LOS ANGELES — Michael Sheen adds humor to the horror in reprising his role of a twisted vampire overlord in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”
“I like the idea of someone who, instead of just being kind of the big bad guy or whatever, there’s actually something a bit more fun about him,” Sheen said during a recent news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel.
“I really creep myself out in this film. I don’t usually, but there are moments in it where, you know, you suddenly see how much he enjoys the violence and just the general meanness and there’s like this smile (that shows) the kind of insanity ... that’s going on underneath. So keeping it kind of light and playful for it kind of really helps you then go for the more sort of nastiness.”
The British actor, 43, again plays Aro, the leader of the ruling coven, the Volturi, in the fifth and final film based on Stephenie Meyer’s paranormal romance book series. “Breaking Dawn — Part 2” picks up immediately where its predecessor left off, with heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) experiencing her first moments as a newly transformed vampire. While her immortal husband, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), reintroduces her to his family, Bella also reunites with her werewolf pal Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and meets the half-human/half-vampire daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), she carried and birthed as a human.
But the Cullens face a new threat when the Volturi — led by ancient bloodsuckers Aro, Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl) — accuses the family of an unpardonable crime.
“One of the things I always liked about the character, as Stephenie has written or hinted at in the book, is that he thinks of himself as being a sort of sentimental old fool and just enjoys watching the young people having fun — and then likes to kill them,” Sheen said, flashing his charming smile beneath a jaunty waxed mustache.
“The idea of someone who’s been around for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years, I would imagine the biggest problem is you just get bored. ... So I like the idea of someone who’s constantly trying to amuse themselves as well and then that kind of brings a little bit more humor to it.”
The Welshman has plenty of experience with science-fiction and supernatural franchises: Along with portraying a vampire in “The Twilight Saga,” he has played a rebellious werewolf in the “Underworld” movies and a flamboyant club owner inside The Grid of “Tron: Legacy.” But he’s also earned acclaim for his turns as British Prime Minister Tony Blair in “The Queen” and talk-show host David Frost in “Frost/Nixon,” as well as for his classical stage performances. Ask him to compare, for instance, playing Aro with portraying Blair, and Sheen’s wicked sense of humor steals the show as effectively as it does on the big screen.
“One is a slightly self-delusional psychopath, and the other one is Aro,” he quipped cheekily. “When Aro is trying to sort of convince all the other vampires what they should do ... and trying to sound reasonable when, in fact, he just wants to kind of cause havoc and mayhem, I noticed that I instinctively started using some of Blair’s kind of hand gestures, which is quite funny.”
“Breaking Dawn — Part 2” builds up to a dramatic showdown between the Cullens and their allies and the Volturi — or “Team Aro,” as Sheen dubbed them. Although the filmmakers devised an exciting twist ending, shooting it required the actors to endure the monotony of facing off in the fake snow for weeks. Like his immortal character, he began to long for a break in the boredom.
“Toward the last day of the battle scene — and I think it might exist on the DVD — there was this huge dance that happened, where the Cullens ... suddenly went into this choreographed dance routine to ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).’ It was fantastic! That broke the boredom, for once,” he said.
Not surprisingly, he got into the uproarious spirit of the supernatural dance-off.
“Michael Sheen had some of the craziest moves because he really incorporated his character into his moves,” said Nikki Reed, who plays Cullen adoptee Rosalie Hale, in a separate presser. “So we were like coming toward him ... and Michael Sheen was just being like really fierce ... It was just very funny. He’s great.”
Travel and accommodations provided by Summit Entertainment.