LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 05: Ian McShane attends the premiere of STARZ’s “American Gods” season 2 at Ace Hotel on March 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
  • Interviews

HFPA in Conversation: Ian McShane’s Complex Characters

Golden Globe winner Ian McShane is a very busy man.  Hellboy is in theaters, the second season of American Gods is running, and Deadwood (the movie), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Bolden are all premiering in May.

After he finished filming American Gods McShane took a few weeks off to get back into his character Al Swearengen for Deadwood. “I finished American Gods and I had a month to grow back Al’s whiskers to get to look like him again.  It was an interesting time but I never confused American Gods’ Mr. Wednesday with Al.  I love Mr. Wednesday, he’s Al with the shackles off in a sense.  Al can’t ever truly let himself go. Mr. Wednesday can let himself go”, Mr. McShane tells HFPA journalist Jean-Paul Chaillet.

But McShane also likes the qualities that Al embodies. “He’s a rogue because he’s one thing pretending to be another. He’s a magnet for every mongrel in town, he looks after every person who can’t look after themselves.  He’s the wrong side of the tracks but that’s fine with him.  As long as Bullock keeps to his side and Al keeps to his side, everything’s fine.”

The English-born actor explains that Deadwood, the movie, is what Deadwood, the TV series, was originally supposed to be about. ‘It’s supposed to be about the future, hope, change, love, anger and no one gets out alive. The audience will obviously have their own opinion because there’s a very diverse audience, thank god, otherwise there wouldn’t be any horse racing.’

When he read Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel American Gods, he thought the show – based on the award-winning book- could go anywhere. “It’s a blueprint for a phenomenally inventive and creative series.  And I think they’ve succeeded in doing it.  Well, they stirred a lot, a lot of controversy, which is great, which I love.”

Listen to the podcast and hear to what McShane attributes his long career; how he remembers his school mate John Hurt and how he helped Ian get his first role in the movie The Wild and the WillingMarlon Brando for the first time; how was it working with Richard BurtonBattle of BritainAva GardnerSean ConneryExposed; with whom he exchanged Christmas cards until that person died; why he wanted to take a break after the TV show LovejoyDeadwood was like an out-of-body experience; what he reveals on John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and what is the story behind Bolden.