Beautiful Boy is the story of how tragedy effects a family and all those around them, in every way. A married couple on the verge of separation suddenly find themselves having to turn to each other to overcome unimaginable heartbreak. Under intense media scrutiny following their son’s shocking act of violence that changes the lives of so many, Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate (Maria Bello) see a chance for happiness again through their common grief.
At the film’s press day, actor Michael Sheen talked exclusively to Collider about baring himself emotionally for this role, playing the emotion of grief in such a naturalistic way, working with a director who established such an honest and collaborative set, and just being open and present in the moment. He also talked about why he loves playing Aro in The Twilight Saga, how he loves playing as many different characters, in as many different worlds as he possibly can, and why he wants to take on Hamlet next. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Throughout your career, your roles have been so varied and diverse. Is that something you’ve done intentionally?
MICHAEL SHEEN: What’s enjoyable for me, as an actor, is to do as many different things as possible. It challenges me, as an actor. You don’t want to get into doing the same thing, over and over again. I know I don’t. I’ve worked quite hard to give myself those options, I suppose. In terms of building a career and having longevity, that’s good. But, in terms of being more instantly recognizable and branding yourself in some way, that’s not so good. But, I enjoy it all, so that’s good.
In taking on a role like this, where you have to bare yourself emotionally, did you spend any time thinking about what kind of effects an event like this has on somebody?
SHEEN: Yeah, you do. It’s a combination of things. I found with this that the more that me and Maria immersed ourselves in the lives of these people previously, and the more we knew about what their experiences had been together and the journey that the relationship had gone on, up to the point where we meet them in the film, the more we could be in their lives then. Then, it’s about allowing yourself to be affected by what happens in the story, and not try to pre-judge what you’re going to do. You just have to allow things to happen. Part of their story is that they have no road map. They don’t know how to be. They don’t know what they’re supposed to do, or even what they’re supposed to feel about this situation.
Having too much foreknowledge, on our part, would have gotten in the way a little bit, so the most important thing was just to know who these people were and know how they worked and what their dynamic was with each other and what the things were that pressed each other’s buttons. And then, we had to go on the journey for real and see what happened. It’s a mixture of doing preparation and research and being appropriate about what that research is, and then allowing things to happen and trusting that the way you will react will be true to these people and this situation, rather than doing too much work and deciding how they will react ahead of time. It’s more about knowing who they are, and then see what happens in the situation.
Read the full interview on Collider.