Actor Michael Shannon on Chicago Theater

Ever wonder what your life might have been like if you dropped out of high school? Well, for actor Michael Shannon, it put him on the path to being nominated for an Academy Award by the age of 34.

Shannon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Revolutionary Road in 2008. He played Nelson Van Alden in the HBO period drama series Boardwalk Empire from 2010-2014. His performance in the 2011 film Take Shelter led to further praise, gaining him the Saturn Award for Best Actor. He also played a riveting Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman (2012), and General Zod in Man of Steel.

Michael Shannon is a co-founding member of Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre and continues to play there as he will this Fall in the play Pilgrim's Process, opposite Kirsten Fitzgerald. In addition, he will appear in four movies this Fall: 99 Homes and Freeheld-both of which are out in theaters now- and The Night Before, a holiday comedy with Seth Rogen out this November. The film Elivs and Nixon with Kevin Spacey should be out before January. A fifth movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which Michael again plays General Zod, will be out in 2016.

Below, over cumin salmon and some bourbon, Shannon talks about the early days of Chicago theater, the Red Orchid Theatre Gala November 14 and working with Leonardo Di Caprio, Martin Scorsese and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Enjoy this latest episode of The Dinner Party with Elysabeth Alfano podcast on WGNPlus.com.