The big risk with casting Michael Shannon is not how well he'll handle a role, but how others will do alongside him. He elicited the wows in Revolutionary Road. He stole every scene he graced in The Runaways. But he's still the supporting guy that gives the stars a run for their money, and this time around, he's facing off against Gerard Butler and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

First, Variety reports that he will get to lend friendly support to Butler in Machine Gun Preacher. Following the story of real-life Reverend Sam Childers, the film will outline a biker interested in drugs and violence who is saved by church, receives a prophecy, and heads to Africa to help the children of Sudan and Uganda. Shannon will play Childers' friend, Delane. But really, take a look at the real Preacher at his website. Isn't it a whole lot easier to imagine Shannon in the role of the tough, one-biker Reverend? I foresee Shannon stealing the show.

Meanwhile, hit the jump for his next villainous role...

After helping the Machine Gun Preacher, Shannon will give Gordon-Levitt a literal run for his money in Premium Rush. This project got cooking late last year, boasting "the kind of elaborate chases associated with a William Friedkin pic." G-L stars as a bike messenger in New York who picks up a letter at Columbia University that seems to be a hot item as he's "chased throughout the city by a dirty cop desperate to get his hands on it." Shannon will play the cop, who isn't all-out evil, but also "deceptively affable." The poor messenger, meanwhile, will get some help from his ex-girlfriend and fellow messenger "who helps him outwit the cop." The Hollywood Reporter posts that Jamie Chung (Dragonball: Evolution, Sucker Punch) is negotiating to take that role.

Shannon and Gordon-Levitt -- now there's a team that can whip up good cinema (and it doesn't hurt that Shannon wouldn't be more suited to the messenger role than the cop). Now if only Hollywood can give him some starring roles (outside of indies like the upcoming Return)...