Wednesday, March 2, 2016

AMERICAN GODS Casts Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday

And, of course, this was announced on a Wednesday.

Deadline has word that the upcoming Starz series American Gods, based on the 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman, has cast Ian McShane in the role of Mr. Wednesday.

According to the article, Mr. Wednesday is described as "a crafty and endlessly charismatic con man, full of perverse wisdom, curious magic, and grand plans.  He hires ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) to be his bodyguard as he journeys across America, using his charms to recruit others like him as he prepares for the ultimate battle for power."

McShane, 73, is best known as Al Swearengen on the HBO series Deadwood, and has appeared in numerous film and television roles, including John Wick and the upcoming sequel John Wick Chapter Two, Hercules (2014), Snow White & the Huntsman, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Coraline, Kung Fu Panda, The Golden Compass, Shrek the Third, Babylon 5: The River of Souls, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story: Asylum, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Twilight Zone (2003), Lovejoy, and Space: 1999.

"When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday," said Gaiman, "you get to watch the internet trying to cast the role.  I’ve seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does.  I’ve already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish).  Now I count myself even luckier: he’s made the journey from Lovejoy to American Gods."

The television adaptation will focus on the mysterious Shadow, a man who is released from prison a few days early after serving a three year sentence for bank robbery when his beloved wife Laura is killed in a car accident.  Flying home for the funeral, Shadow is seated next to a man who introduces himself only as Mr. Wednesday, and this man knows more about Shadow's life, both past and present, than is possible.  Shadow comes to learn that Wednesday is, in fact, the god Odin of Norse mythology and that all of the gods that mankind has ever believed in are alive in human form and live among us.  Shadow is soon thrust into a gathering conflict between the Old Gods and the so-called "New Gods," the gods of money and technology, who believe there is no longer room on Earth for the Old Gods.

"Actor.  Icon.  And now god," said executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green.  "It is a goddamn delight to be collaborating with the incomparable Ian McShane — again and for the first time — on a story about faith and belief, with the utmost faith and belief in Mr. McShane as our Mr. Wednesday.  A wonderful Wednesday indeed."

American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America.  Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writers and showrunners.  David Slade (Hannibal) is directing the pilot and additional episodes.  FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producers on the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Gaiman.  FremantleMedia will distribute the series worldwide.

American Gods is expected to debut on Starz sometime in 2017.

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