Michael Sheen has received critical acclaim for playing Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in Frost/Nixon. Now he’s taking on a role that his 10-year-old daughter Lily Mo is excited about: the creepy vampire Aro in the much-anticipated Twilight sequel, New Moon. The 40-year-old ex of Kate Beckinsale talked to Parade about Lily Mo’s shock when he announced his new role and her film debut in Robert De Niro’s new flick.
On how Lily Mo got a literal kick out of the news he was starring in New Moon: “I was excited about being in New Moon mainly because I thought it would make my daughter Lily very happy since she loved the books and the first movie. But, she was a bit overwhelmed. It was like when I was kid–if there was something I was really into, the last thing I wanted was my mom and dad to be into it as well. So, at first, Lily got upset and sort of cried when I told her. I think it was just like her fantasy imaginative world suddenly colliding with reality. She did punish me a bit. When she kicked me, I think that was sort of acting out her frustration.”
On Lily Mo’s film debut: “My daughter is in Everybody’s Fine. I couldn’t believe that her first role in a major film puts her mostly in scenes with Robert De Niro. I totally admired him growing up, and he was a large part of what made me want to be a film actor. So I said to Lily, ‘What did you call him? Did you call him like, Bobby or Mr. De Niro?’ And she went, ‘No, I called him Sir.’ So I said, ‘Right. And from now on you shall call me Sir…’”
On taking on Aro in New Moon: “There’s so much expectation about the sequel. People who are hooked on the stories have very definite ideas about the character from the second book. So it’s a dilemma. You want to give them what they expect, what they want to see, but you also want to surprise them. My biggest concern has been that everyone would remember that I played a werewolf in Underworld. So it would be a stretch for me to become a vampire. But I just love Aro. I think he has a gentle side even though he’s pretty scary. And I’m just very pleased to have a whole new generation of people I can scare.”
On his next project: “I’m doing the White Rabbit in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Everyone has an inner white fluffy animal, it’s just a question of finding it before it’s too late. The White Rabbit is such an iconic character that I didn’t feel like I should break the mold too much, so I just sort of went with it.Alice in Wonderland was one of the first stories I truly loved when I was growing up. It had a huge impact on me and it’s stayed with me ever since. So to be part of Tim Burton’s version is just like a dream come true.”