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Successfully adapting a character from the page to the screen isn’t always about playing the person exactly as he or she was written. Sometimes the most successful transitions are about emphasizing a certain personality trait that’s downplayed in the text.
At least that’s Michael Sheen’s point of view. The veteran actor who plays the deliciously evil Aro in the Twilight series couldn’t get over the bored bemusement he saw in the character while reading Stephenie Meyer’s books, and during each of his appearance, he tried to draw that perspective out, giving fans a vampire who enjoys nothing more than seeing something new. Here's what he said during a recent press conference in Los Angeles...
”One of the things I’ve always liked about the character as Stephenie wrote him and hinted at in the books is the idea that he thinks of himself as this sentimental old fool who watches the young people having fun and then likes to kill them.”
It was that decision from Sheen that shaped Aro’s basic personality in the movies, and in the actor’s mind, he thinks it makes him ultimately more terrifying too. Because he’s so relaxed, in control and bemused by everything, it makes his behavior creepier and more intimidating…
”I like the idea of someone who is constantly amusing himself. It brings a little more human to him, and I think hopefully, it allows the moments that really are horrible to be chilling. I really creeped myself out in this film, and I don’t normally do that. There are moments when you suddenly see how much he enjoys the violence and the general meanness. The smiles show the insanity underneath.”
One of the true signs of how well a character adaptation works is whether most fans can picture another actor handling the role. I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t now see Aro as the vision Sheen gave us. His villain might not be a spot-on embodiment, but the result is still captivating during every single moment on the screen.