When we met Henry Cavill at WonderCon recently, the actor couldn't quite wrap his head around the idea, even months after being tapped for the job, that he'll be donning Superman's cape and becoming the Man of Steel for a new generation.
Michael Shannon, by contrast, was only officially announced as General Zod — the villainous alien who'll face off against Superman in Warner Bros.' "Man of Steel" — on Sunday.
Yet he too is having a hard time comprehending the fact that he's now a part of the franchise.
"This 'Superman' thing is ridiculous. It just came out of nowhere," Shannon said in his first public comments about the casting, delivered during an appearance at RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "I was talking to my agent ... she's like, 'How about 'Superman'? I'm like, 'What?' The idea that I would ever be in 'Superman'! I'm like, 'Are you serious?' "
It was true: Director Zack Snyder wanted Shannon, who nabbed an Oscar nod for "Revolutionary Road" but is perhaps best known for his turn on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," for the role of Zod (a part previously played by Terence Stamp in "Superman" and "Superman II"). So Shannon headed out to meet Snyder.
"[H]e's seriously sitting there and he's telling me, 'You can't read the script, so I'm just gonna tell you what happens.' And he spent a half hour telling me every scene in this movie," Shannon said, adding with a laugh, "he's at his home in Pasadena and I'm looking out — there's the Rose Bowl, there's little hummingbirds flying around. I'm like, 'I'm on acid!' "
Snyder eventually decided Shannon was the right guy for the part, but the director had to convince the higher-ups at WB. They ended up bringing him in to read with Cavill. "They said, 'You have to come back because we want to see if you and Superman have chemistry,' " Shannon explained.
A month after that first meeting, Shannon said, the part was his. And what does he think of Cavill as Superman? "I think this guy will be all right," Shannon said.
Check out everything we've got on "Superman: Man of Steel."