Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Michael Sheen

Plus, the actor talks TRON, Bowie, and The Dude.

by | December 14, 2010 | Comments

Michael Sheen

“When I start to see a path to explore for a character then I really go for it,” says Michael Sheen, who describes his villain in this week’s TRON: Legacy as equal parts Mae West and Ziggy Stardust. “That’s part of what I really enjoy.” For the film’s key digital villain, Castor, the British actor dug deep into the back catalog of the Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie. “I did spend a lot of time watching Bowie,” Sheen continues. “The idea behind this guy is that he’s able to change and assimilate things; he’s very chameleon-like, and that’s what made me think of Bowie.”

For Sheen, a fan of the original TRON since seeing it in theaters in 1982, there’s a certain amusement in the fact that Disney’s massive sci-fi project revolves around the very mellow Jeff Bridges. “There’s a sort of spiritual white Russian inside him all the time,” Sheen laughs. “In the middle of all this technology, you know, this huge, amazing world that’s been created — and there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of anticipation, a big budget, a lot riding on it and all that — at the center of it all is The Dude. It’s this guy going “Hey maaaaan.”

Here then, are Michael Sheen’s Five Favorite Films.

A Matter of Life and Death (1946, 94% Tomatometer)



 A Matter of Life and Death

It has a strange beauty about it. It has a deceptively simple story. It has all the classic trademarks of someone who introduces you to a special, magical world, and yet you are able to then see your own world completely differently. There’s always something slightly uncanny about what Powell and Pressburger did — if you think about The Red Shoes or The Tales of Hoffman, and things later like Peeping Tom, films like that. They’re just extraordinary.

Apocalypse Now (1979, 98% Tomatometer)



Apocalypse Now

It’s a film I’ve watched so many times, and every time I watch it I find something new in it. Again, it’s got kind of a strange beauty about it: it’s disturbing and kind of magical, and mythical and mysterious, and just shot amazingly. And there’s kind of a madness in it, which I really like as well. The original version, because that’s the one I know the best.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, 95% Tomatometer)



Close Encounters of the Third Kind

It’s a film like the other two, in a way, which has grown as I’ve grown; it’s changed with me. You think of films as being finished, completed things that never change, but actually they do change — because we change. And so a film like Close Encounters, when I first watched it — when I was much younger — it scared me to death, and now it’s a film that I find intensely moving. It’s an almost spiritual film. Spielberg is just, I think, a genius in being able to tell a very simple story and get to something so complex and profound. I think he does in E.T. as well, to a certain extent, but this one I find one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.

12 Monkeys (1995, 86% Tomatometer)



12 Monkeys

For some reason I always find time travel intensely moving and it speaks to me in some weird way. Of all of Terry’s films I find that one the most moving. I love it. It’s a great story.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988, 83% Tomatometer)



The Last Temptation of Christ

Okay, I will pick a film with Bowie in it. [laughs] I’m going to say The Last Temptation of Christ, where he plays Pilate. All the Romans are English, and all the Jews are American. [laughs] I think it’s just a perfect piece of filmmaking. It’s brave and it’s imaginative and it’s about the most kind of profound things, and yet it’s very human. And the music — Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack is incredible. Again, every time I watch it… it’s the same with a lot of Scorsese’s films — as soon as you turn the channel and come across one, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, you sort of can’t stop watching it, because he’s a master story teller. That’s my five for today.


TRON: Legacy is in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

war crime thriller TNT zombies The Arrangement Rom-Com based on movie Walt Disney Pictures Infographic PaleyFest Comedy Central Reality Competition Biopics festivals Rock thriller Polls and Games Christmas Schedule TV Mystery crime Trailer The CW HBO robots Paramount Network 2016 X-Men hist Year in Review zombie Superheroe golden globes USA police drama Action Interview IFC Food Network Western TruTV ABC CW Seed Country binge LGBTQ 24 frames Photos cooking romance GLAAD TCA Bravo Red Carpet Martial Arts Paramount SXSW spy thriller Holidays Ghostbusters ESPN science fiction adventure Marathons NYCC Winter TV Lucasfilm Star Trek Musicals Universal cops FXX Reality cults Lifetime WGN First Look VH1 finale Pirates Podcast Box Office See It Skip It TBS historical drama SundanceTV E! cinemax PBS transformers Tomatazos Comedy YouTube Red Fantasy Warner Bros. Valentine's Day TCM TIFF supernatural El Rey ITV Masterpiece DirecTV Certified Fresh Britbox Spring TV psycho Marvel DC Comics Creative Arts Emmys Crackle serial killer Nominations BET Disney Channel Acorn TV harry potter Awards Cosplay Teen BBC social media Writers Guild of America streaming CBS Fall TV RT History Election travel Esquire SDCC Sci-Fi Set visit 2017 TV Land Premiere Dates Mindy Kaling TLC Disney Drama Columbia Pictures Hulu AMC Star Wars TCA 2017 dceu Superheroes justice league Super Bowl Pop period drama Grammys docudrama crime drama Cartoon Network boxoffice comiccon sports aliens ratings singing competition VICE Summer politics dramedy sitcom 20th Century Fox what to watch Emmys Showtime FOX History Watching Series Comic Book Ovation technology biography Lionsgate YA APB Video Games MSNBC GoT A&E Tumblr medical drama E3 Fox News Dark Horse Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt President DC streaming service Trivia USA Network talk show Animation 45 diversity discovery unscripted composers Pixar Starz Rocky Adult Swim Shondaland Character Guide Nat Geo National Geographic Logo Spike Best and Worst Calendar 21st Century Fox FX CMT crossover Music Extras Apple CBS All Access Ellie Kemper 2015 Sundance Now Winners Toys IFC Films CNN Oscars Sundance Sony Pictures MTV cats Freeform NBC OWN political drama ABC Family GIFs American Society of Cinematographers Nickelodeon 007 Horror Thanksgiving Kids & Family Sneak Peek Syfy Amazon BBC America vampires Opinion DC Universe Mary Tyler Moore Netflix dc Musical Countdown