Michael Shannon (born 1974) is an American stage, film, and television actor. His best known performances are as John Givings in Revolutionary Road
, prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire
, and General Zod in Man of Steel
Born in Kentucky to a single mother, he got his first work as an actor on the Chicago stage, at various times working for such theatre companies as Steppenwolf, The Next Lab and the Red Orchid Theatre. He eventually started to get small parts in Hollywood movies, too, notably the Jerry Bruckheimer
-produced films Bad Boys 2
, Pearl Harbor
, and Kangaroo Jack
. This visibility (along with his Academy Award
nomination for Revolutionary Road
) has led to him recieving larger and more acclaimed roles in (mostly independent) films, such as Bug
, The Runaways
, Before The Devil Knows Youre Dead
, Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans
, Shotgun Stories
, and Take Shelter
He is best known for his virtuoso ability to play repressed, unstable, and otherwise crazed characters. He has also been compared to Willem Dafoe
in terms of roles and Christopher Walken
for his ability to completely steal a movie simply by showing up.
He played General Zod
in the Superman
reboot Man of Steel
and the legendary Professional Killer
Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman
Despite the large number of villainous roles to his name, Shannon is very much known to be a Nice Guy
who loves his daughter and has a great sense of humor.
His Notable Films:
This actor provides examples of:
- Breakout Role: His scene-stealing turn in Revolutionary Road.
- Deleted Role: His part as a preacher who converted George W. Bush to evangelical Christianity was completely cut from the Oliver Stone-directed biopic W..
- Dramatic Reading: He did one for the infamous Delta Gamma sorority letter. Watch it here.
- He Also Did: Was the Big Bad in Kangaroo Jack. He now regrets the role for obvious reasons.
- Hidden Depths: He's also in an indie folk band called Corporal.
- Kubrick Stare: A master of this trope.
- Large Ham: Some of Shannon's roles can go for this.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor
- Money, Dear Boy: The only reason he probably starred in bad movies like Kangaroo Jack and Jonah Hex.
- Old Shame: During his Man of Steel interview, he wished that he'd never been in Kangaroo Jack as he's uncomfortable with the kangaroo rapping and finds it scary and evil.
- Perpetual Frowner: If his characters ever smile, it's never a good sign.
- Playing Against Type: Despite being so well known for crazy guys, he's earned equal acclaim playing more conventional types in Shotgun Stories and Return.
- Production Posse: Often works with director Jeff Nichols and actor James Franco.
- Rule Of Sean Connery: See description. It doesn't matter how small his role or how bad the rest of it is, whenever Shannon shows up in a movie, he completely steals the scene.
- Self-Deprecation: He's completely aware of how Type Cast he is as crazy types, and isn't afraid to have fun with that, such as in this video where he talks about adorable things or this Funny or Die video where he reads Rebecca Martinson's insane sorority letter.
- Type Casting: When he's in a movie, expect him to play a crazy, repressed or generally unstable person.