Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sheen on "Wonderland"

Michael Sheen was recently interviewed Mr. Beaks on Ain't It Cool News. At the end of the talk, the actor discussed his working on Alice in Wonderland -- and stated that he will not be playing the role of the Chesire Cat, contrary to other reports. You can read the full interview here.

Beaks: Well, you're going to be a part of one of the most richly imagined fantasy worlds of all time in Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND. As The Cheshire Cat--

Sheen: I'm not The Cheshire Cat.

Beaks: Oh. Damn IMDb. Who are you?

Sheen: I can't say. But it's not The Cheshire Cat.

Beaks: Okay.

Sheen: IMDb needs to get its facts straight. It's funny. People have come along and said, "Oh, you're playing this" And I'm like, "Really? Who's told you? The studio hasn't said."

Beaks: Well, I won't go fishing.

Sheen: Go fishing. I just won't say. The studio releases these things. It's not up to me to say. But I am in the film. And it's great to be in a film that my daughter can watch.

Beaks: Is it a traditional take?

Sheen: No, it's not traditional. I've always loved those classic children's stories like PETER PAN and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. There's a darkness at the heart that I guess you can trace back to Grimms' Fairy Tales. They're for children, but there's a harsh reality about life that seems unfit for children, and yet it's incredibly compelling. They get at something that is much harder to get at, something essential about our experience. I get very excited about those things. So to be in a classic like ALICE IN WONDERLAND... even though it's not a straight-ahead retelling, I find that really exciting.

Beaks: Actors are so good at engaging that childlike sense of play. Is there something about those works that brings out the child more easily?

Sheen: Not really. Like I said, my process is always the same. I have to find a way to be totally engaged in everything I'm doing - and that's physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And it's only through having a childlike sense of play that you can do work - even if you're doing the most tragic of stories. I just did a film [UNTHINKABLE] in which I was tortured every day for three weeks. You have to find a sense of play in that so that it comes alive. Even if you're doing the most awful things, there has to be a joy in it. It's that sort of child aspect of yourself. Hell, I see it in my daughter. She's with her friends, they're playing, and she says, "I'm the woman who works in the village selling bread, you're that, and let's go!" It's this childlike sense of engagement where you just believe what you're doing and you don't censor yourself. That's essential for an actor. When you start thinking of acting as being "grown-up", no one will want to watch you. And anyone who does ought to be shot.

So who will Sheen be playing? Well, now some are saying that he has provided his voice to the role of the White Rabbit... But it may be safe to wait and see what the studio says...

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