I decided that Take Shelter‘s Michael Shannon was a cool guy a little more than three years ago. The decision happened during a Manhattan q & a for Revolutionary Road with Glenn Kenny moderating and Shannon and costar Kate Winslet answering questions. I asked a mildly off-the-charts question, and I was impressed by how Shannon answered it.
Since Revolutionary Road happens in 1955, I asked why Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s characters were so depressed about their suburban lives when all they had to do was get on a train and go to Manhattan and catch all those great 1955 plays and films, and then hit the Copacabana for drinks. East of Eden, The Ladykillers, Richard III, Kiss Me Deadly, Pather Panchali, Rebel Without A Cause, Marty, Picnic, The Big Knife, Diabolique, The Rose Tattoo and Oklahoma! in blazing 70mm ToddAO at the Rivoli. Plus they could light a candle of some kind in Darien by joining a book-reading group or a local theatre company.
Winslet thought my question was horseshit, but Shannon got what I was on about and went on for a bit about East of Eden and the climate of 1955, etc.
It was then that I realized that Shannon was a man of exceptional smarts and vision. He should play brilliant scientists and scholars and the like, and not just weird schizo guys, which is all Hollywood seems to cast him as. (They’ve got him playing General Zod in Zak Snyder‘s Superman remake.)
Which is why I was irritated this morning when MTM.com’s Josh Horowitz sent me an “Adorable Things” interview with Shannon.
“Not funny, Josh,” I wrote. “It’s an interesting experiment in blank irony, dead air, dead space.
“‘Are you making fun of me?’ Shannon asks. Yeah, you are. You’re basically saying, ‘This is guy is dark and creepy and hostile under the skin, and we’re going to accentuate that — hah hah! — by pretending he’s the cutest little bunny imaginable!’ Shannon is cool enough enough to roll with the experiment, of course. But then he says ‘I don’t get golden retrievers’? My favorite dog in the world.
“You know I like/love a lot of your stuff, Josh, but not that this bit….sorry. And I’m saying this as a genuine fan of the guy for a long time, particularly his work in Take Shelter and Revolutionary Road. I hate it when movies casts unusual looking, non-soothing guys like Shannon as villains.”