Why ‘Prodigal Son’ Actor Michael Sheen Thinks His Show Is Dangerous

Part of the success of the new crime drama Prodigal Son is due to Michael Sheen’s performance. Many viewers find the show frightening. Here’s why Sheen feels the same way.

Michael Sheen and Tom Payne in Prodigal Son | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

What Michael Sheen really thinks of ‘Prodigal Son’

Fox News reports Sheen had a lot to say about serial killers. “We like to think that they’re an aberration, an extreme version of what is possible. And yet, underneath, we know that they’re not separate.”

Sheen continued “They are a reflection of us in some way. They’re the monsters we don’t want to own. We have to integrate them, assimilate them in some way. To turn them into entertainment is one way to do it.”

Sheen added “The alternative is to not engage with it, which would make it more frightening. I worked on a script about the Green River Killer. And I spent a lot of time in that world.”

Michael Sheen in Prodigal Son | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Here’s why Sheen is scared of his own show. “No matter what aspects of it you look at, it’s about really horrible, life-denying things: destruction and grief and sadness and loss. And there is nothing romantic about it. I suppose that’s the danger with a lot of this sort of stuff is that it can make evil seem somehow attractive.”

Why Michael Sheen still wanted to act in the show

According to Entertainment Weekly, Sheen still had kind words for the show. He liked the duality of his character. “We have a character who has done some of the most awful things that a human being can do and yet seems to be a loving father. He has all these contradictory things in him, and this central father/son relationship seems really problematic — in a good way.”

He also described Prodigal Son as “operatic.” “I suppose it is kind of modern gothic. There’s repressed, under-the-surface horror and an almost operatic feel. Because of the social circles that the characters move in, you can imagine that if Tennessee Williams was going to write a horror, he might write this. Sometimes you forget what the audience is seeing and there are moments when I sit back and go, that is really daaark. It’ll be interesting to see people’s reactions.”

Another actor feels the show has an ‘innate risk’

Lou Diamond Phillips in Prodigal Son | FOX via Getty Images

Another actor from Prodigal Son, Lou Diamond Phillips, discussed the dark nature of the show’s subject. He told Forbes “I’ve found that if the subject matter has an innate risk to it, it doesn’t matter how you approach it. It will affect you. It works on you.”

He also talked about his method of working on such a dark show. “On an unconscious level, it just makes things happen. So you can either go with that and accept that and embrace that or not. But if you don’t embrace it, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to affect you in some way.”

Phillips understand why audiences are fascinated by serial killers. “I think people want to explore how the human mind can go so wrong. How can a person commit such heinous and immoral acts without a conscience or shame? What is it about the mechanics of the human mind that can steer someone down such a dark path?”

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