‘The Bikeriders’ Director Reveals Which Actor “Was Not Allowed To Get Near A Motorcycle”

While making Jeff Nichols‘ new biker epic, one actor never quite made it past his training wheels.

The Bikeriders director revealed that Michael Shannon was one of the few actors who opted not to learn how to ride a motorcycle for the film, which also stars Austin Butler, Jodie Comer and Tom Hardy.

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“To be honest, all of them had to go through training. Now, some guys took to it better than others. Sadly, for everyone, Michael Shannon wasn’t allowed to get near a motorcycle. We barely let him lean on a motorcycle,” he said with a laugh on the ReelBlend podcast.

“You know, when we made Midnight Special, he didn’t even have a driver’s license,” recalled Nichols of his 2016 sci-fi. “It was like, we gotta teach Mike how to drive in this chase scene.

“I mean, he’s great. He’s obviously a genius and super talented, so I imagine, had we put him on a bike, he would have learned it very quickly. But that was one of the first questions he asked, he was like, ‘I don’t have to learn how to ride, do I?'” added Nichols.

Michael Shannon in <em>The Bikeriders</em> (2023). (20th Century Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Michael Shannon in The Bikeriders (2023). (20th Century Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Butler, who inherited his “first love of motorcycles” from his father, previously told People that he avoided what could have been a serious accident while making the movie.

“We were doing a night shoot and hit a patch of wet leaves and I went down, but I thankfully landed on my feet,” said Butler. “All I was thinking about was the bike, though. I just wanted to make sure that it was okay.”

Inspired by Danny Lyon’s 1968 photo book of the same name, The Bikeriders follows the founding of the Vandals MC, a fictional late ’60s Midwestern motorcycle club that begins as a place for outsiders before evolving into a full-blown gang.

The Bikeriders is now playing in theaters.

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