Actor Michael Sheen is cutting back on acting. After the likes of “Twilight” and “TRON,” “Underworld” and “Passengers,” the British thesp now says that he’s reducing roles to go more into the political arena with one goal – to fight the “hard populist right”. Speaking with The Times, he says:
“In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the Thirties, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped… It’s not going to look like this in ten years’ time. Everything has shifted. The dice are being rolled again.”
He adds that the recent U.K. Brexit vote and Donald Trump election win sparked a “massive urgency” to commit himself to opposing demagogues and fascists. As a result he’s also leaving Los Angeles and moving back to Wales. The actor is not signed up for any future acting projects and isn’t sure how people will respond to him once they seem him in this more politically active light:
“It will be a big change for how people relate to me. Once I’m in, I’m fully in, and this is big. As soon as you start to be effective, then people try to crush you, because it’s dangerous.”
Sheen has two films currently in post-production that haven’t been released yet – “Home Again” and “Brad’s Status”. In the wake of the interview, he’s since clarified his comments on Tumblr, saying he was partly quoted out of context:
“I DID NOT declare that I’m ‘quitting acting and leaving Hollywood’ to go into politics. In the actual original interview I said I have become more involved with community issues back at home over the last few years and because of the political situation it’s something I would like to focus on more. The interviewer asked me what that meant for my career and I said it might mean I work less as an actor and maybe even stop for a while AT SOME POINT. But I don’t really know yet.
I certainly did NOT equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic ‘hard right’ that must be stopped. The majority of people in the U.K., including my hometown of Port Talbot, voted for Brexit. That is the will of the people and is to be respected. That is democracy. Given the concerns around the economy in the area I come from and its industrial history I totally empathise with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that the vote was partially an expression of. What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West. Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort.”