Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Michael Shannon Finds Stardom in Lost Souls

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Michael Shannon Finds Stardom in Lost Souls

Article excerpt

MINNEAPOLIS --

Michael Shannon has quietly become one of the most interesting and original actors of his era. Climbing a ladder of indie gems, he's established himself as the natural heir to Christopher Walken, but with a jolt of broad-shouldered menace. He can take your head off in roles as diverse as Ashley Judd's deranged lover in "Bug" or glam-rock enfant terrible Kim Fowley in "The Runaways."

The trade paper the Hollywood Reporter says there is "possibly no more mesmerizing American actor." Now, 20 years into his career, he's about to go nova thanks to a trifecta of spine-chilling roles.

* He stars as Golem-like mafia killer Richard Kuklinski in "The Iceman," which you can see tonight at the Galleria 6 in Mt. Lebanon.

* He's about to appear as snarling General Zod in "Man of Steel." That movie will be everywhere this weekend.

* And he's all over the Internet with his hilarious interpretation of a sorority girl's e-mail rant.

In a recent phone conversation Mr. Shannon said the key to playing lost souls is uncovering their humanity. "That's my job," he said. "Their spirits are kind of under rocks. It's my job to try and illuminate them. Lift the rock off and show what's underneath, you know? A lot of the world doesn't see that humanity." Watching the interviews Kuklinski did for two HBO true-crime specials on his horrific career, "I saw a man who's suffered a great deal and is in a lot of pain."

Kuklinski and his brother were physically abused by their father; another brother died after what the parents called an accidental fall. In response, Mr. Shannon said, "He learned he had to defend himself. And he took it to an exorbitant degree and became the aggressor." As a mob killer, he was implicated in more than 100 murders, getting up to $50,000 each. Yet his family and suburban neighbors never suspected Kuklinski was anything other than the successful businessman he claimed to be. …

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