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Michael Shannon Speaks Out Against Indie Actors Working for Free

We're all lonely, but we shouldn't all be underpaid.

Michael Shannon has proven especially adept at balancing high-profile roles with low-key passion projects, with movies like “Man of Steel” and “Midnight Special” introducing his nonpareil screen presence to wider audiences than the likes of “99 Homes” and “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?” The latter category often comes with significantly smaller paydays, of course, and Shannon spoke out yesterday about actors taking pay cuts for appearing in prestige fare. “I’ve come to the point where I’m gonna start putting my foot down,” he said to Variety from the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

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Shannon is in the Czech Republic with Joshua Marston’s “Complete Unknown,” which he called “basically like a volunteer effort. That why you gotta take advantage of these film festivals. This is kind of your reward for making the movie. Stay in a nice old hotel.” (One can only hope that Shannon was well compensated for his underrated turn in last year’s “The Night Before,” a standard bro comedy enlivened by his F. Scott Fitzgerald–loving drug dealer Mr. Green.) “I think as a group actors need to stop enabling this behavior. There’s no reason it should be that way. If somebody’s got a good script and you want to put good actors in it then everybody should be taken care of.

READ MORE: Michael Shannon Is “Profoundly, Utterly Unconcerned” About The Outcome Of The Title Fight In ‘Batman v Superman’

“We’re not asking for millions and millions of dollars,” he added. “It’s gone too far in the other direction really. If it was just me I wouldn’t care. I probably would do it for free. But I have a family.” Shannon will next be seen in Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

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