Michael Corbett Shannon (born August 7, 1974 in Lexington, Kentucky) is an American stage, film, and television actor.
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 II, 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 You're Dead, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Shotgun Stories. He also works quite regularly on stage, having performed in many works by Tracy Letts in Chicago and New York as well as receiving a Tony nomination for his role in a recent revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night.
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. His best known performances are as John Givings in Revolutionary Road, prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire, Curtis LaForche in Take Shelter, and General Zod in Man of Steel.
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.
Not to be confused with Michael J. Shannon (no relation).
His Notable Films:
- Groundhog Day (1993) he's the groom of the couple (Fred and Debbie) whom Phil gives Wrestlemania tickets to as a wedding gift.
- Cecil B. Demented (2000)
- Vanilla Sky (2001) as the cop watching David
- 8 Mile (2002)
- Bad Boys II (2003)
- Kangaroo Jack (2003)
- Bug (2006)
- World Trade Center (2006)
- Shotgun Stories (2007)
- Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2008)
- Revolutionary Road (2008)
- Delocated (2009) Episode: Sick of It. He actually SMILES in this!
- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
- My Son My Son What Have Ye Done (2009)
- The Runaways (2010)
- Jonah Hex (2010)
- Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
- Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
- Take Shelter (2011)
- Premium Rush (2012)
- The Iceman (2012)
- Mud (2013)
- Man of Steel (2013)
- They Came Together (2014)
- Young Ones (2014)
- Ninety Nine Homes (2014)
- The Night Before (2015)
- Elvis And Nixon (2016)
- Midnight Special (2016)
- Loving (2016)
- Nocturnal Animals (2016)
- The Current War (2017)
- The Shape of Water (2017)
- Pottersville (2017)
- 12 Strong (2018)
- Waco (2018)
- What They Had (2018)
- Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
- State Like Sleep (2018)
- The Little Drummer Girl (2018)
- Knives Out (2019)
This actor's works provides examples of:
- The Comically Serious: A master of playing comedic roles totally straight.
- 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 in an indie folk band called Corporal
- He also does a dead-on Iggy Pop impersonation.
- He once covered "Ghost Rider" with Yo La Tengo, and launched into a hammy, improvised monologue about Ghost Rider's childhood.
- His aforementioned comedic skills - Shannon is primarily considered a dramatic actor but people like Rian Johnson and Chris Evans have called him one of the funniest actors they've ever worked with.
- Kubrick Stare: A master of this trope.
- Large Ham: Some of Shannon's roles can go for this.
- 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 found the kangaroo rapping 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.
- Playing Gertrude: in 8 Mile, he plays the boyfriend of Eminem's character's mother while, in real life, being 21 years younger than his onscreen girlfriend (Kim Basinger) and 2 years younger than Eminem.
- Production Posse: Often works with director Jeff Nichols and actors Shea Whigham and Paul Sparks.
- 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.
- The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Poor Boy was filmed and screened in 2016, but wasn't given a release until 2018. The Current War premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017 but was caught in distribution limbo due to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and not released until 2019.
- Star-Making Role: His scene-stealing turn in Revolutionary Road.
- Two First Names: Although Shannon is typically a female given name.
- Typecasting: When he's in a movie, expect him to play a crazy, repressed or generally unstable person.