Michael Sheen is leaving Hollywood… for political activism.
According to The Times, the 47-year-old Welsh actor is giving up his acting career in order to combat the rise of far-right populism in the UK and abroad.
“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,” he told The Times. “Once I’m in, I’m fully in, and this is big. It will be a big change for how people relate to me.”
Apparently, Sheen plans to “work less as an actor, and possibly stop … for the time being.”
All this despite being at the top of his career.
Michael Sheen is perhaps best known for his appearances in the ‘Underworld’ and ‘Twilight’ sagas, but has appeared in numerous big screen hits including ‘Tron: Legacy’, ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Frost/Nixon’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. And he’s about to appear in the upcoming sci-fi blockbuster, ‘Passengers’.
So why the sudden career change?
Michael Sheen has reportedly lived in Los Angeles for the last 14 years… but hails from the Welsh town of Port Talbot – an area which overwhelmingly voted in favour of Brexit during the recent EU Referendum.
“How can I be most effective?” Sheen told The Times of his crusade against the hard right. “What am I going to do?”
“It started with a connection to something, and an idea of why I wanted to do it. How I was going to do it emerged over time and was a lot to do with listening rather than telling.”
Although it may seem a tad unexpected, it’s actually hardly surprising. A rather impressive interview with The Guardian journalist Owen Jones revealed Michael Sheen’s distaste for the Brexit result. And looking back on the interview now, there are clear hints that he wants to do something to combat the rising far right.
Will he succeed? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
But Hollywood’s loss is UK politics’ gain.