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New Moon director Chris Weitz’s “aggressive” pursuit of actor Michael Sheen — best known for playing Tony Blair and David Frost in the Oscar-nominated films The Queen and Frost/Nixon, and the Lycan (or werewolf) Lucian in the Underword films — is a serious hit with fans. Casting him as Aro, leader of the Volturi, a coven of ancient vampires who police (and kill) those who threaten to reveal the secret of the immortals’ existence, shows that Weitz knows what interesting characters he’s got to work with. And also, of course, that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke got seriously screwed on her budget.

But you’ve also got to wonder if Weitz sought Sheen out because he’d lend the production a credibility that even the casting of Dakota Fanning as Volturi member Jane hadn’t managed. Comments on our weekend news brief about Sheen’s casting make you think he might’ve succeeded:

Sara: Holy crap! Now I will definitely go see this movie! I love Michael Sheen!

beelkay: Fantastic! Now that I can get behind. I just hope all these goodactors they’re getting lift the original cast’s game rather thanovershadow them.

Jessi: I wasn’t sure if I’d bother to see New Moon in theatres, but Idefinitely will now! Michael Sheen is exactly the kind of actor Summitneeds to cast to atone for the mediocrity of the first film.

and my personal favorite…

stella: Twilight is a piece of trash, but Michael Sheen is the s—.

Are any of you haters non-believers contemplating giving the series a try now that Sheen is on board? Anyone who swore off the films after the first one planning a return?

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