Watch: Michael Shannon and Rebecca Hall Discuss Their Challenging Latest Roles


Yesterday at Sundance, Michael Shannon and Rebecca Hall participated in a “TimesTalks” at Café Cinema, speaking with Carpetbagger writer Cara Buckley about everything from Shannon meeting Bill Murray early in his career to playing dark characters to the types of dark characters they’re playing specifically in Sundance films.

Since Murraydom usually takes precedence over all else, perhaps it’s best to get that part of the conversation out in the open first: Michael Shannon — who it must be said has some deadpan, Bill Murray-esque qualities and a similarly enthused (albeit more niche) fanbase that’s particularly fond of his similarly understated delivery — explains that he tried to approach Bill Murray on one of his first acting gigs — which happened to be on Groundhog Day. (It turns out, this is a story he’s asked to tell seemingly quite a bit.) He tried to bond with Murray over a mutual love of the Talking Heads, but it didn’t work out too well:

Shannon also discusses his upcoming role as Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon, which is about the odd real-life meeting between the President and the iconic musician. “There was a period of time where only Elvis and Nixon were in the Oval Office, so nobody actually knows what happened,” says Shannon:

Shannon and Hall both attended Sundance in support of different films — though they’ll be starring together in the upcoming drama, State Like Sleep. Shannon leads in the love/revenge story Frank and Lola and Complete Unknown with Rachel Weisz, and Hall’s Sundance film is Christine, in which she plays Christine Chubbuck, the news reporter who committed suicide on live television in the 70s; Variety called the film “a thrumming, heartsore, sometimes viciously funny character study.” Watch Rebecca Hall discuss the film: