'Man Of Steel' Star Michael Shannon Plans To 'Reinvent' Zod

'There's nothing holding me back,' actor says of his version of Superman's nemesis.

"Man of Steel" star [movieperson id="483718"]Michael Shannon[/movieperson] has moved from absurdity to anxiety.

When the Oscar-nominated actor was cast as General Zod back in April, he confessed he found the entire thing "ridiculous." Now that he's on set and in character, Shannon has moved on but is not exactly feeling comfortable yet.

"I'm nervous," he told MTV News while promoting his upcoming drama, "Take Shelter." "I'm still getting my foot into the pool. I just started working on it."

The work he's focusing on is taking a villain familiar from Christopher Reeve's first two "Superman" films and reimagining him for a new millennium (and, in Henry Cavill, a new Man of Steel).

"I'm not going to impersonate Terence Stamp. I'm not going to have a British accent or anything," he said, referring to the esteemed actor who played the Kryptonian baddie in the original films. "All I can say is it's very well written and there's a lot of great opportunities to reinvent it for myself. The challenge is for me to do that. There's nothing holding me back. I think they're counting on me to give my interpretation. I'll do the best I can."

Early on, as photos from the "Man of Steel" set hit the Web, the clearest indication of a big-screen reinvention is Zod's costume. Like Cavill's Superman (who has seemingly ditched those familiar red undies), Shannon's take on the character appears to be diverging from the past, this time with the help of a motion-capture suit. When we asked Shannon about the suit, though, he put on every actor's stop-asking-me-questions-I-can't-answer best defense: jokes.

"Those are actually my street clothes," he said. "I don't know why they're taking those pictures. I wear those clothes to work in the morning. Once I'm in costume, I have a cloak of invisibility that I wear between takes."

Shannon took the same tactic when asked if he'd share any scenes with Russell Crowe, who's set to play Superman's biological father. "Russell Crowe's in the movie?" he asked with faux innocence. "Me and Russell, we have a scene where we have tea and talk about the old times. 'Remember when the people of Krypton used to ... ?' That kind of scene.

"Technically, I'm not supposed to say anything about 'Superman,' " he added. "I think when I get back to work they're going to have to give me the [mimes putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger] to keep me from blabbing about it."

But it wasn't all jokes. In addition to announcing his intention to reinvent Zod, Shannon let us know what he finds to be the most interesting aspect of the character: "Being a general," he said. "To me, that's a fascinating, iconoclastic character. I can't imagine being a sergeant, let alone a general. He's in charge of the entire military of Krypton. That's going to take every little shred of imagination that I have. It's a good challenge because it's a big distance to have to go."

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