Michael Shannon has honored his late co-star, Sam Shepard, by recording the audiobook to Shepard’s final work of fiction. On December 5, Knopf Doubleday will release “Spy of the First Person,” the story of a nearly-immobilized man who looks back on his life while undergoing medical testing.
Shepard died of ALS complications in July at age 73, leaving behind a legacy that includes more than 60 film roles and 55 penned plays. “Buried Child” won him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979; five years later, Shepard earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for “The Right Stuff.”
Shannon, himself a two-time Oscar nominee in that category, appeared with Shepard in films such as “Mud” and “Midnight Special.” In addition, the “Shape of Water” actor performed as several Shepard-created characters onstage. This year alone, Shannon participated in a June reading of “Curse of the Starving Class” at Brooklyn’s Hang a Tale theater company, then, this fall, acted in a five-week run of “Simpatico” at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey. That show was presented by Chicago-based A Red Orchid Theatre, which Shannon co-founded when he was 19.
“Spy of the First Person” is Shepard’s second Knopf Doubleday book of 2017; in February, he published a novel — his first — called “The One Inside.” Shepard’s final on-camera role came in October’s “Never Here,” the first feature film from director Camille Thoman. You can listen to a new clip from the audiobook below, as well as over at Entertainment Weekly, which has its own exclusive listen).