Video:Michael Sheen Interview - Frost/Nixonwith Rebecca Murray
Michael Sheen and Frank Langella square off on the screen as they did on the stage as David Frost and President Richard Nixon in 'Frost/Nixon'. At the Los Angeles premiere, Michael Sheen talked about that transition from stage to film.See Transcript
Transcript:Michael Sheen Interview - Frost/NixonRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the Los Angeles Premiere of Frost/Nixon.
Michael Sheen - 'David Frost' in Frost/NixonThis is a much bigger canvas. What did that feel like?
Michael Sheen: "It was great to have gone on such an amazing journey with this story. We started in a tiny little rehearsal room in London about 25 years ago it feels like. We performed at the Donmar, which is a very small theatre, then to the West End which is bigger, then Broadway, and now the movie. It's an amazing journey and it's just wonderful at the end of that, because you sort of build up such an understanding of the character and the story, I suppose. There's so much richness and detail that builds up over time, a lot of which the audience don't really get in the theater. Whereas on film, the camera just picks it all up so you get so much more subtly and nuance I think."
Have you left him behind now or do you still think about David Frost?
Michael Sheen: "Hopefully he's not following me. He sort of turns up everywhere. We wrapped the film I guess about a year ago now, it was about November, I think, last year, so it's quite nice to revisit it again now. At the time I was glad to see the back of it, but now it's really enjoyable."
What do you think their relationship ended up like? How do you think they really felt about each other?
Michael Sheen: "Well, David sort of weirdly loves to keep in touch with all the people that he interviews, no matter… He sort of sees it in a way as just good TV and so he loves to be part of the club and part of knowing people and being able to call people and talk to people, and he has these big parties, so David I think didn't feel any kind of animosity or weirdness about him. What Nixon felt, I don't know. Who knows?"
How difficult is it when the real person is around and can talk to you and judge your performance?
Michael Sheen: "Well it's a bit surreal. It's quite surreal as it was on this film where on one day we were filming one of the interviews and then I sort of looked up into the room where the monitors are, where Ron [Howard] is, and there's my character sitting there with a pair of headphones on watching me being him. It was even more strange because my mom and dad were sitting next to him as well. But it's great. At the New York premiere I think everyone who's still alive who is a character in the film, the real person was there that night so it was kind of fact and fiction getting a bit blurred."
Why do you think the story is still relevant today?
Michael Sheen: "Well I think it's just a really dramatic story. It's about, aside from all the politics and how famous they are, it's just fascinating to watch two people who seem so different having to fight to the death. They've got everything to lose and only one of them can win, and that's inherently dramatic I think. Aside from any kind of political and cultural echoes that it might have, if it was a book it'd be a page-turner. It's really intense and exciting and funny and accessible, and just a really good story. I think if something's a good story and you can identify with it, even though these are people who are ex-Presidents and famous interviewers and stuff, I think you can still identity with what's going on for them. I think that's what makes it inherently entertaining and dramatic."
And having Ron Howard as the director?
Michael Sheen: "It doesn't harm having Ron Howard direct it. And he makes it such an enjoyable process as well. I loved doing the film, not just because I'd done the play for so long, because the work was so good and it was so disciplined. It was just an enjoyable set to be on. It's just lovely every time I meet up with Ron again. It's just great being around him. He's a really good example."