Michael Shannon General Zod.jpg

What? General Zod isn't a villain in Man of Steel?

Contributed by
Mar 14, 2013, 8:23 PM EDT (Updated)

Michael Shannon, who plays General Zod in the upcoming Man of Steel, has a take on his character that you may find surprising.

Interviewed for Total Film's new cover story on the Zack Snyder-directed Superman reboot that's due out in June, Shannon said about Kal-El's Kryptonian nemesis, "He's not a villain. He's not a villain any more than any other general fighting to protect his people. He doesn't like to just hurt people and steal diamonds; he's focused on being successful at his job." 

That may come as startling news to fans used to Zod's portrayal by Terence Stamp in the original 1978 Superman and its sequel, 1981's Superman II. But Shannon added that he did not look to Stamp for inspiration: "I think the way Terence Stamp approached it -- and this isn't any kind if criticism of his performance -- there was something kind of detached about it. Pure, hatred, rage, whatever ... I think this [characterization] is more ambiguous." 

(One thought here: If Zod is "fighting to protect his people," does that mean there are more refugees from Krypton in this movie than just him and Faora?) 

We've actually seen next to nothing of Shannon's Zod so far, except for a brief glimpse in the Man of Steel trailer and a few unofficial set photos which showed the actor wearing a motion-capture suit. Shannon said that motion capture was necessary to create his wardrobe because "the real thing would probably crush me." 

There are several more nuggets of info in the Total Film interview, including star Henry Cavill's thoughts on playing Superman and his own costume, so it might be worth finding the magazine on the newsstand. Meanwhile, what do you make of Shannon's views on Zod? Is he really not going to be the bad guy we all know and love, or is Shannon just taking the approach that the villain never really thinks he's one?

(via Comic Book Movie)