Michael Sheen at Cheltenham: 13 reasons the Welsh think he’s lush

They are less than 100 miles away but in terms of image Cheltenham and Port Talbot could be light years away. But this week the towns are linked by the arrival of Michael Sheen in the spa town famous for its stunning architecture, Cotswold countryside and fine cultural festivals.

The 53-year-old actor traveled to Cheltenham to film a new four-part BBC drama, Best Interests, at venues including Home and Botanic, on St George’s Road, All Saints Church and the Promenade.

It’s a far cry from the Welsh industrial town it calls home, where steelworks dominate the skyline as holidaymakers zoom by on the M4 en route to West Wales.

But do you know that Michael Sheen is not just any Hollywood actor? In Wales, he is considered a bona fide hero. A superstar adored by all. And that’s why Wales think Michael Sheen is lush and not just any old luvvie.

READ MORE: Film crews in Cheltenham shoot new BBC drama starring Michael Sheen and Sharon Horgan

He was born there

Fairly obvious but the Welsh are very picky about this particular point. He was actually born a short distance from Gloucestershire in Newport, but eventually moved to Port Talbot when he was eight. He was offered a trial with Arsenal but apparently his family didn’t want to move to London so he never went.

He’s a kid comp done well

While Gloucestershire is proud of its grammars, Wales is proud of the fact that it became comprehensive from the start. Sheen attended the local Glan Afan Comprehensive School and completed A Levels in English, Drama and Sociology at Neath Port Talbot College. From there it is the local youth theatres, Bristol Old Vic, Rada and finally Hollywood.

He is very talented

In his second year at RADA, he was so good that he landed a stage role opposite Vanessa Redgrave in When She Danced. After that, Sheen won acclaim for his numerous theatrical productions and rose to fame when he revived “Amadeus” on Broadway in 1999. He caught Hollywood’s attention by brilliantly transforming into Tony Blair in The Queen, in David Frost in Frost/Nixon and as football manager Brian Clough in The Damned United. His credits are too numerous to mention.

He surrendered his OBE

Sheen is a Welsh nationalist and in 2020 told Owen Jones he had ‘surrendered’ his OBE after researching a lecture on Wales-British state relations. He said: “I meant no disrespect, but I just realized I would be a hypocrite if I said what I was going to say at the conference about the nature of the relationship between Wales and England. British state.” Yet he remains friends with senior royals such as Camilla who support similar good causes.

So far he’s been fairly scandal-free

He met actress Kate Beckinsdale in 1995 during a touring production of The Seagull and four years later they had a daughter, Lily. She met her current husband Len Wiseman on the set of Underworld, the 2003 film in which Sheen also appeared. Despite this, they are still friends and she said, “I really like him and I like him and we make each other scream with laughter.” The only stain on his notebook seems to be hitting one of the co-stars. of Kate who yelled at her on set. “The truth is, he’s never hit anyone before in his life and it was kind of shocking,” she said of the incident. He also had relationships with English ballet dancer Lorraine Stewart, Canadian actress Rachel McAdams and American comedian Sarah Silverman. He previously opened up about how he tried to impress his eldest daughter by appearing on Twilight.

He is not vain

You rarely see Sheen dressed as a dinner dog. During lockdown, he appeared with a huge, bushy beard and didn’t seem to care about clothes. He told James Corden he was a “pioneer” in leaving his beard bushy rather than cleanly trimmed and even collected the Beard of the Year gong from the Beard Liberation Front. Although not traditionally handsome, his twinkling eyes have won him success on the romantic front and TV appearances suggest he doesn’t take his image too seriously.

He came home

Even the people of Port Talbot would agree that it’s an ugly town. Still, Sheen was a Hollywood star when he decided to put on an impassioned play in his hometown on Easter weekend 2011. Instead of sunbathing in California, he got baptized on the beach in ‘Aberavon, ate a “last supper” of beer and sandwiches at a social club while watching the Manic Street Preachers and was crucified. The epic 72-hour theater experience at Port Talbot locations put the city on the global map by broadcasting it around the world.

He stayed

After returning home for the play, he decided to stay in the city which also produced Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton after befriending people from groups such as the one supporting young carers. When he returned three months later, they had left because funding had dried up. He said: “I realized that the difference between this child’s life being a little better or not was ultimately a small amount of funding and I wanted to help these people. I didn’t just want to be a patron or a voice of support, I actually wanted to do more than that. That’s when I thought I had to move back to Wales.

He is anti-Wonga and other payday loans

The actor realized that debt was a huge problem, so he started supporting credit unions. In addition to practically helping local credit unions, he campaigns on issues related to debt and poverty. In 2017, he founded the End High Cost Credit Alliance, which works to promote more affordable ways to borrow money.

But that’s not all

The list of good causes he actively supports is endless. By sponsoring the local women’s soccer team and paying scholarships for local children to go to college, he put his name to many charities. As Honorary Chairman of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, he plays an active role in supporting the community. It’s really too much to mention.

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen in Cardiff to launch the Homeless Football World Cup,

He puts his money where his mouth is

Celebrities love to talk about their good deeds, but Sheen actually put her money where her mouth is. For example, when funding for the £2m Homeless World Cup in Cardiff failed at the last moment, he sold his homes in the UK and America to make it happen. He told the Big Issue: “I had to make a decision – I could walk away from it and it wouldn’t happen. I thought, I wasn’t going to let this happen. So I put my all into it. money to keep it Go.

“I had a house in America and a house here and I set them up and did whatever it took. It was scary and incredibly stressful. I’m going to pay for this for a long time. But when I got out on the other hand, i realized that i could do this stuff and, if i can keep making money, it’s not going to ruin me.

And keep doing it

While other Hollywood stars are making millions, he’s turned himself into a non-profit social enterprise so he can continue to use the money he makes from acting to fund more projects. He told the Big Issue it was because of his experiences with the Passion and Homeless World Cup and said: “There was something quite freeing about saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to invest a lot of money. money in this or that, because I can earn it again.”

Anna Lundberg and Michael Sheen attend the premiere of Universal Pictures'
Anna Lundberg and Michael Sheen attend Universal Pictures’ ‘Dolittle’ premiere

Everyone likes to see it on Gogglebox

The actor has appeared in celebrity episodes from the couch of his Baglan home which he shares with Swedish actress Anna Lundberg. The couple’s daughter, Lyra, was born on September 23, 2019, and in March this year the couple announced via social media that they were expecting their second child together. Everyone said how relaxed and down to earth they were when they appeared on the 2021 Gogglebox Celebrity special for Stand Up to Cancer, during lockdown, he and David Tennant and their wives Anna and Georgia did a BBC show called Staged. In January 2021, she said: And Michael’s luxury just at home has truly been amazing and Lyra has certainly loved it. Otherwise, Michael is still going in and out and now you really could be fully here. We were able to connect as a family, and this routine kept us sane.”

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