“The Bikeriders ”director and Michael Shannon had opposite reactions to his scene-stealing monologue

"It's a bait-and-switch, really, because he gets you laughing and then he stings you with it," director Jeff Nichols tells Entertainment Weekly.

Michael Shannon and director Jeff Nichols had very different opinions on the actor's big, scene-stealing monologue in their sixth and latest collaboration, The Bikeriders.

Following the rise and fall of a fictional biker gang in the '60s, the film is based on Danny Lyon's popular photobook of the same name, which chronicled the photographer's time riding with the Chicago chapter of the real-life Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Shannon plays a particularly eccentric gang member named Zipco, based on a real biker Lyon interviewed for his book. The real Zipco, Lyon told A Rabbit's Foot, "was born in Latvia, was always drunk, had 'stuff' in his beard, and when he wore a helmet, had a WWI German Spike on it.

In one poignant scene around a bonfire, Zipco regales his fellow bikers with a story about how he volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War but was rejected after psychological tests found him unfit for service. The monologue begins in a comedic tone, as Nichols intended, but Shannon did not see the humor in it at all.

Related: The Bikeriders review: Jodie Comer rides off with the otherwise shaggy Jeff Nichols film

<p>Focus Features</p> Michael Shannon stars as Zipco in director Jeff Nichols' THE BIKERIDERS

Focus Features

Michael Shannon stars as Zipco in director Jeff Nichols' THE BIKERIDERS

"It came straight out of the book pretty much, straight out of an interview," Nichols tells Entertainment Weekly of that scene. "And it's funny, the way he's telling the story about going to the draft board, and his mom yanked him out of bed to take him down there, and failing all the tests. And right before we filmed it, Mike comes up to me — because we usually don't talk before he does whatever it is he's going to do — and he's like, 'You think this is pretty funny, don't you?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, it is kind of funny.' And he's like, 'I don't think it's funny at all.'"

Nichols remembers telling Shannon, "Alright, let's see it," and the way Shannon delivered the monologue ultimately shocked him. "It's a bait-and-switch, really, because he gets you laughing, and then he stings you with it," Nichols says. "And I did not see that coming."

Related: How Mike Faist and Jeff Nichols recreated Danny Lyon’s iconic photos for The Bikeriders

Jodie Comer, who plays Kathy, the eventual wife of gang member Benny (Austin Butler), reveals that Shannon's performance was one of her favorite memories on set, especially since it was her first day of filming.

<p>Kyle Kaplan/Focus Features</p>

Kyle Kaplan/Focus Features

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"We were on night shoots in Cincinnati and there were quite a lot of ensemble scenes," she tells EW. "It was the scene where Mike Shannon has this two-page monologue. I just remember there was like 11 of us around the fire, and just watching him work and see him and his insecurities and his doubts. I was thinking, 'Wow, I can't believe he's doubting or questioning himself.' Just witnessing him work after being such a huge fan of seeing him onscreen. I think we were all very enamored. That was pretty special."

Butler agrees, adding that he was also "so enamored" by Shannon's performance. "There's these moments that transcend and that was definitely one of them," he says.

The Bikeriders, also starring Tom HardyBoyd HolbrookNorman Reedus, and Mike Faist, rolls into theaters June 21.

—Additional reporting by Jorie McDonald

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.