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In 2005, Sheen starred in the National Theatre's production of The UN Inspector, a David Farr adaptation of The Government Inspector.The Times wrote of "a scathingly brilliant and inventive performance" The Evening Standard, while conceding that the performance was "technically brilliant", expressed bemusement as to why "one of the most mercurial and inspiring actors we have seems set on impersonating Rik Mayall throughout".Sheen directed and starred in National Theatre Wales's The Passion.Director Sam Mendes has described Sheen as "a stage creature" and attributed that to the actor's Welsh roots: "I'm serious.
The film focused on the differing reactions of the British Royal Family and the newly appointed Prime Minister following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997; it was Sheen's third collaboration with director Stephen Frears and his second with screenwriter Peter Morgan.He enjoyed reprising his role because Blair, at this point in his career, had "a weight to him that he didn't have before".When asked to discuss his personal opinion of Blair, Sheen admitted that the more time he spent working on the character, the "less opinion" he has of the politician: "Now when I watch him on TV or hear his voice, it's sort of like a cross between a family member, a friend and seeing a really old embarrassing video of yourself." Also in 2006, Sheen starred as the troubled English comic actor Kenneth Williams in BBC Four's Fantabulosa!From 2006 to 2007, Sheen starred as the television broadcaster David Frost in Frost/Nixon at both the Donmar Warehouse and Gielgud Theatre in London and at the Jacobs Theatre on Broadway.The play, written by Peter Morgan, directed by Michael Grandage and co-starring Frank Langella, was a critical and commercial success "He's got the voice, the mannerisms, the blaze," said the Financial Times, "but, more than that, Sheen—as viscerally exciting an actor as any in Britain today—shows us the hunger of Frost's ambition ..
Sheen's breakthrough role was as British politician Tony Blair in 2003's The Deal.