The man asked to bring Brian Clough back to life for the big screen has revealed that Old Big ‘Ead is surprisingly similar to Kenneth Williams. Michael Sheen, who plays Clough in the film adaptation of David Peace’s brilliant but controversial “faction” novel The Damned Utd, has made a name for himself with superb characterisations of Carry On star Williams, Tony Blair and David Frost – and has told FourFourTwo that playing Clough was no different. “They’ve got a public face and a private face – that’s something that’s very similar about them,” explains Sheen of the men he’s portrayed. “The other ‘characters’ in those films – Richard Nixon, Gordon Brown, The Queen and Peter Taylor – aren’t as good at dissembling, at covering up. Whereas the characters I play are very adept at that: they’re all good in front of the cameras.” Speaking in the new issue of FourFourTwo, which includes interviews with the director and various cast members as well as Peace, Sheen reveals that he researched cult leaders while preparing to play Clough. “Clough was playing psychological games with his players,” he says. “Like a cult leader he worked with the dispossessed and he was respected, loved and feared.” Sheen reveals that filming proved how popular Clough was – “Everywhere we went people would smile, no one said ‘that f*cker’.” And he hopes the film goes down better than the book with the Clough family. “I know there’s been feelers put out to Barbara and the family to see it," he says. "I hope they do eventually and I hope they enjoy it.” The new issue of FourFourTwo is out now, featuring: • Interviews with Kaka, Arshavin, Terry, Motty, Stam, Dave Mackay & the Chuckle Brothers • The Top 50 Football League Players • Football’s Top 20 Hoaxes • The Best Youth Team Ever • Inside The Damned United • Swansea vs Cardiff Plus a FREE 36-page England supplement
31 March 2009
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