HBO's 'Special' gives thesp another turn as Blair
It was a presidential affair for HBO’s “The Special Relationship,” shown at the DGA, which had been transformed May 19 into a diplomatic dinette, complete with high-backed marigold velveteen booths, dramatic table settings and Yankee or Brit flags on the catering staff’s shirts.
Prior to being offered the Bill Clinton role, Dennis Quaid never even fantasized about playing the prexy. “No, not at all,” Quaid said. “In fact, I almost turned it down. I really had a fear of failure.”
Michael Sheen, who has played Tony Blair before, was much more the comfortable participant. “I was there from the very beginning,” Sheen said. “I was part of the development.”
Apparently the former prime minister liked what he saw of himself in Sheen’s “The Queen” perf.
“In the case of this film, I actually met Blair. I got to be around him and watch him and be in the same room, which really affected how I played him,” Sheen said.
So did he come to like Blair?
“It’s sort of beyond liking or disliking someone,” the actor demurred. “He’s someone I’ve come to know and got to play. You connect with the person you play, you find those connections and they become you.”