We’ve heard a great deal about Henry Cavill playing Superman, but, until now, Michael Shannon has remained remarkably quiet about his turn as General Zod, the ‘baddie’ in Man of Steel, due for release next week.

Shannon is best known, recently at least, for his role in Boardwalk Empire. He plays the religious prohibition agent turn criminal on the lam, Nelson Van Alden, and has done so to critical acclaim. Like Van Alden, Shannon doesn’t consider Zod to be intrinsically bad, just a guy getting on with things. “I don't consider him a bad guy. He's a general just trying to do his job. Ask any general what their purpose in life is and it's to defend whatever people they happened to be aligned with. He's aligned with Krypton. It's his mission, plain and simple.” Shannon recently flipped out, perhaps ironically, at Adam Buxton at a recent Q&A event at an Apple store in London. "Richard Kuklinski is the first hitman I've ever played," he snapped when BBC 6Music DJ Adam Buxton asked him why all his character seem to ‘snap’. "All my characters are different. I've been asked that question a bazillion times and I've answered it a bazillion times."

Apart his seriously serious roles, Shannon has a penchant for comedy, as was displayed by his funnyordie video in which he recited a sorority email. “I've done comedy in the past,” he explained. “I've done a lot of improv in Chicago. I'd be totally game for doing a comedy if someone cares to give me one. I'd have to think it's funny. I can't say that there's a lot that I see nowadays that I think is terribly funny. I don't think it's one of the golden ages for comedy."

Michael Shannon
Shannon looking... silly

Henry Cavill
It's Shannon v Cavill in Man of Steel - check it out!