He’s an Academy Award nominee. He’s stolen scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (simultaneously). And he’s worked with the crème de la crème of film directors, including Werner Herzog (three times), Sydney Lumet, Martin Scorcese, Sam Mendes, Curtis Hanson, Cameron Crowe and beyond. So why don’t you know who Michael Shannon is? 

He’s a man’s man and an actor’s actor. Exuding confidence – and a touch of menace – Shannon has PRESENCE. But his commitment to craft means he’s perfectly willing –and capable – of upending that stature to play meek, desperate and unhinged characters. Which is the kinda guy he portrayed brilliantly last night in “Mistakes Were Made” at the Barrow Street Theater.

Despite a steady stream of meaty film roles and a lead in the new HBO television series “Boardwalk Empire,” Shannon’s self-described first-love will always be the stage. He cut his teeth with prestigious Chicago companies like Steppenwolf, The Next Lab and the Red Orchid Theatres before hitting Off-Broadway in London and New York, where we saw him last night.

 “Mistakes Were Made” is pretty much a one-man show. Starring as a B-list Off-Broadway producer trying to orchestrate a hit and redeem himself both professionally and personally, Shannon is riveting as the fumbling, fast-talking failure Felix Artifex. I mean, when The New Yorker calls it “an exquisite piece of writing, fully realized by a delightful performance” and says “the sight and sound of Michael Shannon is worth the price of admission,” you can trust us that this guy is good. 

 So keep your eye on Shannon. He’s not one of those schmaltzy Hollywood actors who’s gonna release a fragrance or do a little dance on Leno any time soon. He’s a man who lets his work speak for itself, and for that Michael Shannon, George salutes you.   


13 January 2011
Shirt Tales
The Journal Of Pugnacious George
Discoveries, Musings, Misadventures

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