Michael Sheen says press reports he has swapped acting for activism are wrong

Actor Michael Sheen has hit out at newspaper headlines claiming he has quit acting to become a political activist following an interview with The Times Magazine.

Sheen’s apparent comments were made during promotion for his latest film Passengers and published on Saturday.

They were picked up by a number of media outlets, including The Times who reported it with the headline: “Michael Sheen quits acting for activism”.

Similar headlines also appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph and Mail Online.

The Times quoted Sheen as saying: “In the same way as the Nazis had to be stopped in Germany in the Thirties, this thing that is on the rise has to be stopped…

“It will be a big change for how people relate to me. Once I’m in, I’m fully in, and this is big.”

The papers also said the star had “cleared his diary of acting commitments” and when asked if he will be “completely” stopping as an actor replied: “Yeah. Certainly for the time being.”

But, in a blog post on the same day, Sheen said he “did not declare that I’m ‘quitting acting and leaving Hollywood’ to go into politics”.

“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,” 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.

“I certainly did not equate people who voted for Brexit or Trump with a fascistic ‘hard right’ that must be stopped.”

The star’s post has prompted fresh headlines clarifying his position.

The Times has said it won’t comment on the matter. Sheen is understood to have written a letter to the newspaper to be published tomorrow.

Picture: Reuters

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