Sheen reveals all about latest role
BAGLAN actor Michael Sheen has been talking about the sex scenes and nudity which feature heavily in his new US drama series.
Sheen, whose new show Masters of Sex will debut in the UK on Channel 4 — though no release date has yet been set — said he knew nothing about the two main characters, Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson, before filming the Showtime series.
The show tells the story of the pair, who were pioneering researchers of human sexuality in America and began the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957.
Speaking to best-selling US magazine, Parade, Sheen, who plays the lead role of Masters, said: "Maybe it's because I'm British, maybe it's my generation, but I had never heard of them before.
"I'd only heard of Alfred Kinsey [another sex researcher] because of the film [starring Liam Neeson].
"And now, knowing about them, I go, why doesn't everybody know about them? We owe them so much — or at least, they've influenced so much."
The 44-year-old, who split from his girlfriend, actress Rachel McAdams, in February, also spoke about nudity in the series — and the changes in attitude throughout filming.
"I think early on you don't know people yet, you're not as comfortable with everyone, so you're very self-conscious," he said.
"You're trying very hard to treat things like they're normal when clearly they're not.
"Later on, it has become normal, and sometimes you've gotten so comfortable with everyone that you just laugh at each other, at the absurdity of doing something vaguely sexual with someone who now feels like your sister."
But, he added, he took his role as lead actor in the show very seriously, adding: "(I) made sure that people felt comfortable.
"Obviously sex plays a large part in the show.
"The most important thing is for the audience to relate.
"Rather than it being titillating or idealised, it should be something they can relate to.
"It's not that [the story] stops and there's a sex scene, then we go back to the story; the story is being told through the sex scene.
"Like the songs in the best musicals, they're advancing the story. That's what we're aiming towards."
The Frost/Nixon star also spoke about the chemistry between him and co-star Lizzy Caplan, who plays Johnson — which he said he didn't think about before filming.
"If I could go back now to before we started, I would be much more scared about how badly wrong it can go if you don't have chemistry with a person," he said.
"We got on very well from the very beginning.
"She has no filters, she just kind of says stuff and is very open about things. She's very funny and we immediately connected in that way."