American actor Michael Shannon is known for his intense performances in independent films and stage dramas. He grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and began his professional stage career in Chicago. His first acting role was in "Winterset" at the Illinois Theatre Center. Over the next several years he continued working on the stage with such companies as Steppenwolf, The Next Lab and the Red Orchid Theatre. He subsequently relocated to London for a year, and performed on stage in London's West End in such productions as "Woyzeck", "Killer Joe" and "Bug"
Shannon's film and television career ran concurrent with his work on the Chicago and New York stages. After making his small screen debut in a pair of 1992 television movies, he broke into features with a brief appearance as a groom in Harold Ramis' 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day." His theater work consumed much of his time for the next three years, but by 1996, he was landing small but important parts in independent and Hollywood features. Most of these played to his intense, brooding energy; he was a drug addict in the indie comedy-drama "Hellcab" (1998), a gun-toting psychopath in "Jesus' Son" (1999), and a Vietnam-era sergeant in "Tigerland" (1999). Occasionally, Shannon directed that energy into offbeat comic turns, like his Fassbinder-worshipping guerilla filmmaker in John Waters' "Cecil B. Demented" (2000) or the laconic airman Lt. Gooz Wood in Michael Bay's epic, "Pearl Harbor" (2001).
Gaining a Hollywood reputation as a go-to evil character (Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire), Michael Shannon goes the full villain as General Zod in the new Superman reboot, "Man of Steel" (2013).
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