Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Michael Shannon and Me

I am still grateful to Whoopi Goldberg for giving me a job.  Shortly before she launched into daytime TV stardom as a regular on ABC's THE VIEW, Whoopi had an early morning weekday national radio show.  She did it in New York City and her program debuted in 2006.  For the two years of its run, I was the weekly film reviewer and entertainment correspondent.  Whoopi wanted someone who could review new movies and also talk about classic films.  She contacted me and I got the job.  In the late 1980s, Whoopi had been a guest on my VH1 celebrity talk show.  One of the movies I reviewed on Whoopi's radio show was Oliver Stone's 2006 film called WORLD TRADE CENTER. Based on the September 11th attacks in New York City, the disaster drama starred Nicolas Cage.  At the end, I stayed through the credits to catch the names of two actors who knocked me out with their performances in bit parts.  The actress didn't even have a character name.  She was "Mother In Hospital" in the credits.  The actor in a bit part as a Marine was...Michael Shannon.
The "Mother In Hospital" actress was...Viola Davis.  That was 2006.  Come 2008, he and Viola were both in films that year that would put them on the Oscars red carpet.  He was a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.  Viola Davis was a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for DOUBT.  Shannon needs to start checking out tuxedos.
He and Viola Davis are Oscar nominees again.  She's up for FENCES. Viola Davis is now the most Oscar-nominated African American actress in Hollywood history.  Shannon is in the Best Supporting Actor Oscar category for the psychological thriller, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS.
One of Shannon's other film releases last year was the sci-fi thriller, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL.  Check it out on HBO.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL was written and directed by Jeff Nichols.  He also wrote and directed LOVING.  Shannon had a role in LOVING last year too.

What MIDNIGHT SPECIAL lacked in production budget for sci-fi special effects, it made up for in emotional depth and feeling.  A tight and loving family unit, which had an unusual element of goodness in its circle, is on of the run from outside forces because of that unusual element of goodness.  LOVING, based on a true story, is about the white man and black woman who fall in love, get married and were imprisoned in the 1950s because interracial marriage was against the law in several American states.  Their love is a threat to some folks in society.  They took their case to the Supreme Court  In MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, Shannon plays the devoted father of a sweet little boy with a supernatural gift.  They're on the run from government forces and a religious cult.

I talked to always interesting and most cool Michael Shannon about MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, being on the Oscars red carpet and about his boyhood.


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