‘Nine Perfect Strangers’: See Some of Michael Shannon’s Lesser Known Roles

Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers features some familiar faces, some of them more recognizable than others. One such face is Michael Shannon, who plays the grieving dad Napoleon Marconi. While Shannon plays his character nerdy and annoying with catchphrases and dad jokes, there is something lovely about him. 

The character actor has had a long and illustrious career. He’s been in Man of Steel, Broadwalk Empire, Knives Out, 99 Homes, and numerous prestigious television shows. His first film was Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Let’s break down some of Shannon’s lesser-known but brilliant performances.

Actor Michael Shannon attends "The Current War" New York Premiere. he is now in 'Nine Perfect Strangers' on Hulu.
Michael Shannon | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

A decade before ‘Nine Perfect Strangers,’ Michael Shannon broke out in ‘Take Shelter’

When Take Shelter was released in 2011, Shannon had mostly played supporting roles. This included appearing in a supporting role opposite Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in 2008 Revolutionary Road. It wasn’t until his second collaboration with director Jeff Nichols that Hollywood started to notice Shannon. The actor has appeared in every single one of Nichols’ films, including Mud, Loving, and Midnight Special.

In Take Shelter, Shannon’s character is a family man who experiences apocalyptic dreams and visions. Shannon does a phenomenal job throughout the film, making audiences question whether his character is a prophet or paranoid schizophrenic. With effective visuals and subtle performances from Shannon and Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter is an underrated gem. 

In ‘What They Had’ Michael Shannon played a very different family man than he does in ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’

Shannon can play nerdy, troubled, and morally complicated exceedingly well. In Elizabeth Chomko’s surprisingly funny Alzheimer’s family drama What They Had, the actor gets to play a protective and cool older brother.

Seeing this other side to Shannon feels natural and somehow like you’d imagine he is in real life. 

With all the best lines in a truly remarkable cast, What They Had proves Shannon can play the everyman. 

Michael Shannon is the real monster in ‘The Shape of Water’

Most people will remember the human-on-sea monster action in Guillermo del Toro’s romantic fantasy. However, in order for the chemistry between human and beast to work, they need a villain to play against. 

Shannon excels at playing the military man obsessed with taking down Sally Hawkins’s Elsa and Doug Jones’s Amphibian creature. As he slowly descends into madness a rage, his portrayal is never cartoonish and instead channels some of the most iconic old Hollywood villains. 

Michael Shannon worked with ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ director on a stoner comedy

In interviews for Nine Perfect Strangers, Shannon told Collider that director Jonathan Levine got him interested in being in the Hulu miniseries. “I’d worked with Jonathan Levine before, on The Night Before, and I really enjoyed the experience of working with him,” he said.

The Night Before is one of Shannon’s few comedic roles and even fewer Christmas movies. Shannon played a pot-smoking drug dealer who seems to have all the answers. The character actor is hilariously unhinged and steals the movie away from Seth Rogan, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He also has one of the most surprising comedic endings of all time.

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