Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Clough family 'should see film'

The Damned United
Michael Sheen stars as Brian Clough in The Damned United

Actor Michael Sheen says he hopes Brian Clough's family will watch his latest film about the late football manager.

The Damned United chronicles the 44 days Clough spent managing Leeds United in 1974 before he was sacked.

But Clough's family have said they will boycott the film as they were unhappy with the book upon which it is based.

"It's a much more affectionate and respectful look at Brian," Sheen said ahead of the film's world premiere in London's Leicester Square.

"I hope they get to see it because I can understand their fears," he added.

"I know they weren't happy with the book but I think the film is a very different animal.

"We felt that any film that was going to be about Brian Clough would have to be something that showed why people had so much affection and admiration for him.

"I think the film does service to that and I hope that if any of the family get to watch it they can make their minds up after that."

Michael Sheen on playing Brian Clough

Clough, a former England player who died in 2004, found success managing Derby County and Nottingham Forest either side of his unhappy tenure at Leeds.

His son Nigel told BBC Radio Derby that the family would snub the film because the book - which portrayed Clough as the victim of his own ambition - had upset his mother, Barbara.

"I'll go with the principle that if the film is based on the book, we won't be going down the road of seeing it," he said.

Tom Hooper, the director of The Damned United, said that he and screenwriter Peter Morgan had made efforts to get Clough's family involved with the project.

"We invited them to read the script and see an early cut of the movie and the finished film," he said.

"I would have loved to speak to them because what better [way is there to do] research? We definitely wanted to involve them.

"Peter and I were affected by what they felt about the book so it did inspire us to make as rounded a portrait of Brian Clough as we could," he added.

Stars turned out on the red carpet in London for the film's world premiere, including Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and Sir Michael Parkinson, who interviewed Clough on a number of occasions.

Sheen said he thought it unlikely there would ever be another Brian Clough.

"No one ever has or will compare to Brian Clough," he said.

"He was one of the biggest stars we have ever had in whatever he did. He was funnier than anyone else, he was more outrageous than anyone else, had more passion and he had a vision of the game that is unsurpassed.

"You put all that together and you have a complete one-off."

The film goes on general release on 27 March.

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