“Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Today is Wonderful Wednesday,” Neil Gaiman said today in response to the casting of Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday in Starz’s series adaptation of Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel American Gods.
Deadwood and Lovejoy alum McShane will star opposite Ricky Whittle in the straight-to-series drama, set to begin filming in April, with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as writers/showrunners. McShane previously voiced Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline, the animated feature adaptation of Gaiman’s novel.
“When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the internet trying to cast the role,” Gaiman added. “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.”
In American Gods, a war is brewing between old and new deities: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. The show centers on Mr. Wednesday (McShane), a crafty and endlessly charismatic con man, full of perverse wisdom, curious magic, and grand plans. He hires ex-con Shadow Moon (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.
“Actor. Icon. And now god,” said Fuller and 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.”
This marks McShane’s return to Starz where he starred in The Pillars of the Earth, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. His series credits also include Ray Donovan and American Horror Story. He will next be seen in Game of Thrones and Dr. Thorne as well as features John Wick: Chapter 2, The Hollow Point and Bolden. McShane is repped by ICM Partners, Gallant Management, Independent Talent Group and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America. David Slade is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman.