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Michael Shannon in Focus

Shaun Harrison
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1 of 10 HBO

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In a few short years, Michael Shannon has amassed a film and TV career made up of ethically and psychologically complicated men. Currently he stars on HBO's Boardwalk Empire as Nelson Van Alden, a creepily pious Prohibition agent tasked with stopping Atlantic City's rampant bootlegging operations
2 of 10 Andrew Cooper/Touchstone/Kobal Collection

Shannon had a small role in Pearl Harbor (2001), opposite Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin

3 of 10 Imagine Entertainment

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It must be daunting to play Eminem's nemesis, but that was nothing compared with having a sex scene with Kim Basinger, as Shannon did in 8 Mile (2002), in which he played her ne'er-do-well boyfriend
4 of 10 Warner Bros. Pictures

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Yes, that's Shannon in Kangaroo Jack (2003), playing the film's main villain, a thug named Frankie Lombardo who wants to kill Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson
5 of 10 Columbia Pictures

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Opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, Shannon played a real bad boy in Bad Boys II (2003), a white supremacist hilariously named Floyd Poteet
6 of 10 Lions Gate Entertainment

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Shannon reprised the role he played on stage opposite Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. in Tracy Letts' Bug (2006), as a mentally ill veteran who believes he's been infested with parasites
7 of 10 Paramount Pictures

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Shannon donned fatigues to play a Marine searching for 9/11 survivors in the rubble in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center (2006)
8 of 10 THINKFilm

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In Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), Shannon plays a grieving man who demands payment after Ethan Hawke's character gets his sister's husband killed
9 of 10 Dreamworks

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Shannon received a surprising best supporting actor nomination for Revolutionary Road (2008), in which he played the unhinged John Givings, who speaks for the audience when he tells Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) that their marriage is doomed
10 of 10 Sony Pictures

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In The Runaways (2010), Shannon played Kim Fowler, the snake-oil-salesman manager who would make a young Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) rock stars