Michael Sheen demands only Welsh actors play Welsh characters

Michael Sheen

The controversial comments aren't the first from Michael Sheen

Paige Creaney

By Paige Creaney

Published: 07/06/2023

- 11:16

The actor has said he finds non-Welsh actors playing Welsh characters 'hard to accept'

Michael Sheen has revealed he finds it “very hard to accept” when Welsh characters are not played by Welsh actors.

The 54-year-old criticised “posh” stars cast in working-class roles and blasted the "ridiculous” title of the Prince of Wales, saying he sees “no reason” why the “silly” title should be used in the modern age.

In an interview, Sheen claimed: “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.”

Prince William

The actor slammed the Prince of Wales over his title


The actor defended his claims by saying as a white man he would not expect to be cast as Othello, a role typically played by black actors in Shakespeare's 1603 play.

He said it would be "sad" if non-disabled actors were not allowed to play Richard III, who had radial dysplasia.

Sheen also criticised casting “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.”

However, he said that he would draw the line at casting only real-life murderers to play killers on-screen.

“The extreme example is, well, if you haven't murdered someone, can you play a murderer?” he told the Telegraph.

It’s not the first time the actor has come under fire for his controversial opinions after he took a series of swipes at Prince William when the royal met the England team and presented them with shirts for the World Cup in Qatar instead of the Welsh team.

The star said it was “inappropriate” for William to give them England shirts given his title is the Prince of Wales.

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.

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen is commonly regarded as one of Wales' greatest actors


Sheen felt that because the trip fell on an important historic date, it could have been seen as “insensitive.”

In 2020, he revealed that he had handed back his OBE after eight years in protest, 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.”

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