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Michael Shannon –


Shannon in TAKE SHELTER.

About Michael Shannon (1974 – )

Michael Shannon was born in Lexington, Kentucky to Donald Sutherlin Shannon, an accounting professor, and Geraldine Hine, a lawyer. He is the grandson of entomologist Raymond Corbett Shannon. His parents divorced and he spent his childhood shuttling between Lexington, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois. He attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

Shannon's first film role came as the lead in a music video for the Every Mother's Nightmare song "House of Pain", in which he played a troubled teenager. He later became a stage actor in Chicago. He helped found A Red Orchid Theatre, where he still regularly performs. He has since worked with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, and other acting companies. Shannon originated the role of Peter Evans in Bug in 1996, as well as starring in the 2006 film adaptation with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick, Jr., directed by William Friedkin.

Shannon made his film debut with a small role in Ivan Reitman's Groundhog Day in 1993 as a wedding groom. Later, he had roles in Jesus' Son, Pearl Harbor, 8 Mile and Vanilla Sky. He played the villain in Kangaroo Jack. After a role in Bad Boys II, he had a major role in Grand Theft Parsons as the hippie, Larry Oster-Berg. In 2006, he played the leader of a prison white supremacist group, Lynard, in Let's Go to Prison. Shannon has also appeared in several West End shows in London, including a production of Woyzeck directed by Sarah Kane. In 2008, Shannon was featured in the off-Broadway production of Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Little Flower of East Orange, presented by LAByrinth Theater Company and The Public Theater, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman that also featured Ellen Burstyn.

Shannon earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance in Revolutionary Road, opposite Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. He portrayed Doc Cross Williams in the film adaptation of Jonah Hex. Shannon appeared in the 2011 psychological thriller Take Shelter and received rave reviews for his performance, as well as a Saturn Award for Best Actor. In the 2010 HBO TV show Boardwalk Empire, Shannon played Federal Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden. In November 2010, he began starring in the one man play, Mistakes Were Made, at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City. He had previously performed the show in 2009 at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago.

Shannon played a corrupt cop in the film Premium Rush (2012), written and directed by David Koepp. In 2012, Shannon appeared on the Broadway Stage in "Grace" along with actors Paul Rudd and Ed Asner. In 2013, he starred as legendary mob hitman Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman, and again his performance won critical acclaim. Also that year, Shannon portrayed General Zod, Superman's main antagonist in Zack Snyder's film Man of Steel. As of the writing of this article Shannon is set to portray music legend Elvis Presley alongside Kevin Spacey as President Richard Nixon in the upcoming production of Elvis & Nixon. He will next be seen in the biographical drama Freeheld, directed by Peter Sollett and starring Academy Award winning actress Julianne Moore, Academy Award nominees Ellen Page, and Steve Carell.

Michael Shannon's notable movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1993 Groundhog Day Fred
1996 Chain Reaction Flower delivery man
1997 Chicago Cab Crackhead
1999 Jesus' Son Dundun
1999 The Ride Jimmy
2000 The Photographer Maurice
2000 Tigerland Randy Charles
2000 Cecil B. DeMented Petie
2001 Pearl Harbor Lt. Gooz Wood
2001 New Port South Stanton
2001 Vanilla Sky Aaron
2002 High Crimes Troy Abbott
2002 8 Mile Greg Buehl
2003 Kangaroo Jack Frankie Lombardo
2003 Bad Boys II Floyd Poteet
2003 Grand Theft Parsons Larry Oster-Berg
2004 Water Bobby Matherson
2004 Criminal Gene
2004 Dead Birds Clyde
2004 Zamboni Man Walt
2004 The Woodsman Rosen
2006 Bug Peter Evans
2006 World Trade Center Dave Karnes
2006 Let's Go to Prison Lynard
2006 Marvelous John
2007 Shotgun Stories Son Hayes
2007 Blackbird Murl
2007 Lucky You Ray Zumbro
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Dex
2008 Revolutionary Road John Givings
2009 The Missing Person John Rosow
2009 Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Mundt
2009 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? Brad McCullum
2010 The Runaways Kim Fowley
2010 Herbert White Herbert
2010 13 Henry
2010 Jonah Hex Dr. Cross Williams
2011 Take Shelter Curtis LaForche
2011 Return Mike
2011 The Broken Tower Emile
2011 Machine Gun Preacher Donnie
2012 Mud Uncle Galen
2012 Premium Rush Bobby Monday
2012 The Iceman Richard Kuklinski
2012 Happy Hour Just Mike
2013 Man of Steel General Zod
2013 The Harvest Richard
2014 Young Ones Ernest Holm
2014 They Came Together Spike
2014 She's Funny That Way Policeman Macy's
2014 99 Homes Rick Carver
2015 Freeheld Dane Wells
2015 The Night Before Mr. Green
2016 Frank & Lola Frank
2016 Midnight Special Roy
2016 Elvis & Nixon Elvis Presley
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice General Zod

Michael Shannon's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1992 Overexposed Young man
1992 Angel Street Patrick Mulligan
1998–1999 Early Edition Merle / Mr. Andrews
1999 Turks Man
2005 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Avery Shaw
2009 Delocated Mark
2010–2014 Boardwalk Empire Nelson Van Alden
Michael Shannon in "Young Ones" (2014).
Shannon in "The Missing Person" (2009).
As Kim Fowley in "The Runaways" (2010).
Shannon in "Premium Rush" (2012).
Michael Shannon as General Zod in "Man of Steel" (2013).
Shannon as Dr. Cross Williams in "Jonah Hex" (2010).
Michael Shannon in "Boardwalk Empire" (2010-2014).

Memorable Quotes

“(on his early acting days) I would work at Chicago store-front theaters that were little rooms with folding chairs. I did it for free and never really had the ambition to become a movie actor. I just loved acting and never had a desire to move to L.A. But, I was fortunate to tell some great stories and I wound up taking shows on the road to London and New York.”

“A lot of my friends are still in Chicago and they are as talented and as gifted as I am, maybe more so, but they are still there. And they can't make a living out of doing what they love, so I feel I owe it to them, out of respect, to take every opportunity I get and treat it very seriously. Low budget, big budget, it doesn't matter to me.”

“The world has always been fragile. Just ask the dinosaurs. But we are here to live, and to love, and I think it behooves us all to enjoy our lives while we can.”

“I guess if there's one thing that might surprise people about me, it's that I'm very obedient. I'm kind of like a dog. I look at acting as kind of a service industry. You're there to serve the writer and the director. I don't really look at it as an act of self-expression, like I'm going to say what's on my mind. Because you're not saying what's on your mind, you're saying what somebody else wrote, and you're doing it the way someone else tells you to do it.”

“When you become a father, it's hard not to feel like you are out of your league. A father is a position of great responsibility, and a child is such a vulnerable little thing, little person, and you feel this nerve forming inside you, and the thought of anything ever happening to the child is more than you could possibly bear.”

“I guess there's just a reluctance on my part to think that I ever cracked the code or something. I'm sure when you start feeling that way, that's when it all starts crashing down. Humility in this business isn't just a matter of being polite, it's kind of a matter of survival. You can't ever afford to think that you're the bee's knees, because you could always afford to be better.”

“You can't escape this feeling of disintegration. The world is fragile. But you also can't let it ruin your life. I'm actually a pretty composed person. I guess people imagine I spend my life thinking about crazy, sinister things but I don't, really. It's not like I'm trying to exorcise any demons.”

Did You Know

Michael Shannon is the first non-British actor to play Superman's enemy General Zod.

Shannon is the partner of actress Kate Arrington and the father of their daughters, Sylvia and Marion.