Frank Lovece of Newsday.com recently conducted a brief interview with Underworld: Rise of the Lycans star Michael Sheen. Sheen, who recently played David Frost in Frost/Nixon and who has also been tapped to play the Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton’s upcoming vision of Alice in Wonderland, has appeared in each of the three Underworld films as Lucian, embattled leader of the Lycans. In his interview, Lovece is mystified as to why Sheen is willing to reprise his werewolf role:
Lovece: After all these rich roles in prestige movies and a storied career on the stage, you’re reprising your role as the werewolf Lucian in “Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans.” Umm … why?
Sheen: Wow. (Taken aback) That’s a (chuckles) – now, there’s a huge amount of snobbishness about a film, isn’t there? What’s so awful about those films? The only thing that matters is whether [a character] connects to people, whether it speaks to them about something that has to do with their experience of what it’s like to be a human being. Y’know, there is an audience that these stories speak to, and for one person to say that what speaks to one person is less valid that what speaks to them is the height of ignorance and snobbishness and arrogance, I suppose.
If I’m playing a werewolf and I play it in such a way that it has resonance and it has richness and complexity, then it has as much validity as playing [British ex-Prime Minister Tony] Blair or whomever.
Now, I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that the Underworld films are high cinema, but I admire Sheen’s tact and evident pride in the role of Lucian.