Michael Shannon Q&A: "I’m not becoming part of the 'cloud'. It terrifies me."

Michael Shannon, star of Boardwalk Empire and The Iceman (out on DVD now) talks Russian ballet dancers, cutting-edge playwrights and Nineties’ animation.

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Michael Shannon, star of Boardwalk Empire and The Iceman talks Russian ballet dancers, cutting-edge playwrights and Nineties’ animation.

Film
My favourite film of all time is The King of Comedy. I just think it’s a complete masterpiece. I thought Amour was the best movie of last year. Nothing even close.
Nothing against Jennifer Lawrence, but Emmanuelle Riva should have won that frickin’ award [Best Actress Oscar]. Jennifer Lawrence ain’t going anywhere.

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Music
I’m not an iPod guy. An album’s like a novel. You wouldn’t just take five pages out of a bunch of novels and pull them out of a bag. I feel that way about albums.
My favourite artist of all is Thelonious Monk. I heard Monk’s Music for the first time when I was 16. The session has Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane on the sax, Art Blakey’s on the drums, and they play “Well, You Needn’t”.

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The first time I heard that, it was beyond words. I just knew then that Thelonious Monk was my favourite.

Books
Well, there’s Richard Yates, who wrote the novel Revolutionary Road, the film of which I was fortunate enough to be involved in. It led me to his short stories, which are incredible.
He’s got a collection called Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. I’d highly recommend that. And I’ve always loved biographies. I’ve recently read Just Kids, the Patti Smith memoir, which is fantastic.

Television
I don’t watch TV — I don’t even get reception on my TV. You can watch DVDs, but that’s it. However, there’s one show that I love unconditionally. It’s called Dr Katz, it’s an animated show on Comedy Central that’s been discontinued since the Nineties. Dr Katz is a psychologist and all of his clients are famous comedians. And the guy who plays Dr Katz is, himself, a famous comedian [Jonathan Katz]. The guy who does the son — the character’s name is Ben — the performer’s name is H Jon Benjamin, and he’s probably the funniest human being ever.

Sport
When I was a child, I despised sports. My stepfather was a jock, and he bugged the shit out of me. He did everything, football, track and field, baseball. And I hated it.

I grew up in a town where sport was everything — Lexington, Kentucky. And I turned my back on it. But then I moved to Chicago. And a fellow named Michael Jordan started playing for the Chicago Bulls.
And there’s nothing you could do — say you hated sports all you wanted, but when the Bulls were playing, it was a beautiful thing.

But my favourite sport to watch now is tennis. I love Federer. He’s like Baryshnikov.

Games
I love bridge. I used to really love all sorts of card games — but one by one I got bored of them. Bridge I never get bored of. I just don’t have anybody to play it with.

Internet
I am anti-social media. I stay away from Twitter, Facebook. People send me LinkedIn requests — I won’t do it. I’m not becoming part of the “cloud”. It terrifies me.

It’s like nobody has ever read a sci-fi novel. I’m trying to resist as long as it’s not mandatory. Maybe one day they’ll force us to go on Twitter. Until then, it’s not happening.

The Iceman is out today on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Home Entertainment