Michael Sheen was inspired to become an actor by Richard Burton and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

The Welsh actor credits his countrymen for proving to him that it was possible to become a Hollywood star as they both came from his hometown of Port Talbot.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper, he said: "Growing up in Wales, let alone in Port Talbot, the voice of Richard Burton is one of the most recognised there is, next to your own mother.

"You grow up with it, the extraordinary myth of a man, the legend of Richard Burton. Then there's Anthony Hopkins, a man I've come to appreciate as one of the best actors of all time."

The 'Staged' actor explained that the performances of Burton and Hopkins made a "massive difference" in the early part of his career.

Michael said: "To have those people in your consciousness from such a young age makes a massive difference.

"These were iconic performances, and not just from Welsh actors – these were actors from the town where I grew up.

"It means a lot to see that people from the same background as you have gone out and done what you want to do. It gives you something to aspire towards and the confidence to know it's possible."

Michael has played a number of famous figures on screen, such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 'The Queen' and legendary football manager Brian Clough in 'The Damned United' but opted not to meet the people he plays as he is concerned that his performance would be affected.

The 52-year-old star said: "Once you meet someone, inevitably you want to take some responsibility for them. And no matter how it goes, if you really get on with each other and you really like a person, inevitably you will shy away from certain things."