Michael Shannon on Nine Perfect Strangers and David Leitch's Bullet Train - VRGyani News and Media


Monday, August 23, 2021

Michael Shannon on Nine Perfect Strangers and David Leitch's Bullet Train

Adapted by David E. Kelley and John Henry Butterworth from the book by best-selling author Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies), the Hulu original series Nine Perfect Strangers follows a group of folks who have left the stress of their lives behind to unwind, as they spend ten days at a health and wellness resort. As part of their retreat, Masha (Nicole Kidman) has promised them a path to mind and body healing, if they give themselves over to her mission, which has more in store for them than they ever could have bargained for. The series also stars Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg, Asher Keddie, Grace Van Patten, Tiffany Boone and Manny Jacinto.

During this virtual 1-on-1 interview with Collider, which you can both watch and read, Shannon talked about why he signed on to play Napoleon Marconi, the challenge of the character, the unique experience of shooting the waterfall scene, the potato sack race, and how he felt about the season’s ending. He also talked about what appealed to him about the upcoming action film Bullet Train, which is due out in 2022.

Collider: Thank you for talking to me about this. I’m having fun watching all of the shenanigans that everyone is getting up to.

MICHAEL SHANNON: Oh, yeah. Lots of shenanigans, for sure.

When the opportunity to play one of these nine perfect strangers came your way, hat got you most excited about and interested in this project?

SHANNON: First of all, I’d worked with Jonathan Levine before, on The Night Before, and I really enjoyed the experience of working with him. He called me himself and asked me if I would do it, and I said, “Well, let me look at some of the scripts.” When I started to see what it was about and what he was asking me to do, I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty intense. That’s a big responsibility because there are a lot of people that have actually gone through what the Marconis go through in the show,” which is the family that I’m a member of in the show. I thought it was very important to get it right, and I thought that I was up for the challenge.

RELATED: ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’: Your Cast and Character Guide to the Liane Moriarty TV Adaptation

This is a guy that goes into this with his family – his wife and daughter. What was it like to have that little family unit to go through this with, since you aren’t one of the strangers who’s there by themselves?

SHANNON: Yeah, I always said that was kind of interesting. It’s not really nine perfect strangers. Three of us are related. But it just goes to show, at the end of the day, that you can still be a stranger, even to someone in your own family, which I do feel like, at the beginning anyway, we are strangers to one another, and certainly strange to one another. I’m certainly strange to them. They can’t understand what I’m about, at all. So, I guess it does make sense.

How was the experience of doing the whole waterfall scene? What was it like to be over the waterfall and deciding whether or not to jump?

SHANNON: Wow, what a day that was. That was crazy. Obviously, they go out of their way to make sure that everything’s incredibly safe, using various wires and harnesses and whatnot. Nevertheless, standing on the edge of a waterfall is pretty trippy. We’d be out there for a few minutes and we’d be fine, and then all of a sudden, one of us would start getting a little vertigo and would be freaking out a little bit, and then we’d need a little break and come back from the edge. That’s one of the great things about what I do. I don’t think I’d have ever done that otherwise, if I didn’t have to do it in a scene. But I’ll never forget it, that’s for sure.

To contrast that the potato sack race looked like it was a lot of fun. What was it like to shoot that? How long did you have to shoot that for?

SHANNON: That was just half a day. We actually did something else that day too, so it wasn’t even the whole day, but it was a lot of fun. It is a lot of exercise. When you’re doing a potato sack race in real life, you don’t do it over and over and over and over again. There was a lot of coverage on that scene, so we had to do it more than once. We all got our exercise that day, that’s for sure.

If you’re going to get screwed around with by anyone, it seems like Nicole Kidman is a good choice to have do that to you. What did you most enjoy about exploring the dynamic between your characters and having someone like her, as a scene partner, especially since she really has a complex dynamic going with pretty much everybody on the show?

SHANNON: She does, and she pulls it off so beautifully. I remember thinking, “Those are such big shoes to fill,” for the person that’s offering wellness to all these different people with all these different problems. As much as people want to feel better or well or whatnot, they’re also predisposed to be very cynical and skeptical about it. It’s like, “What are you gonna tell me that I don’t know already? What secret do you have that’s gonna make me feel like a million bucks?” That’s a lot of pressure. Nicole just inherently possesses this ethereal, magical quality that. The first day she came on the set, just immediately her charisma took over and it was very easy to succumb to it and to be seduced by it.

You’ve also done Bullet Train, which is set to come out next year. How did you find the experience of working with David Leitch and having a director on an action film that comes from such a heavy stunt background? Does that change things at all?

SHANNON: I’ve done lots of stunt stuff over the years, so I’m familiar with that aspect of things. But David is a very smart person and he’s interested in character as much as anything else. The funnest parts of working on Bullet Train, for me, was the scene work. The fighting is gonna be phenomenal, don’t get me wrong, but I signed on because I really just enjoyed the script. I’m very, very curious to see it. I’m impatient to see it. I guess it’s not coming out until April, next year. It was a lot of fun.

Who do you play in that?

SHANNON: Who do I play in Bullet Train? I don’t know if I’m even allowed to say. I don’t wanna get in trouble.

I don’t want you to get in trouble. What was your reaction to learning the ending of Nine Perfect Strangers, and learning where the story and your character would end up? How did you feel about that?

SHANNON: I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was pretty satisfied with it, truth be told. It felt like a pretty dense and satisfying journey. It felt like it was mission accomplished.

That’s always a good feeling to have when you do a project.


Nine Perfect Strangers is available to stream at Hulu.

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