Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon will play General Zod in director Zack Snyder's Superman movie, now officially titled Man of Steel. He joins a cast that so far includes Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent.
“Zod is not only one of Superman’s most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don’t," Snyder said in a statement. "Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”
Shannon, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 2008 drama Revolutionary Road, emerged last month as a contender to play the main villain in Man of Steel. Earlier reports pegged Viggo Mortensen and Edgar Ramirez as candidates for the part, long rumored to be Zod.
Made famous in 1978's Superman and 1980's Superman II by Terence Stamp, Zod first appeared in April 1961, in the pages of Adventure Comics #283, where he was the megalomaniacal leader of Krypton’s military forces who attempted to take over the planet using an army of robot duplicates of himself. He was exiled to the Phantom Zone until he was released at the end of his sentence by Superboy. After attempting to conquer Earth, he was returned to the Phantom Zone, from which he escaped from time to time.
Somewhat different versions of Zod have appeared over the years in DC Comics continuity, most recently in the “Superman: Last Son” storyline by Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner, where he escaped from the Phantom Zone with Ursa and Non to conquer Earth and transform it into a new Krypton. He played central roles in the subsequent “New Krypton” storyline, World of New Krypton miniseries and “War of the Supermen” event, after which he was returned to the Phantom Zone.
Shannon, 35, co-stars as the intense and occasionally brutal federal Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden in HBO's critically acclaimed Boardwalk Empire.
Superman: Man of Steel is written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan. Charles Rovan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder also are producing. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are executive producers. Filming is expected to begin this summer for a December 2012 release.
Here's the official press release:
MICHAEL SHANNON TO STAR AS GENERAL ZOD IN “MAN OF STEEL” FROM WARNER BROS. PICTURES AND LEGENDARY PICTURES
BURBANK, CA, April 10, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Michael Shannon will star in the role of General Zod in director Zack Snyder’s new Superman film, titled “Man of Steel.”
Snyder stated, “Zod is not only one of Superman’s most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don’t. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”
As General Zod, Shannon will go toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill, who plays the new Clark Kent/Superman in the film. The main cast also includes Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent.
Michael Shannon was honored with an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Shannon was most recently seen in the award-winning HBO drama series “Boardwalk Empire,” from executive producer Martin Scorsese. He will next be seen in Sony Pictures Classics’, “Take Shelter,” from director/writer Jeff Nichols.
Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.
“Man of Steel” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.