Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Boardwalk Empire' Michael Shannon is disappointed in Van Alden

Van Alden hasn't turned out at all the way we expected. Was there some point when you got a script and were like, “Oh, wow. I didn’t know he was going to be this kind of guy.”
Well, it was a little disappointing. The thing that disappointed me the most was when he drank. Shooting that episode in general was kind of upsetting. I guess I figured he’d probably drink eventually. I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. It’s fine. I just thought maybe, you know, the second season or if we were lucky, the third season. But to put it right in the first season I was like, oh, all right. You don’t know anything when you view the script for the pilot, and you get the script for the next episode after read-through, so you don’t know. It’s kind of like walking out onto a bridge that isn’t finished being built and then they build it as you’re walking across the chasm.

He’s not even that good at his job.
I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say he’s not good at his job. I think he’s been put in an impossible situation. I think he actually is good at his job. I mean, he knows Jimmy Darmody killed all those guys. It’s not like he doesn’t know what happens. He just can’t do anything about it. And that’s not really his fault. That’s because his boss won’t let him do anything. Van Alden’s not at the top of the food chain. He’s a mid-level guy.

So let’s talk about the two really surprising things that Van Alden has done in the last two episodes. On last night’s episode, he drowned Agent Sebso. Tell me about that.
I don’t think he wanted to kill him, I just think he wanted to baptize him. The kid, he wouldn’t say yes and, you know, Van Alden’s a very angry person and I think when he drowns Sebso, he’s drowning everybody. He’s drowning Nucky, he’s drowning this whole situation. Because I think he resents the fact that he’s been put in the middle of so much sin and depravity. I think Van Alden really wants to be a good person, but there’s a lot of resentment and frustration built up inside of him because he can’t — it’s impossible. In this environment, he can’t maintain his character and his ideals. And so he’s disgusted with himself as much as anybody else … I think the word is he snapped.