Michael Sheen Joins 'New Moon' Cast

In the 'Twilight' sequel, the 'Frost/Nixon' star will play leader of the Volturi.

The latest castmember to join [movie id="414921"]"New Moon"[/movie] manages to be both critically acclaimed and well-versed in playing creatures of the night. According to Variety, [movieperson id="168396"]Michael Sheen[/movieperson] has joined the highly anticipated [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] sequel as Aro, the sinister and powerful leader of the Volturi.

As fans know, Aro is a vampire who can read any thought a person has ever had once he makes physical contact with them, and he's a formidable opponent for Edward and Bella.

Sheen has enjoyed a long career in Britain on the stage and screen, one that has earned him BAFTA nominations and an Order of the British Empire from the Queen. But he's only recently come to the attention of American moviegoers through his well-received performances as Tony Blair in "The Queen" and as David Frost in last year's Oscar-nominated "Frost/Nixon." But he may be best known to popular audiences as Lucian, the leader of the werewolves in the successful "Underworld" franchise.

This year saw the release of its third installment, "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans," in which Sheen took over the lead role from Kate Beckinsale. Many fans have remarked on the striking resemblance between "Twilight" and "Underworld," which both center on forbidden love among the immortals, and bloody battles between vampires and werewolves. Sheen's association with a "Twilight" competitor such as "Underworld" might make him a controversial pick among the fans, who have very definite ideas when it comes to who will be playing their favorite characters.

While the first "Twilight" installment featured a cast largely made up of newcomers, director Chris Weitz has taken the "New Moon" cast in a slightly different direction, hiring a few more recognizable names, like Sheen and Dakota Fanning. The fact that "Twilight" is now attracting bigger and more established actors is another indication of just how high-profile the franchise has become. It seems as though everyone wants to come onboard, and rumors continue to swirl as to who may be joining subsequent installments of the series.

The film has been shooting since last month and is currently on location in Vancouver. "New Moon" will arrive in theaters on November 20.

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