Michael Shannon to Terrorize Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Once in a while, you have to wonder what actors are thinking. The premise for Premium Rush — a bike messenger picks up the wrong package and winds up getting chased through Manhattan by a crooked cop — sounds perfectly suited for an early September release date. In fact, you can probably imagine the poster: One of those floating head specials with a cast that includes a WWE wrestler, Megan Fox and Justin Long. Just the idea of this movie existing makes us yawn.

Which begs the question: How did such generic tripe — not to mention the most boring title ever; was Adrenaline Jolt unavailable? — wind up grabbing both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the recently cast Michael Shannon? For Levitt, considering he did G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, we wouldn’t put any movie past him. But fans of Revolutionary Road — there have to be some others of you out there! — and the various other indie gems he’s appeared in over the last five years, know that Shannon is an actor without peers. Like some modern day version of Christopher Walken, but without any of his later ticks, self-parody and laziness. And yet here’s Shannon, playing a character (the crooked cop, natch) who would have fit right into Walken’s ’80s/’90s career arc.

Of course that’s fine; this the definition of a paycheck role for Shannon. But doesn’t it just seem like he could have found a better paycheck? With John Malkovich getting old — and Walken even older — the eccentric-thespian-turned-studio-heavy slot is wide open for Shannon to squeeze into. Someone write him a Con Air and get it over with already.