Michael Corbett Shannon is an American actor and musician who rose to fame with his performance of the role of Greg in the 2002 film 8 Mile. The actor`s notable performances were seen in movies like Revolutionary Road (2008),
Bug (2006), The Iceman (2012), Man of Steel (2013), 99 Homes (2014), and Nocturnal Animals
(2016), some of which earned him nominations for the Best Supporting Actor. Shannon often worked with director Jeff Nichols
for his movies, few of which are Take Shelter (2011), Midnight Special
and Loving in 2016. He has also gained popularity for his role as Nelson Van Alden, a former Prohibition Agent, in the HBO period drama series Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014).
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Shannon is the grandson of entomologist Raymond Corbett Shannon. Donald Sutherlin Shannon, his father, was an accounting professor at DePaul University, and Geraldine Hine, his mother, is a lawyer. The actor was raised by his divorced parents in both Kentucky and Chicago. He attended the New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.
Shannon has been in a relationship with actress Kate Arrington since 2002 and the couple have two daughters - Sylvia and Marion. The two live together in the neighborhood of Red Hook located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
Michael Shannon started out as a theatre actor in 1991 and has been active in theatre performances, even after he established a successful movie career. He first performed a play titled Loving Little Egypt with the Griffin Theatre Company in 1991. In the next year, he won Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his play Fun/Nobody. Along with this, he found A Red Orchid Theatre where he performs frequently. The actor has been associated with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Soho Repertory Theatre, American Airlines Theatre and more. In November 2010, he began starring in the one man play Mistakes Were Made at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City and had back-to-back performances. This got him nominated at the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama League Award Distinguished Performance and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play. His most popular plays include The Pillowman, Our Town, Pilgrim`s Progress, Long Day`s Journey into Night, and recurring appearances in Killer Joe and Bug.
Michael Shannon embarked into Hollywood in the year 1993 with director Harold Ramis
` film Groundhog Day in the role of Fred. He was seen in small roles in movies like Chain Reaction as a flower delivery man, Chicago Cab, and Jesus` Son. After appearances in a few more movies, the actor fetched a supporting role in the 2001 high-grossing epic historical war film Pearl Harbor as First Lieutenant Gooz Wood. He followed this with Tom Cruise
- Penelope Cruz
starrer Vanilla Sky in the same year in the role of Aaron, and Curtis Hanson`s drama 8 Mile as Greg. The actor then moved to playing a villain in Kangaroo Jack, followed by buddy cop action film Bad Boys II
as Floyd Poteet. After five releases in 2004, the actor was seen in the 2006 movie Bug, the film adaptation of the play of the same name, in the role of a drifter Peter Evans. His other release in the year was Let`s Go to Prison as Lynard, the leader of a prison white supremacist group. He worked on a handful of movies in the next year too like Shotgun Stories as Son Hayes opposite Douglas Ligon and Barlow Jacobs, in Patrik-Ian Polk`s Blackbird, and in Lucky You as Ray directed by Curtis Hanson
. He also won the Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast for his role as Dex in the film Before the Devil Knows You`re Dead.
Shannon`s much appreciated performance came with his 2008 release Revolutionary Road, in which he essayed the role of John Givings, Jr., co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio
, Kate Winslet
and Kathy Bates
in the lead roles. Even though in a supporting role, the film saw the actor give one of his best performances, which won him the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award, and Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast, along with nominations at Chicago Film Critics Association and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Shannon then collaborated with director Werner Herzog
for two releases in 2009 including Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans as Mundt and, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? as Brad McCullum.
Take Shelter in 2011 was another film in which the actor gave an award-winning performance. He played the protagonist Curtis LaForche in this Jeff Nichols
direction. The movie revolves around Curtis, a construction manager, who lives in Ohio happily with his family but things take a turn when he starts to get nightmares which eventually turn into hallucinations. For his performance, he won San Diego Film Critics Society Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Toronto Film Critics Association Award and Saturn Award for Best Actor, along with nominations for Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, Detroit Film Critics Society Award, and Satellite Award for Best Actor. He followed this up with more releases in the year like James Franco`s drama The Broken Tower, Marc Forster`s action Machine Gun Preacher and Liza Johnson`s drama Return. In his next film Premium Rush (2012), written and directed by David Koepp
, he featured in the role of a corrupt cop Bobby Monday. In his other release in 2012 The Iceman, he played the protagonist hitman Richard Kuklinski, with the biography crime thriller film based on the true story of longtime notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski. His flawless portrayal of the character got him critical acclaim and audience appreciation. The actor followed this up with another pivotal role in Zack Snyder
`s Man of Steel as the main antagonist General Zod, a Kryptonian general and megalomaniac with the same superpowers as Superman.
After playing cameo appearances in the 2014 films They Came Together and She`s Funny That Way, he played a significant supporting role in the 2015 release 99 Homes, which proved to be another benchmark in his film career. Directed by Ramin Bahrani
, the movie revolves around a construction worker who unwillingly accepts a job with a ruthless real-estate broker Rick Carver, played by Shannon. His supporting role won him Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actor, San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actor in 2015, and got him nominated for Golden Globe Award, Critics` Choice Award and Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also featured in the biographical drama film Freeheld alongside Julianne Moore
, Ellen Page
, and Steve Carell
Shannon`s 2016 releases include drama mystery thriller Complete Unknown, noir love story Frank & Lola, American-Greek science fiction Midnight Special
, and the drama Wolves. He has also worked on Jeff Nichols
` historical drama Loving as Grey Villet, and Werner Herzog`s
thriller Salt and Fire
as the villainous CEO Matt Riley. He was seen in a cameo appearance as General Zod in Zack Snyder
`s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
. Another impressive role played by Shannon was when he featured as music icon Elvis Presley in Liza Johnson
`s 2016 comedy-drama Elvis & Nixon, in which Kevin Spacey
played President Richard Nixon. He is also the executive producer of the film. The 2016 neo-noir psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals
, directed by Tom Ford
, starred the actor as Detective Bobby Andes. His 2019 releases include The Current War
and Knives Out
. His other notable works include The Quarry (2020), Echo Boomers (2020), Heart of Champions (2021), Abandoned (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Amsterdam (2022), A Little White Lie (2022), The Flash
(2023) and The End (2024).
Along with a successful movie career, the actor has made his presence felt in the television industry too. Before stepping into the film industry, Shannon tried his luck in television by featuring as a young man in the television film Overexposed in 1992. He worked on another television film Angel Street in the same year. In 1998-1999 he appeared as a guest star in two episodes in the television series Early Edition. After this, he starred in one episode of Turks in 1999, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2005, and Delocated in 2009. He featured the longest in the HBO period crime drama television series Boardwalk Empire from 2010 to 2014 in the role of Nelson Van Alden, a former Prohibition Agent. This role gained him most popularity among television audiences, establishing him as a successful television star. This won him Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
In 2002, Shannon ventured into music too when he formed the indie rock band Corporal, along with Ray Rizzo and Rob Beitzel, where Shannon sings and writes lyrics. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2010.