the opportunity to appear in the West End production of When She Danced – “I went into this amazing first job and learned from Vanessa Redgrave and spent six months doing a play with her. It was incredible and it started my career.”

Playing the historical figure

Someone then asked him about his reasoning for taking on so many roles as well known people from recent history. Interestingly, he said that the amount of biographical acting jobs he’s got has been purely coincidental and that he simply chose them due to the quality of script –
“It’s ambiguity that I am most drawn to in characters,” he said “It’s not about the person; it’s about the story. The reason why I’ve played these real-life people is because on the whole, they’ve all been written by the same man.”

Also fascinating was his perception of his own performances and how he approaches the parts:

“I can only play myself. The only raw material is me, and so when you’re playing a real person, it’s a long process. I can get somewhere hopefully close to some kind of spirit of them, or at least my connection to them. So I’m ultimately playing myself in a different set of certain circumstances.”

To further help explain his point, he used The Damned United as an example :

“It’s a long process for me. I completely immerse myself in the life of the person. Brian Clough was a Sinatra fan and he liked ‘ Saturday Night Sunday Morning’, so you find little clues, like knowing those snippets of information.” “With Albert Finney, you watch that film and you say ‘Ah I see, so Clough was kind of basing himself on the Albert Finney character’, so you start to get a sense of how much he was kind of creating a myth  of himself and how much he was self consciously playing the role of Brian Clough at times.”

Sheen also explained his philosophy and goals when approaching a role, believing that actors have a certain level of responsibility, in terms of their performance:
“It behoves us all as artists to try and make people more human, to strive to understand people in all their complexity. You put all that stuff together and hopefully at the end of it comes a great performance.”
When asked about his role as Tony Blair, he admitted a degree of concern about how viewers would respond to both him and the version of events. “We had no idea whether the audience would take it seriously or whether an audience would accept me as Blair”, “It’s a very dangerous area I suppose, because people are inevitably going to watch something and partly feel that’s the way things were, so you do have to be incredibly careful.”

As Tony Blair

He went on to talk in great depth about Blair – from how he viewed him before meeting the former PM to his thoughts on him now.

“Funnily enough, the more I find out about the person, the less judgemental I become. “People always say: ‘what do you think about Tony Blair having played him three times?’ I have less and less of an opinion about him. The way I’ve played Blair has always involved the idea of a mask and that one of his tools that he uses in the earlier days.”

He revealed that he hadn’t met Blair until a couple of years ago, resulting in a rather humorous tale about their encounter together. When in the US, Sheen was contacted by Rupert Murdoch, who thought it would be hilarious to get him to come over for dinner while Tony was staying them. Initially, Sheen was reluctant, but was eventually persuaded, realising the madness of the whole situation and in hope of seeing how many “dead bodies” he could find in the Murdoch household. Sheen explained that the encounter was incredibly awkward though immensely enjoyable, as Blair “really wants you to like him”, but at the same time hated Sheen for his portrayal of him in The Queen (though he claimed never to have seen it).

After the brief meeting, Sheen and Blair kept on opposite sides of the dinner table, leaving Michael surrounded by Blair’s aides and PR people. As the night wore on, they became increasingly drunk, gradually telling more embarrassing stories to the still-sober Sheen – the most notable being that Blair had a pair of lucky silk Union Jack boxer shorts. During his farewells, Sheen casually mentioned them to Blair, who was horrified that he knew and was even more worried about what else his aides had said. Throughout the story, Sheen was especially animated – clearly enjoying himself a great deal. When filming The Special Relationship, he even managed to film a shot in which he (as Blair) was seen packing a pair of such boxers into a suitcase – though the scene was ultimately cut.

Later on in the session, I got to ask him about his plans to get involved in work behind the camera. Sheen seemed to be particularly interested in writing in the future and to a lesser extent, directing. Currently, he has bought the rights to film adaptations to several non-fiction novels and is in the process of writing one of them at the moment (unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch its title). “The more I work in film, the more I start to appreciate other people’s jobs within it. I’m more appreciative of what it takes to make a film and the work and artistry that goes into all the different areas of it.”

30 Rock appearances and Woody Allen

Sheen spoke a great length about his experience on 30 Rock, in which he appeared as Wesley Snipes.

“It was really intimidating because of Tina Fey. The whole group of writers on it, that are very young, are so sharp and so brilliant. Tina would say: ‘Oh don’t worry about that the script, this time just do whatever you want to do.’ So that was kind of scary but brilliant, as you realise that she writes for you specifically and then the character kind of evolved and got weirder and weirder the more she worked with me.”

I found this quite surprising – the guy seemed really natural on the show and displayed great comedic timing, but he clearly seemed to find the whole thing both challenging and immensely rewarding. It’s also worth noting that he confirmed that he’ll be returning to the show in the near future (which is wasn’t aware of previously) and has already planned out with Fey what they’ll be doing:
“I’m really looking forward to going back. We had this idea that we would recreate Wesley Snipes movies, but for my Wesley Snipes.”
Although his time on the show was a success, he said that he didn’t wish to make the permanent move to TV, instead wishing to pursue other independent projects.

Following this, he was asked to draw comparison between Fey and Woody Allen, whom he’d worked  with on Midnight in Paris:

“You can’t really compare them, they’re both brilliant and have brilliant minds. Woody is an auteur and Tina is a brilliant comedy actress and writer. They both have a sense of being very good at documenting what life is actually like in a brilliantly funny way. But Tina Fey plays a mean game of Boogle, so maybe she would edge it just for that. What I found fascinating about Woody was that he doesn’t let you play subtexts at all. Characters are revealed to what he chooses to write about in each scene, he is a pre-Freudian director. He doesn’t want actors to play what’s going on under the surface, he just wants you to play the surface constantly, and then the revelation of character comes through the actions he gives to the characters in the scenes.”

Other Stuff

Another revelation was that he was in the running for the role of Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit. Sheen seemed keen on landing the role, having filmed his versions in the school playground when he was a kid. Apparently he was being strongly considered for the part too, but eventually pulled out as it would require him to spend a significant amount of time in New Zealand – away from his daughter, Lily, in L.A.

He talked about a huge amount of other topics – from his perception of Hollywood, googling himself after reviews for Twilight came out (which he describes as the new form of “celebrity self-harm“), his thoughts on the Total Recall remake, singing Irish rugby songs with Javier Bardem and Tom Hanks getting overwhelmed with excitement after seeing Diana Ross at an Oscar party (if you want me to retell any of those, just comment below!).

I would go into further detail, but this is already waaaay too long for anyone to realistically read through. All in all, it was a really great evening. Throughout, he came across as really grounded, friendly and genuinely funny. Afterwards, he stuck around for signatures and pictures too, even after spending a good chunk of time answering questions. He seemed like a really nice guy and I look forward to his future projects. My only regret – Rachel McAdams was sitting behind us the entire evening – I never realised she was there… : /


Photos of Michael Sheen in Dublin receiving the James Joyce Award added to Gallery

As reported yesterday, the Literary and Historical Society of University College London was honouring Michael Sheen with the James Joyce award yesterday. He was briefly interviewed, followed by questions from the audience and presentation of the James Joyce Award.

I have now added photos taken at the event to the Gallery.

Please click the thumbnails.


Michael Sheen to receive James Joyce Award today

The James Joyce Award will be presented to Michael Sheen today at University College Dublin.

The James Joyce Award is an award given by the Literary and Historical Society (L&H) of University College Dublin (UCD) for those who have achieved outstanding success in their given field. It is named after one of the society’s alumni, James Joyce, the author of Dubliners, Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegans Wake.


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