Michael Sheen hits out at non-Welsh actors playing Welsh roles

  •  The comments come as the next instalment in a series of controversial takes

Actor Michael Sheen has revealed that he finds it ‘very hard to accept’ when Welsh characters are not played by Welsh actors.

Sheen also blasted the ‘ridiculous’ title of the Prince of Wales, saying he say ‘no reason’ why the ‘silly’ moniker should continue, ‘certainly not with someone who’s not Welsh’. 

The actor is known to be quite outspoken on matters relating to his beloved home country, having recently featured in a clip calling for the Brecon Beacons National Park to be renamed its Welsh version Bannau Brycheiniog.

Now, in an interview with the Telegraph, Sheen has said: ‘Seeing people playing Welsh characters who are not Welsh, I find, it’s very hard for me to accept that.

‘Not particularly on a point of principle, but just knowing that that’s not the case.’ 

Michael Sheen, (pictured December 15 2019 in New York) has once again hit out at Prince William’s title of the Prince of Wales, given the fact he isn’t Welsh
The Damned United actor took a series of swipes at Prince William after he met the England team and presented them with shirts for the World Cup in Qatar and wished them well

The father-of-two said, however, he would draw the line at casting only real-life murderers to play killers on-screen. 

Sheen, who is known  for his role in Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, defended his claims by saying he wouldn’t expect to be cast as Othello – who Shakespeare described as a ‘Moor’ in his 1603 play. The role is normally played by black actors.

He said, however, it would be ‘sad’ if non-disabled actors couldn’t play Richard III, who had radial dysplasia, which causes babies to be born with ‘twisted’ hands and shortened arms.

Sheen also criticised the casting of ‘posh’ actors in working class roles, saying: ‘Personally, I haven’t seen many actors who have come from quite privileged backgrounds being particularly compelling as people from working-class backgrounds.’

He said an ‘extreme example’ would be only casting actual murderers ask killers on screen, saying: ‘The extreme example is, well, if you haven’t murdered someone, can you play a murderer?’

The outspoken actor, who has children with 28-year-old Swedish actress Anna Lundberg, is no stranger to voicing controversial opinions.

His animosity towards the Prince of Wales title hasn’t just been a flash in the pan either, taking a series of swipes at Prince William after he met the England team and presented them with shirts for the World Cup in Qatar and wished them well. 

The star said it was ‘inappropriate’ for William to give them England shirts as the Prince of Wales, given his title.

The actor felt that Prince William’s visit to the England training centre last November, where he presented them with shirts for the World Cup in Qatar, as ‘entirely inappropriate’

He has also criticised King Charles III for visiting Cardiff in September last year, on the same day as a medieval tradition celebrating the last native Prince of Wales.

Sheen felt that because the trip fell on an important historic date, it could have been seen as ‘insensitive’ if the royals chose that date on purpose.

In 2020, he revealed that he had handed back his OBE after eight years, saying he wanted independence for his home country.

He justified his actions by saying the move had been made to avoid looking like a hypocrite before lecturing on the history of his country. 

This included ‘past wrongs’ committed by England ‘to fracture us, to control us, to subdue us’.

In 2017, Sheen and his partner US comedian and actress Sarah Silverman went their separate ways, citing differences in views over Brexit and the Trump presidency.

The couple parted ways in December that year after four years together.

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