By Christopher Bell | The Playlist February 8, 2012 at 9:58AM
It's a statement that's thrown around a lot, but there aren't many better working actors today than Michael Shannon. He's consistently proven to be a mesmerizing fixture in any film he's a part of, whether in a lead role ("Take Shelter") or just playing support to bigger names ("Revolutionary Road").
Soon enough we'll see the actor's third pairing with "Take Shelter" director Jeff Nichols in "Mud," a story about two teenage boys helping a convict reunite with the love of his life. Featuring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Tye Sheridan ("The Tree of Life") among some others, Shannon's appearance is much smaller than those in his pervious work with the filmmaker, but he was still able to give us a scoop on the tone of the film in a recent interview. "It's kind of like a fairy-tale. It’s a lot more whimsical than Jeff’s first two movies, although he didn’t want it to be ‘cute,’ that's something he was actively avoiding. It’s still got the Nichols earnestness that his fans love," he explained. Shannon also noted that while he didn't get to act with McConaughey, Nichols was "over the moon" about his performance. Yep, our already high expectations just rose considerably.
The "Bug" actor almost didn't make the "Mud" shoot, though, because of his strict commitments as General Zod in the new Superman flick "Man of Steel." Shannon admitted to having a blast on set, and talked highly of both Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill. "Henry is a fantastic Superman, he’s got a little edge to him and he’s smart, clever and I had fun working with him," Shannon stated, but his greatest compliments were for his director. "I think Zack is the master stylist, visually, I mean he’s up there with Scorsese in my book in terms of visual composition, orchestration, etc." Certainly not a bad filmmaker to be compared to. He also confirmed that "the whole thing is edgy in a way like when Nolan took over the Batman franchise," something that was expected when originally announced but has been somewhat doubtful in some camps, no thanks to the tragic "Sucker Punch."
Aside from another season of "Boardwalk Empire" on the horizon, and the apparition of "As I Lay Dying," the William Faulkner adaptation helmed by good ol' prolific James Franco, Shannon's plate is looking relatively empty. Unfortunately it doesn't look like "As I Lay Dying" be happening any time soon, but the actor remains confident that it will happen so long as they actually have time to do it. "James is so busy, it’s hard to tell. He’ll say ‘Let’s do it in this month, and then say, oh wait, I’m doing fifty other things that month.’ I don’t know how he functions, but he seems to be enjoying it. I mean there’s no rush, it’s not like it’ll disappear or anything," Shannon said.
Michael Shannon can be seen in "Return," hitting theaters this Friday in New York and L.A., before arriving on VOD at the end of the month. You can read our review here.