BOXOFFICE caught up with Revolutionary Road's Michael Shannon to discuss his chilling performance.

Looking Past Kate & Leo

on December 24, 2008 by Marco Cerritos

You may not know who Michael Shannon is yet. Don't worry, that will soon change.

Over the last few weeks Shannon has been gaining critical acclaim for his chilling supporting turn in Revolutionary Road, a period drama in which his portrayal of a mental patient with a clear pulse on reality practically steals the movie. This is no small feat considering the fact that the film is directed by Sam Mendes and the two leads are Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. All of his scenes in Road are with the Titanic lovers and a lot of his questions from the press seem to gravitate to them as a result.

Shannon is new to the interview scene so he is very open about the realities of Hollywood and how he feels the work eventually speaks for itself. To him, it may not be ideal to constantly be asked about Kate and Leo being directed by Sam Mendes but he understands people’s curiosity to go behind the curtain and learn about the process.

“I tend to look at it in terms of I understand people’s curiosity. I would be curious too if the tables were turned and I was on the other side," Shannon told B OXOFFICE. "I wouldn’t want to ask the wrong question or upset anybody but I think the one question that we’ve all felt has been pretty well tread is the issue of Sam and Kate working together. They’re married, how is that on set? I understand the motivation for asking that question. I would want to know the answer if I was an outsider looking in but it’s just professionalism. This is what they do, they’re all great at it and Leo and Kate are such good friends. They’re not going to run off so that’s not something anybody needs to worry about.”

Shannon is also an accomplished theatre actor and he responds primarily to great writing. His work with Tracy Letts in the off-Broadway production of Bug led to his starring role in the film version opposite Ashley Judd. His preparation for smaller character work in Revolutionary Road, as well as this year's underrated indie Shotgun Stories, is similar to his theatre training, which has tought him to find the core of the character and make it work as much as possible.

“I’ve done movies on all different levels. I’ve done big Hollywood studio pictures where you’re just lucky to be there and it’s a spectacle to go to work everyday and then I’ve done smaller things like Shotgun Stories where that really is an act of me deciding that I want to do something knowing that it’s going to be incredibly difficult. The thing I gravitate towards most is talent, particularly writing. I have the same thing with my theatre career, any time I meet someone I feel can write something worth putting out into the world, I have huge respect for them and will go any lengths to a) be involved in what they’re doing and b) make what they’re doing as great as possible,” said Shannon.

Revolutionary Road opens in limited release on December 26.

CLICK HERE to listen to our entire interview with Michael Shannon.

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