Michael Sheen’s many roles, from Caligula to Blair, have always been full-blooded. But now it’s social injustice that really gets him going
One of the things the actor Michael Sheen likes about being famous is that he can get in touch with other famous people who he likes and tell them that he likes them, especially on social media. “It’s like totally platonic dating in a way,” he says, his voice rich and rolling like the Welsh hills. Most of these exchanges, and the ensuing meet-ups when they happen, go well. David Lynch, Sheen’s all-time favourite director, was one: “Oh God, as a David Lynch fan, he was everything you could possibly want.” Terry Gilliam was “this mad old uncle or something, so that was great”.
Then there was Laurie Anderson, avant garde artist, composer and partner of Lou Reed. “Now,” says Sheen, “when I was 11 or 12 one of the first singles I ever bought was O Superman. I’ve played it all my life to people, it used to drive them mad, and I’ve made my daughter listen to it, so she has a weird thing about it now. It’s had a huge effect on me.”