Here’s a good question: Has Michael Shannon ever played a normal guy? You know, just your average, every day, run-of-the-mill sort?
There’s just something about Shannon that makes Hollywood think "nut job," to the point that it was probably inevitable that he was cast as the villainous General Zod in "Man of Steel." It's hard to pick the nine craziest roles of a man known for almost always bringing the crazy, but if we had to choose ...
9. Bobby Monday, 'Premium Rush' (2012)
He's a cop with a severe gambling addiction, and he's chasing after Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a bicycle. Honestly, does it get much wackier than that? Well, when you're Michael Shannon it's hard to say, but that doesn't make his villainous turn in "Premium Rush" any less crazy. In fact, he's totally f***ing nuts in this as he tries to recover a high-stakes boat ticket from Levitt so that an evil loan shark will clear his gambling debt. Better pray your bike doesn't get a flat tire, JGL, because Michael Shannon's comin' to get ya. Hey, it's Zod vs. Robin!
8. Kim Fowley, 'The Runaways' (2010)
As Robert Pattinson will probably attest, there's no crazier act in Hollywood than to make a film with Kristen Stewart. In "The Runaways," Shannon portrays music producer Kim Fowley, who helps transform awkward teens Joan Jett (Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) into superstar leaders of their own band, the Runaways — and boy, is he one sleazy maniac. Shannon's Fowley is such an unlikable manager that he almost gets us to sympathize with Kristen Stewart ... almost.
7. Dex, 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead' (2007)
Ethan Hawke learns very early on that you don't wanna piss off Michael Shannon in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." When a botched robbery goes horribly wrong and Hawke's partner in crime is killed, Shannon comes to collect the dead man's share of the loot. What's that, Ethan Hawke? You don't have the money? Well, that's too bad, because Michael Shannon is coming to get you, and he don't take "No" for an answer.
6. Floyd Poteet, 'Bad Boys II" (2003)
He's got a small part in "Bad Boys II," but it's a nutty one: a backwater Ku Klux Klansman who's also part of an underground drug smuggling ring in Miami. Talk about someone in need of a serious ass whooping from Will Smith and Martin Lawrence ... provided the two can find enough time between wisecracks to actually whoop some ass, that is.
5. Richard Kuklinski, 'The Iceman' (2013)
Think you've seen Michael Shannon go as bonkers as he can possibly go? Well, obviously you haven't seen "The Iceman," where he's literally playing a homicidal maniac. We all knew it was coming, and here it is. As real life hit man Richard Kuklinski, Shannon has a hard time juggling his blood-soaked career with raising his family. You know, just like any husband and father would. "Sorry I missed your clarinet recital, sweetie. It was a rough day at the office."
4. John Givings, 'Revolutionary Road' (2008)
Shannon earned an Oscar nomination as Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's fresh-out-of-the-loony-bin neighbor in director Sam Mendes' adaptation of Richard Yates' novel. What makes him so wacko in this film, you might ask? For whatever reason, he thinks that Winslet and DiCaprio should abandon their comfy suburban lifestyle and pursue their dream of moving to Paris. Pretty nutty, right? Somebody, quick, get this guy a straight jacket.
3. Curtis, 'Take Shelter' (2011)
There's a storm a-brewin' in "Take Shelter" and Michael Shannon's the only one who can see it. Does that make him crazy, or just a really good weatherman? Well, when the rain is actually an oil-like substance, it could go either way. That's just one of many bizarre end-of-days visions that are really screwing up Shannon's home life with super-babe wife Jessica Chastain. Who knew a rainy day could cause so much trouble?
2. Brad Macallam, 'My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done' (2009)
Who better to direct Michael Shannon than the equally insane Werner Herzog? Whether it's Klaus Kinski, Nicolas Cage or Christian Bale, the German auteur likes to bring out the crazy in his leading men, and Shannon is no different: in this stranger-than-fiction true story, he plays a man on a spiritual quest who slays his mother (Grace Zabriskie) with a sword. When will people learn to stop leaving sharp objects around the guy?
1. Peter Evans, 'Bug' (2006)
It's hard to top the gig that first made everyone realize just how good Shannon was at playing cuckoo: William Friedkin's "Bug." As an unhinged war veteran who believes government agents have implanted microscopic bugs into his body, the actor is absolutely terrifying as he tears his skin apart, rips out his tooth and sets Ashley Judd on fire. One has to wonder if a simple pest control visit could've spared us all the mayhem — but honestly, where's the fun in that?