Sunday, December 18, 2016

Michael Sheen will quit acting to become a full-time activist over fears of far-right populism


‘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’

Michael Sheen is so disturbed by the rise of far-right populism he is quitting acting to become an activist, and says he does not know if his relationship with Sarah Silverman will survive. 

Sheen will leave Silverman, his partner of two years, and family in Los Angeles and move to Port Talbot in south Wales to combat the wave of “demagogic, fascistic” politics he believes has engulfed the West in the past decade.

He told The Times: “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’s not going to look like this in 10 years’ time. Everything has shifted. The dice are being rolled again.”

His steel-making hometown, population 37,000, voted for Brexit and the Welsh actor says his frustration at this has formed, in part, the impetus for his decision to begin his activism back where he began. His fears were exacerbated by the ascension of Donald Trump and the tensions stoked by his divisive rhetoric.  

Sheen has become increasingly politically and socially active since coordinating the 2011 play The Passion in Port Talbot with hundreds of local people. He works with the children's charity Unicef and has spent months travelling through Britain and Spain looking at community projects he could emulate in his hometown. “The greatest service you can do is to serve the whole, is to serve the story that you’re a part of,” he added. “The story is bigger than any one individual within it.” 

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