“I got into this business because I’m a very restless person. It’s funny, a good friend of mine—somebody I had done a play with in the fall—said, “when I’m on stage with you, it seems like you’re trying to get free of something.” Maybe I’m kind of like a shark. I always want to be in motion.”
-Michael Shannon, episode 337 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Today, we’re joined by actor Michael Shannon! We begin by discussing his recent turn as notorious country singer George Jones in George & Tammy (6:16) and his longstanding creative partnership with co-star Jessica Chastain (8:57). Then, we dive into his childhood in Lexington, Kentucky (10:30), his early theater work in Chicago working with playwright Tracy Letts (20:20), moving out west under the guidance of his (then) manager Lee Daniels (26:10), and the aftermath of his role in Pearl Harbor (30:20).
On the back-half, Shannon reflects on the whirlwind year that was 2008 (36:45), the prescience of Take Shelter (41:05), his timely directorial debut, Eric LaRue (45:30), the legacy of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (51:14), and why he continues to lay it on the line, role after role (55:20).
- Watch Michael in George & Tammy on Showtime.
- See his recent work in The Flash in theaters and Waco: The Aftermath on Showtime.
- Find the films referenced in this talk, including Bug, Revolutionary Road, and Take Shelter.
- Learn about his directorial debut Eric LaRue, which premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.
- Watch his recent visit to the Criterion Closet.
- For more talks, hear our conversations with Oscar Isaac, Michelle Williams, Tessa Thompson, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, and Pedro Pascal.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.