Actor Michael Shannon was given a real treat as he prepared to play Elvis Presley in new movie Nixon & Elvis - an unheard interview The King recorded with his pal Jerry Schilling.
The Man of Steel star was trying to perfect Elvis' voice without sounding like a cheap impersonator when he met Schilling and asked for his advice, and he was thrilled when the expert offered him rare access to the rock great's private world.
"I just watched the films and That's The Way It Is, Elvis On Tour," Michael tells WENN about his initial research. "I watched press conferences, particularly one he did in Houston. And I found that enlightening.
"I also got a great gift from Jerry Schilling - a 45-minute interview that Elvis had recorded for Elvis On Tour which they didn't wind up using in the movie at all, so it's an interview not many people have heard. I listened to it constantly."
Continue reading: Michael Shannon Gifted Lost Elvis Interview
Michael Shannon enjoyed dressing up as Elvis Presley for his role in new film Elvis & Nixon.
Directed by Liza Johnson, and starring Kevin Spacey as President Richard Nixon, the movie is a satirical comedy which imagines what might have happened behind closed doors at The White House during a real-life 1970 meeting between the two men, and Shannon admits his costume helped him get into character.
"I loved my costume: the wig, the belts were incredible," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "Just showing up to work every day and transforming."
However, the 41-year-old admits he felt rather out of his depth on the first day of shooting when he realised he had to play such an iconic American figure.
Continue reading: Michael Shannon Loved Dressing Up As Elvis For Film
It may seem like a bizarre fantasy, but Elvis & Nixon is based on a true event in 1970, when Elvis Presley visited Richard Nixon in the White House.
Inspired by an iconic photograph of Nixon shaking Presley's hand and appointing him as an honorary federal drug-enforcement agent, the screenwriter spun the meeting into a full-on screwball comedy. Kevin Spacey plays Nixon in the film, and notes that "while this was such a famous meeting, it wasn't recorded. So in a way it allowed us, and certainly the screenwriter, to be able to imagine what a lot of this conversation was. First-hand witnesses were helpful in terms of snippets, but I think it was expanded. And that's sort of the fun of it, that we could imagine it."
Michael Shannon plays Presley in the movie, and Spacey says that both actors decided not to do impersonations on-screen. "These are two figures who, obviously, people know," Spacey says. "There's so much public stuff but not that much private stuff, so we tried to find an essence of each of these figures and then allow them to respond to each other genuinely. I think what was most interesting was the fact that these two people you wouldn't think would have anything in common actually, at the end of this meeting, had sort of an appreciation for each other."
Continue reading: Michael Shannon And Kevin Spacey Bond As Elvis & Nixon
Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael Shannon, after Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud. This one's an involving character-based sci-fi adventure made in the style of classic films like E.T. or Close Encounters. As the characters are thrown into an extraordinary situation, the story gradually reveals its fantastical secrets without resorting to the usual overblown blockbuster formula, which makes the movie remarkably resonant and genuinely thrilling.
Shannon plays Roy, a man who is on the run across Texas with his 8-year-old son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) and his childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton), who's now a state trooper. And the FBI is on their trail, investigating the religious cult they escaped from. Led by the defiant Calvin (Sam Shepard), the cult seems to have been centred around the unusual ability Alton has to gather information from government satellites. Which is why the FBI is so intent on tracking him down. Working with the FBI, NSA Agent Sevier (Adam Driver) is fascinated by Alton's abilities, and he begins to worry what might happen if the boy is captured. Meanwhile, Roy and Lucas have reunited with Alton's mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) and are continuing their journey across the American South. And time is clearly of the essence, since Alton is growing seriously ill.
Writer-director Nichols skilfully keeps the audience gripped by the central mystery, dropping in hints and revelations along the way that slowly build up to the final big picture. This forces the viewer into the same perspective as the characters, who don't have a clue what's going on but are gripped by the possibilities of what they're witnessing. This also makes it impossible to predict where the story might go next as it cycles through action, humour, emotion and exhilarating drama. Through all of this, the actors all offer beautiful textures in their characters, underplaying even the most intense scenes to make them feel strikingly realistic.
Continue reading: Midnight Special Review
Michael Shannon believes actors in the modern film industry are merely glorified models.
The Man of Steel star has little time for the idea that acting is an art form as he believes success in Hollywood today depends more on looks than talent.
In an interview with Britain's The Guardian newspaper, Michael also slammed The Oscars and criticised the way Hollywood stars are selected by fashion designers to promote their products.
"It's a visual medium. It's motion pictures," he said. "So basically you're just a model that talks. Look at any actor nowadays - they're just models. Going to the Oscars is like going to the prom. Everybody dressed up. It used to be that when you went to the Oscars, you'd pick up something nice from the mall. Now it's this big hoo-ha. It's off the f**king rails.
Continue reading: Michael Shannon: 'Actors Are Just Glorified Models'
Zoe Saldana has got a lot to live up to.
We love a good biopic about a musical legend and with a new movie about Nina Simone coming soon starring Zoe Saldana, let's reflect on some of the best incarnations of famous musicians. Of course, not all of them were thoroughly well-received by their subjects' family members or even the subjects themselves, but others are still mind-bogglingly accurate.
Not all of these movies were released theatrically, and some feature more than actor in a musical role, but these are a few of the most gripping musical biopics that have ever hit our screens:
O'Shea Jackson Jr. played his father Ice Cuba in Straight Outta Compton
Continue reading: 16 Times Actors Excelled As Onscreen Musical Legends
After 2013's beefy Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder goes even bigger and darker with this sequel, cross-pollenating Clark Kent's story with flashbacks to the origins of Bruce Wayne and his Dark Knight alter-ego. The problem is that the film is so big and loud that it can't help but feel bloated, especially since so much of what's on screen feels rather vacuous. But it looks amazing and is relentlessly gripping.
After a Bat-origin prologue, the story kicks off with the climactic battle from Man of Steel as seen from the perspective of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), watching his city being destroyed by Superman (Henry Cavill). This further fuels the rage that began when his parents were murdered. And that fire is stoked by the mischievous millionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Meanwhile, Superman/Clark is struggling with how the world is revering him as a god, which is straining his relationship with intrepid reporter Lois (Amy Adams). As these very different vigilante heros head toward a climactic confrontation, Luthor is up to something seriously nefarious. And the ensuing chaos brings another hero into the open, Wonder Woman Diana Prince (Gal Gadot).
While the various plot threads are fascinating, and Snyder maintains a snappy pace, the overall story centres on the fact that Affleck's prickly, bitter Bruce is easily manipulated into doing terrible things, which makes him rather unlikeable. And Cavill's fundamentally good Clark isn't much easier to identify with. Both are also oddly constrained by their costumes and bulked-up physicalities, which leave them unable to move properly. This allows the side characters to steal the show: Adams adds emotion and passion, Eisenberg provides the nutty nastiness, Irons is hilariously cynical as Bruce's butler Alfred, and Fishburne is all bluster as Lois' editor. But in the end, the film belongs to the gorgeous, clear-headed Gadot, instantly making her stand-alone movie the most anticipated superhero project on the horizon.
Continue reading: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Review
Just before he returns as Zod in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Michael Shannon is starring in Midnight Special
Midnight Special is the fifth movie he has made with filmmaker Jeff Nichols. Having appeared in all of Nichols' movies, Shannon feels like he's a brother. "We have a kind of rapport that just materialises out of thin air," Shannon says. "We can go a long time without seeing each other or talking to each other, and then we meet and it's like we just saw each other yesterday."
He credits this to their similar backgrounds. "We both come from the same region of the U.S.," Shannon adds. "And I think we have a lot of common interests and influences. We also both share an aesthetic in terms of storytelling. I've always appreciated Jeff's economy and directness in his writing. I've always found it challenging to work on."
Continue reading: Michael Shannon Was Moved By Midnight Special
Kirsten Dunst , Michael Shannon - The SXSW Film Conference and Festival (South by Southwest) - 'Midnight Special' - Premiere at Paramount Theater, SXSW - Austin, Texas, United States - Saturday 12th March 2016
Michael Shannon - 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards held at Santa Monica Beach - Arrivals at anta Monica Beach, Independent Spirit Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 27th February 2016
Every superhero has a dark side and being 100% human, Batman is in doubt over how genuine Superman actually is. After all, Superman is from a different planet and has incredibly natural powers; powers that could easily destroy our world.
As Lex Luther manipulates Batman and Superman into a deeper and deeper war, the duo find that they are pitted against a force that's much more of a present threat than either of the heroes. They are joined by a number of other heroes (including Wonder Woman and The Flash) on a quest to save earth from immediate danger.
Warner Bros. Pictures releases Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in cinemas 25 March 2016.
Who would've thought that Elvis and Richard Nixon would become allies? When Elvis sporadically showed up at The White House, it was completely unexpected. He was the biggest pop star in the world and there he was, at the gates of The White House unannounced.
Under the advice of one of his top aides, Nixon is a talked into meeting with The King Of Pop. Nixon needed a boost in popularity and for him to be seen as becoming friends with America's most loved star would be a perfect photo op for The President.
Elvis is accepted and taken into the building; him and his security sidekicks are searched and relieved of their firearms. Whilst speaking with Egil Krogh, Elvis is run through a few of the certain White House protocols that one must follow on meeting the president, protocols Elvis is quick to cast aside. The reason behind this meeting was kept entirely secret, but now we'll learn about Elvis' aspirations to take on a new mission unlike anything he's ever done before.
Continue: Elvis & Nixon Trailer
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