Michael Sheen Considers Leaving Hollywood to Become a Full-Time Political Activist
By Jennifer Drysdale
UPDATE 11:30 A.M.: In a statement shared with ET on Sunday, Michael Sheen clarified his statements on future political endeavors, noting that he never said he was "quitting acting."
"I did one interview with The Times of London a few weeks ago, parts of which (including a headline that is not a quote) have been picked up by a lot of other outlets. I DID NOT declare that I'm 'quitting acting and leaving Hollywood' to go into politics," he said. "In the actual original interview I said I have become more involved with community issues back at home over the last few years and because of the political situation it's something I would like to focus on more."
"The interviewer asked me what that meant for my career and I said it might mean I work less as an actor and maybe even stop for a while AT SOME POINT. But I don't really know yet," Sheen continued. "I certainly did NOT equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic 'hard right' that must be stopped. The majority of people in the U.K., including my hometown of Port Talbot, voted for Brexit. That is the will of the people and is to be respected. That is democracy. Given the concerns around the economy in the area I come from and its industrial history I totally empathize with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that the vote was partially an expression of."
"What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West," he concluded. "Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort."
ORIGINAL STORY: Expect to be seeing a little less of Michael Sheen -- at least in film and television.
In an interview with U.K.'s The Timeson Saturday, the 47-year-old actor said he plans to "work less as an actor, and possibly stop… for the time being" in order to become a full-time political activist.
"Once I'm in, I'm fully in, and this is big. It will be a big change for how people relate to me," he shared, citing Donald Trump's election and the Brexit vote as reasons for his move back from Los Angeles to Wales. "In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the '30s, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped."
"It's not going to look like this in ten years' time," Sheen added. "Everything has shifted. The dice are being rolled again."
The British actor's interest in activism first started with his involvement in the National Theatre of Wales' production of The Passion in 2011, which involved more than 1,000 local volunteers.
"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," he explained, adding that Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election but a "massive urgency" on his decision to return home. "How can I be most effective? What am I going to do?"
Following his interview (and the subsequent articles claiming the actor was retiring from acting altogether), Sheen took to Twitter to set the record straight.
"Before this gets ridiculous I said I'm thinking I might start acting less and maybe even stop for a while at some point but don't know yet," he said. "Brexit will of majority and totally understandable. Not about that. Talked about general world rise of anti-democratic forces. Must be stopped."
Before this gets ridiculous I said I'm thinking I might start acting less and maybe even stop for a while at some point but don't know yet.
Whatever Sheen decides to do, he's got some room in his schedule. His Showtime series, Masters of Sex, was not renewed for a fifth season, and his new film, Passengers, opens Dec. 21. Sheen has two other films yet to be released, Home Again and Brad's Status, though both are currently in post-production.