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

Fantasy supernatural aliens GLAAD 2015 2016 zombie Premiere Dates Best and Worst TNT Kids & Family Grammys FOX ABC Family Writers Guild of America Year in Review Character Guide Syfy Biopics PBS Disney Channel VH1 thriller TBS Logo docudrama Certified Fresh Musicals VICE Starz sitcom Rom-Com A&E Freeform dramedy Tumblr SDCC Teen NYCC President boxoffice Adult Swim Bravo Sci-Fi Nickelodeon serial killer Trailer Video Games Calendar MTV IFC Disney 007 science fiction diversity adventure Comedy Pirates Toys Podcast CBS psycho Horror Summer vampires GoT ESPN Holidays Emmys Comic Book period drama The CW First Look Cartoon Network WGN Watching Series History LGBTQ social media Marathons Mary Tyler Moore Sundance Rock Countdown Esquire travel Nat Geo E! Martial Arts crime drama X-Men APB Set visit Thanksgiving TV DC Comics Drama war Extras BBC America TCA Ghostbusters TruTV Masterpiece CNN Comedy Central OWN Crackle Animation Polls and Games discovery based on movie TCA 2017 Super Bowl biography USA TIFF Schedule Star Wars crime thriller Fall TV Valentine's Day Opinion Fox News Country Universal cinemax singing competition Oscars sports BBC CMT Box Office American Society of Cinematographers El Rey PaleyFest GIFs Dark Horse Comics Superheroes Photos TCM Hulu FXX harry potter Lionsgate Winners Interview CBS All Access cooking 2017 Cosplay Trivia Reality RT History MSNBC Exclusive Video Infographic Tomatazos The Arrangement BET 24 frames Netflix Sneak Peek Red Carpet DirecTV Rocky Showtime politics AMC TLC Amazon SundanceTV TV Land Spring TV Awards HBO comiccon Action Election Pop Winter TV cops technology Music ITV FX Reality Competition ABC Star Trek crime police drama Marvel Lifetime Nominations Food Network NBC Mystery