What New Moon's vampire king took from the Beatles

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Michael Sheen—who plays Aro, the leader of the vampire Volturi in The Twilight Saga: New Moon—found it easy to play a 1,000-year-old vampire in the sequel.

"I think it's a good job that I was playing a sort of millennia-old vampire, because that's exactly how it felt to be on a set with people as beautiful as Robert [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart] and Ashley [Greene] and all that lot," Sheen told a group of reporters on Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting his new film, The Damned United.

Sheen offered up a few other clues to his performance of Aro.

1. Think Yellow Submarine.. Sheen says he channeled the voice of a Blue Meanie from the Beatles' animated film to come up with Aro's distinctive voice. "There's a thing that Stephenie [Meyer] writes in the book that his voice was like feathers, and ... just suddenly I heard, 'The Blue Meaniiiiie,'" Sheen said. "This voice that really kind of disturbed me when I was a kid. It was very gentle and soft, but there was something very scary about it."

3. The Volturi Castle was here. While Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen, and Stewart, who plays Bella, got to shoot exteriors in Italy, Sheen shot all of his scenes on soundstages in the United States: "Yeah, my favorite experience about Italy was getting a text from [director] Chris Weitz saying, 'It's lovely here, isn't it?'"

4. He read the book. A lot. Sheen said he kept a copy of New Moon, the second of Meyer's Twilight books, with him at all times on the set. "I'd reread it and reread it and reread it," Sheen said. "It's not like I had to read the whole book, because Aro's bits are not as much, but nevertheless I try and immerse myself in the world of the piece, whatever the piece is. ... If it's New Moon, then I immerse myself in the world of Stephenie's world, but also the world of vampires generally."

The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens Nov. 20.