Meeting with the unclassifiable actor Michael Shannon, honored with a Deauville Talent Award at the Deauville Festival. Known for Boardwalk Empire, he conquered the cinema with his performances for filmmaker Jeff Nichols. Back on his rich career.
It is the shirt open on a T-shirt, relaxed and the shifty eyes that Michael Shannon arrives in front of us. This Saturday evening he will receive a Deauville Talent Award rewarding his career. An honor from which he does not recover himself:
It’s pretty crazy, I still feel so young to receive an award. I still feel like a teenager, despite my 50 years approaching [il a fêté ses 47 ans en août dernier], I hope that will never change.
As a child, Shannon did not especially dream of being an actor: “I was talking to my 7 year old daughter who asked me a few days ago if I had always wanted to do this, because she herself did not know what she wanted to become. Well, I told her that I didn’t know either. At one time, I wanted to become an architect (…), but I’m glad I didn’t (…) “.
His revelation to the general public is a film and then a series that will offer it to him:
“Boardwalk Empire came out right after The Rebel Wedding, which was very important to me. Before that, I was working little, broke, financially supported by my wife. We went to San Diego where she was playing a play. auditioned for Les Noces and got the part, which changed everything. “
And when the HBO series Boardwalk Empire arrives, Shannon is in heaven: “Working with Scorsese was prestigious, and once you become a character in a series people print your face in a whole different way than in the movies. [cette série] that I am the most recognized or that I am told the most about. I love this character, I made a lot of friends, it was a blessing. “
At the mention of the sudden death of Michael K. Williams on Monday, who was one of the figures of the HBO show, Michael Shannon darkens:
[Michael K. Williams] was bright, a beautiful mind. He always seemed very happy to be there, he was never grumpy, never complained about anything. (…) He was always enthusiastic, curious, your day was always better when you had him near you. He gave off that energy.
Recovered from his emotion, he resumed the thread of our discussion. He has always defined acting as something “mysterious”, and explains what he means by that:
“It is (…). Everyone has their own vision of things: some think that acting is to be in the seduction of the public (…), others that we must on the contrary forget the public (…), still others that must be erased, and finally others that must be in the spotlight … For my part, I try to get closer to the erasure.”
But when you’ve played well-known stars like him (Elvis) or dreaded killers who really existed (The Iceman) and soon will be country singer George Jones (the George & Tammy miniseries), it becomes more difficult to disappear. : “after a while, the public no longer believes it and recognizes you”.
“I try to disappear, but it does not make much sense because obviously, we always see me, but I try to break down the barriers between the story and the audience, so that this story is as intense as possible for the audience. I don’t need to be the center of attention. Even though I always like to be patted on the shoulder and say: “well done to you, it was really very good”.
After already more than 100 films and serial episodes, Michael Shannon is one of the most prominent actors of his time, whether he is the headliner or a more secondary character. It turns a lot and yet to hear it, seems not always to know which project to choose:
“I don’t have a strategy. A lot of people send scripts and it’s a little too hard to watch them all knowing which one to accept. I struggle with that a lot, and I decide thanks to the director involved. me, in the cinema, there is a vision: that of …