Michael Shannon‘s big movie this year is undoubtedly Man of Steel, in which he plays the Superman villain General Zod, but those who enjoy Shannon in his dark roles are also looking forward to his role as real-life serial hit man Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman. After filming a haunting test scene, Shannon was drawn to starring as Kulinski in order to delve into his sordid character.
Shannon’s test scene — which has been viewed over 150,000 times on YouTube — gave director Ariel Vromen a chance to see if Shannon would work in the role. He explains, “It was an opportunity for Ariel to get a little warm-up because he wanted to make this film for such a long time. I think it was good to get that practice run and see what it was like. And it was a lot of fun.”
Though Shannon has done all kinds of roles, he is probably best known for his darker ones. On why he succeeds with such monstrous characters, he suggests, “I guess any time I take a job, I’m not afraid to dig into something, no matter how ugly it may be. To me, that’s where the stories are—that ugly, dark, confused place. Those, unfortunately, for better or for worse, tend to be the most interesting stories. People are fascinated by them.”
Shannon believes the by delving deeper into a character, especially based on a real-life figure, an actor can feed people’s curiosity about that character. He says, “Any time that you look at a portrait, it’s just a deeper understanding of whatever it is that you’re looking at. The value of making this movie is to give you some idea of what Richard Kuklinski’s life might have been like. Here’s a fellow that people are intrigued by and want to know more about. Hopefully, we’re giving them that insight.”