Star Sheen's honour over links with TV legend
HOLLYWOOD actor Michael Sheen has paid glowing tribute to the late Sir David Frost, who he immortalised in a film about his legendary interviews with disgraced former US President Richard Nixon.
The Port Talbot actor, aged 44, said it was a "real honour" to be associated with the veteran broadcaster who died suddenly over the weekend.
Sir David died on Saturday aged 74 following a heart attack on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.
Michael who took on the journalist's role in Frost/Nixon revealed his first meeting with Sir David was at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London, following the third preview of the stage production.
Michael said Sir David had a "totally unique career" and "one that no-one could really do anymore."
"He was the first major British TV star with That Was The Week That Was and in America," he added.
"If you look back at 1962 and 1963 when he was doing That Was The Week That Was it was taken off the air because people were scared he would have too much influence over the voters in a year when where was a General Election — that shows the measure of the position he held at that time.
"You look at his style of interviewing at that point he set the benchmark for that kind of grilling and really putting people under pressure."
Sir David's hard-hitting interviews ranged from the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the sinking of the Belgrano to the politician Enoch Powell.
Michael said ultimately Sir David was positive about both the film and stage version of Frost/Nixon.
But he said it was a nerve-wracking first meeting.
Michael said: "I'm not sure who was more nervous me or him when we met afterwards.
"Famously he was an incredibly positive man. I don't think anyone ever heard him say anything negative about anyone.
"But I think we sorely tested him when we put his life up on stage and then screen. He was incredibly supportive all the way through.
"He was a very canny man as well — he was a shrewd businessman.
"He wouldn't have got to where he got without being that way."
Michael said while he was growing up in Port Talbot in the 1970s that Sir David, who also presented the Frost Report, was very much part of "our social fabric" and "set the benchmark."