Photo: Dave Rentauskas
By Brian Hieggelke
The Untitled Michael Shannon Profile, Pre-Production Notes
When he gets the email from A Red Orchid Theatre’s publicist that Michael Shannon is available to do a cover story, the reporter has to move fast. Shannon’s back in Chicago for the theater company’s twentieth-anniversary production of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico,” and it starts July 4. The reporter has limited familiarity with his work, having somehow managed to never see him live in spite of his long career on local stages, knowing him only from his Academy Award-nominated role as the troubled John Givings, Jr. in “Revolutionary Road” and his recurring role in “Boardwalk Empire” as the creepy G-Man Nelson Van Alden. It’s gonna require a crash course.
To get his head around the subject, the reporter makes a list of adjectives that come to mind when he thinks of Michael Shannon: creepy, brooding, tall, gangly, face of a fallen Puritan, mysterious, Christopher Walken, disturbed, unhinged, dangerous. The reporter cautiously commits to the story.
And there’s this: “Michael Shannon Reads the Insane Delta Gamma Sorority Letter” on the website Funny or Die has been watched 3,805,601 times. Add sense of humor to the list.
The Untitled Michael Shannon Profile, Scene One: “The Power of Celebrity”
Thanks to his starring role as Superman’s foe, General Zod, in this summer’s superhero blockbuster, “Man of Steel,” Shannon now has action figures in his likeness. “When I was doing press for the movie, in every interview,” Shannon says, “someone would ask me, inevitably, ‘Are you prepared for it to all change, for your life to be completely different now?’ And I would kind of get a quizzical look on my face and say, ‘I suppose. I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to,’ but you know, you have enough people ask you that question and you think, maybe it really will, maybe it will be like Beatlemania or something. But it’s not.” Read the rest of this entry »