Why Robert Sheehan Was Terrified to Dance in ‘The Umbrella Academy’

Robert Sheehan has been gaining widespread media attention for his role as Klaus Hargreeves on the Netflix Original The Umbrella Academy. And while the quick-witted and sharp-tongued character may appear consistently nonchalant, the actor portraying Klaus is not always as carefree.

Robert Sheehan
Robert Sheehan | Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for New York Comic Con

While Robert Sheehan was one of many characters forced to carry out elaborate choreography in The Umbrella Academy, his experience was a little bit different than that of his fellow cast members.

Robert Sheehan’s first instruction on ‘The Umbrella Academy:’ DANCE!

Sheehan, speaking out about his immediate sense of terror upon arriving on set, told an NYC Comic-Con audience:

“It was my first thing shooting…You know, sometimes there’s a sort of terror that exists in an actor’s belly before they’ve done any acting in front of their new crew and cast and family. And the first thing I did, was my part of the dance montage, and I was shi**ing a giant brick. I was terrified. It was my first day of filming…”

Sheehan, in front of a cast he had never before worked with, had to break into dance before shooting any scenes involving dialogue.

As “I think We’re Alone Now” played in the background, Sheehan’s first chance to prove his acting prowess involved embodying his character without using any words.

Emmy Raver-Lampman explained at Comic-Con how the dance moves needed to be unique to each character, for Steve Blackman participated in “many an email chain about all of us [the cast] having very unique dancing styles.” Thus, Sheehan not only had to dance, but he also had to dance “correctly –” in the most Klaus Hargreeves way possible, which, given the chaotic character’s profile, was likely no easy feat.

Why many fans feel Robert Sheehan is basically Klaus Hargreeves in real life

Despite the discrepancy between Klaus’s apparent comfort while dancing and Sheehan’s actual level of comfort, many believe that Sheehan emulates his character in real life.

From video montages and interviews unveiling Sheehan’s dark and quirky sense of humor to the actor’s tendency to arrive places barefoot, it often seems that Sheehan is just as wacky as Klaus.

Robert Sheehan also tends towards sarcastic and dark individuals, as he portrayed Nathan Young on the UK series Misfits, which follows five juvenile offenders who suddenly develop superpowers as a result of a thunderstorm.

Sheehan has previously starred in the sci-fi movies Mortal Engines and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He even appeared alongside Nicholas Cage in the fantasy-horror Season of the Witch. Long story short, when it comes to taking on characters or landscapes seemingly “out of this world,” Sheehan has a knack for it.

Sheehan’s role choices and personal tendencies (the latter of which the public is only so fortunate to witness during brief interviews) have led many to believe that he is a perfect combination of Nathan Young and Klaus Hargreeves in real life. And well, we can only hope.

What’s next for Robert Sheehan?

Other than starring in The Young Offenders as himself, according to IMDb, Sheehan doesn’t have any other projects on the horizon. So, for now, audiences will have to enjoy Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves and watch repeats of Misfits, as they wait for the Umbrella Academy season two.