'Deadpool 2': Michael Shannon Frontrunner to Play Cable (Exclusive)

The actor isn’t the only one on the studio's list, but he is leading the pack at this stage.

Michael Shannon has emerged as the frontrunner for the much buzzed-about Deadpool 2 role of Cable opposite Ryan Reynolds, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

Sources say that Shannon isn't the only one on the studio’s list, but he is leading the pack as the top choice at this stage. Stranger Things actor David Harbour is also on the shortlist. Kyle Chandler's name surfaced last summer but sources say he was never in contention for the role.

David Leitch is directing the sequel to Fox's surprise blockbuster, which grossed $783 million worldwide.

Reynolds is reprising his role as the wisecracking mercenary, with the story expanding to include other characters from Deadpool's corner of Marvel’s X-Men universe.

Atlanta breakout Zazie Beetz has already been cast as the super-powered merc named Domino.

The character Shannon would potentially play, Cable, was co-created by Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld and writer Louise Simonson, and is described as in many ways being the opposite of Deadpool: a man who is a leader and used to being obeyed, who is very controlled but with an aura of simmering violence. In the comics, Cable was from the future and was the adult of Scott Summers, also known as the X-Man Cyclops.

Deadpool 2 is scheduled to begin shooting this summer in Vancouver.

One factor that could prevent Shannon from taking on the role is scheduling. The in-demand Oscar nominee just signed on for the indie What They Had, which is set to shoot this spring. 

Shannon, who was nominated for his work in Nocturnal Animals, already has made two comic book movies: He appeared in Jonah Hex and played the villain General Zod in Man of Steel.

The actor has several movies wrapped, including the period drama The Current War, in which he plays George Westinghouse, and Horse Soldiers, an ensemble war drama that also stars Chris Hemsworth and Michael Pena.

Shannon is repped by CAA.