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Wednesday June 30, 1999

Dad out-shines the Sheens

Toronto Sun

A SHEEN TO HIM: Why if it's not big daddy Martin Sheen. He dropped by to see his son Emilio Estevez and his other son Charlie Sheen, who are shooting The Mitchell Brothers Project around town.

 Father Sheen is looking good. Some say dad is looking healthier than his two sons. Funny thing is his two sons would probably agree... 

Tuesday, March 2, 1999

Life takes on new sheen for him

Forget Me Never's Martin Sheen has found renewed faith for living

By Claire Bickley -- Toronto Sun

Martin Sheen quotes from a favourite book, psychiatrist M. Scott Peck's inspirational bestseller "The Road Less Travelled", to express what he has learned along the way.

"Life is difficult and it's supposed to be," the acting veteran says.

"It's quite natural for life to be difficult and once you understand that that's life and it's difficult, it's not difficult anymore, it's life. It's a mystery to be explored, and not a problem to be solved."

Sheen is in Toronto filming "Forget Me Never", an Alliance Atlantis TV movie for CBS and CITY about one of the bleakest destinations on life's road -- Alzheimer's. He plays a man whose wife is diagnosed with the disease.

During a filming break at a stately century home near High Park, Sheen's publicity shy co-star Mia Farrow slips past.

A member of Sheen's extended family suffered from Alzheimer's -- "Heartbreaking," he says of that -- but it was the opportunity to play opposite Farrow that convinced him to take the role.

"I adore her. She's one of my heroes," he says.

They appeared together in a 1972 movie of the week, "Goodbye Raggedy Ann", but didn't get to know each other then.

Sheen knows Toronto like a second home. "The Subject Was Roses" brought him to the Royal Alex in the '60s. He was back in 1978 for "Taxi!!", then in 1986 for '"The Believers".  Always, he rents a house and a car and makes an effort to get out and about. This time, that meant the first Raptors and Leafs games at the Air Canada Centre, the latter because son Ramon Estevez, an avid fan and friend of Montreal Canadien Mark Recchi, was visiting.

"That was my third hockey game in my life," Sheen admits. "I still don't know all the rules. I don't know what the lines mean or what all the circles mean -- I don't have a clue. It's very exciting stuff, though."

One of Sheen's few on-camera commercials -- for a gas station chain promoting a dishware giveaway -- was also done here. Twenty-six years ago.

"Nothing's free from an oil company except for a bad environment," the anti-pollution activist says of that now.

"I wouldn't do it anymore. I wouldn't do alcohol or any product I don't use."

(In case you're wondering, he does drive a Toyota, the car he promoted for 10 years.)

Ethics play as much a part in his career decisions as aesthetics now, although Sheen says that at 58, roles like those in "Apocalypse Now", "Wall Street" and "Gandhi" are unlikely to come his way again. Tomorrow, he heads to South Carolina to play a basketball coach in "O", an adaptation of Othello.

"I'm limited by my status and my age, by very large measure. I don't get the big offers anymore. I don't do the big budget films with big name directors anymore, studio films. I haven't done one since "American President" and that was because Rob Reiner just insisted that I do it. He was just magnificent to me and I'm very grateful for it."

Mostly, what Sheen is grateful for is more personal, such as the drug and alcohol rehabilitation of son Charlie Sheen, near death's door after an overdose last spring.

"I was just thinking about the miracles of the past year. Every day should be spent in thanks and praise," he says.

"If I didn't get another miracle the rest of my life, I couldn't complain. I've been the most blessed, the most blessed, man. I don't even know of anyone as blessed as we have been. We have been, in just one year's time, from despair to freedom. Just extraordinary." 

Tuesday, August 5, 1997

Real man of action

Arrests mount for left-wing activist who plays gov't bad guy in Spawn

By TYLER McLEOD -- Calgary Sun

BEVERLY HILLS -- What do Martin Sheen, three priests, two female ministers and a rabbi all have in common?

It sounds like the setup to a bad joke, but the punchline is rather surprising.

"I was the only non-ordained person arrested," Sheen marvels.

Sheen celebrates his 57th birthday in a matter of weeks, but what he'd really like to talk about is his 57th arrest. Yes, 57th.

"Yeah, I was arrested a few weeks ago protesting labor practices in the strawberry fields," he smiles.

"I'm such a windbag when it comes to things like that. I know a lot more about that than the movie."

Sheen has not seen "Spawn" yet, but is curious about the audience's reaction to his performance.

"Am I the hero?" Sheen jokingly asks.

Well no, Marty, not really.

In fact your character, Jason Wynn, is the evil and corrupt government agent who offs Al Simmons (Michael Jai White), thereby sending Simmons to hell where he makes a pact with the devil to come back to earth as Spawn and avenge his murder.

"Do I get away in the end? There was supposed to be a big crowd at the end celebrating evil winning again," he further kids.

Strangely, though, Sheen is not the most evil character in the action adventure film. That dishonor would have to go to the devil Malebolgia.

"Am I not the baddest? Oh well, the devil is the first of all bad men. I'll accept that."

It wasn't until after Sheen had accepted the role that he discovered the comic book's popularity.

"I had no idea," he admits.

"Last summer a couple of the kids were at the house and my grandson Taylor asked, `Granddad, why are you growing a beard?' I said I was doing a film called "Spawn" and he almost fainted!"

It wasn't long before Sheen was becoming acquainted with the "extraordinary cult" of Spawn readers.

"I was walking down the street last week and these two guys were following me," Sheen says.

"They said, `We work at a comic store and we sell your doll!'

"So I went to the store and signed autographs."

Sheen laughs that "Spawn" is the first time he's ever played a cartoon intentionally. And the action figures are definitely new to him.

"I'll be in the microwave and people will find me by the side of the road missing an arm, dogs chewing me," he says.

Not that Sheen himself wasn't subjected to some roughing up.

For the climax of "Spawn", Sheen was set on fire.

"I would never do that again! I've had two close calls with fire on movie sets so fire is my number one fear," he reveals.

"It became a challenge to confront my fear, so I did it."

One his brushes with fire came on the set of the Terence Malick classic "Badlands".

It was a night scene, with a house burning down.

To create the fire, extremely flammable liquid cement was poured around the house.

"The house had filled with fumes and when they lit the fire, of course, the whole house blew up," Sheen says.

One crew member was seriously injured, but, fortunately, nobody was killed.

Liquid cement again threatened Sheen during an episode of the TV show "Ghost Story".

"This episode was about a rocking horse that had a life of its own.

"I was supposed to throw it in the fireplace," Sheen says, "and, again, the fumes ... Boom!

"They used that shot in the show!"


September 9, 1996

Stars party at Norm's place


At The Festival
We ambushed Martin Sheen over at Norman Jewison's BBQ, but at least we were polite about it.
"What a difference between U.S. and Canadian media," Sheen said, eyeing the traditional corn-on-the-cob and fixings at the Canadian Film Centre yesterday. "There, they just come at you and bash at you. Here, you're really nice..."
Dad Martin and son Emilio Estevez are here for their flick, "The War At Home", Estevez's directorial debut. "This is a great festival for young filmmakers. I'm getting a tremendous amount of support - it's overwhelming," said the chip off the old block. "The audiences are unreal ... they're totally with it!"
Then we got tough, calling Big Sheen on politically incorrect behavior. That time on his honeymoon, when he shoplifted bread and cheese from the supermarket?
"...and don't forget the sardines," added Emilio.
"Well," smiled Sheen. "At least I've never stolen anything I didn't use."
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