If it seems like every other movie that comes out these days has something to do with the apocalypse, it’s at least certain that we aren’t the first generation to be obsessed with the topic, as actor Michael Shannon notes.

“It is a very idiosyncratic kink in the human psychology that we are obsessed with the idea of knowing when the world is going to end,” he observes. “And we have a hunch that we are going to be there when it happens. I can’t think of a generation that was like, ‘I think I’m going to be fine for the next 500 years. I really don’t foresee any difficulties.’”

We asked Shannon to muse on the topic because he is starring in the latest of this apocalyptic film genre, “Take Shelter,” about a family man who is haunted by visions of a coming doomsday — but questions if the dreams are the result of slipping into the schizophrenia that runs in his family.

The 37-year-old actor brings his usual intensity to the part, and while he’s relaxed and friendly in conversation, Shannon himself doesn’t seem to smile easily. If he’s cornered the market on disturbed characters — notably through his Oscar nominated performance in “Revolutionary Road” — he seems to know why.


“There are certain things that I have done that people remember more than others, and the ones that tend to make the most lasting impression are the more intense ones,” he says. “I have done silly parts and those things that make you laugh, but those don’t seem to make as much of an impact. People remember more severe stuff I guess.”

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