UPDATE: Michael Sheen said he was misstated in an interview that said he would quit acting to focus on political activism. “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,” Sheen wrote on Tumblr. “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.”
Sheen added that he did not equate the rise of Trump and Brexit to fascism, as those decisions were the people’s choice and that’s how a democracy works. “What I think must be resisted is the re-emerging spectre of fascism in the West,” Sheen wrote. “Our democracy must be defended and each of us needs to decide how we can contribute to that effort.”
Masters of Sex actor Michael Sheen revealed in an interview Saturday that he would be leaving Hollywood to become a political activist in his native Wales.
Speaking to the Times UK, the actor said that the rise in far-right populism, both in the United Kingdom – where citizens voted in favor of leaving the European Union – and in America – where Donald Trump was elected – inspired him to fight against fight “demagogic, fascistic” politics.
“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,” Sheen said. “It’s not going to look like this in 10 years’ time. Everything has shifted. The dice are being rolled again.”
Sheen, who starred in 2008’s Frost/Nixon and appears in the upcoming Passengers, will return to his hometown of Port Talbot in South Wales, which voted in favor of the Brexit, to begin grassroots organizing.
However, Sheen expressed concern that the major move could come at the cost of the relationships he built in Hollywood, including that with his similarly politically minded longtime girlfriend Sarah Silverman, who recently interviewed Bernie Sanders for a live-streamed event.
“It will be a big change for how people relate to me,” Sheen said. “Once I’m in, I’m fully in, and this is big. As soon as you start to be effective, then people try to crush you, because it’s dangerous.”
After Sheen’s Times interview was published, the actor tweeted a quote from Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction… It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”