Michael Shannon recently spoke to an audience at the RiverRun International Film Festival, and since he was just cast as General Zod in the now officially titled Zack Snyder Superman movie Man of Steel, talk of course turned to that. What sort of a rigorous casting procedure did Shannon go through to land such a big role in such a big movie, you might wonder? Shannon describes his meetings with Snyder; “So I go meet him and he’s seriously sitting there and he’s telling me, he’s like, ‘You can’t read the script, so I’m just going to tell you what happens.’ And he spent like a half hour telling me every scene in this movie. And then it’s a month later, it’s like ‘Okay, you’re General Zod.’” Whoa, that sounds easy. Maybe I should be an actor.
But wait, that seems to be an exaggeration. Shannon goes on to admit that the studio did have some reservations about his casting and he was told that, “You have to come back because they want to see if you and Superman have chemistry.” You see, chemistry tests seem to be a code word for saying you’re not enough of a star to be in this movie. But going to meet Superman, that sounds like it must be a big to-do. What sort of plans did the studio have in store for Shannon when he went to met with Henry Cavill? He describes the meeting as a screen test in a tiny office with a camera, no microphones, and an exceptionally loud air conditioner. He went on to say, “So we spent like fifteen minutes trying to turn the AC off and nobody could find it. And then they were like, ‘Well, it doesn’t turn off. It runs all the time.’” That’s life in La-La Land ladies and gentlemen, all glamour, all the time.
But despite the disappointing peek behind the curtain of blockbuster film production and its seemingly unorganized processes, there is a bit of a silver lining in this interview for fans who have high hopes for Man of Steel. The moderator tries to stump Shannon on his knowledge of the character, and he seems to have done his homework. And his eccentric mannerisms in this interview in no way are connected to what I would imagine Michael Shannon would be like from the handful of roles I’ve seen him play, so he must be as good of an actor as everyone says he is. Maybe the future is bright for Man of Steel even if the people in charge cast one of its biggest roles after two meetings and in a room where they didn’t even have adequate recording equipment. These guys are professionals after all; they must know what they’re doing. Check out the full video for yourself below.