From Cheeky British Chappie to Dallas to God like parts…
Ian McShane has always been there in movies, on TV and now making his God-like presence known.
I noticed I haven’t done a starring post for a while, so here’s one concentrating on a character actor who now to me now defines British National Treasure. And the man of the moment is Ian McShane. Emphasis on the now, as in the eighties when I first met this actor in Lovejoy, I only watched him – or the ending credits to his telly programme – as this show was followed by the Big D that was Dallas. And therefore one that I watched only so I wouldn’t miss precious moments of the big D. Just in case they put it out earlier in the schedule than promised. As yes, I was that obsessed.
However, McShane couldn’t escape my attention with him turning up as Sue Ellen Ewing’s (Linda Gray) love interest in Season 12 of Dallas, as Don Lockwood. And stealing her and sadly Linda Gray – my fave actress in the show – away from the show to take her to Merrie England.
So here’s that and more film and TV memories of this wonderful character actor. But I still (hangs head) haven’t seen him in Game of Thrones (2016). And this despite its constant repeats over here so apologies if you a GoT fan. On the bright side, if I ever get round to watching it, I promise to review it. That is once the re-run starts again…
Christmas on BBC1 1993 Lovejoy trailer, whyayetv
Lovejoy was McShane’s 1980 and 90s loveable rogue, an East Anglian, smooth-talking antique seller who I thought for years lived on a houseboat. However, it could be another of those Sunday night series back then, there were so many back in the day. And now being shown in Finland. Proving there is no escape. Lovejoy was supported by the hapless Eric (Chris Jury) his assistant and his often drunk and antique loving pal, Tinker (Dudley Sutton).
In the series, McShane’s antique seller was envied able to spot the genuine article from the fake, but despite this was always penniless. Of course, Lovejoy was a bit of rough for posh totty love interests including Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan) and Charlotte Cavendish (Caroline Langrishe). And even Dallas stars Linda Gray and Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) popped in the series on one occasion, and I missed it!
Lovejoy‘s allegedly in line for a remake, so here’s hoping it’s not a case of Son of Lovejoy with some bland generic British actor as same. I might let the powers that be off if said son is played by James Buckley, an actor I’ve enjoyed watching as a similar wide boy, in White Gold (2017) and as a clueless teen in The Inbetweeners (2008-10). With his presence in this almost Inbetweeners spin-off or a prequel with another of the show’s cast, Joe Thomas in this show.
But back to Lovejoy in its heyday, this established McShane as rough diamond-like totty for our mum’s (or grandmothers) due to this portrayal of this priceless lead character. As were his special guest stars including Brian Blessed, Joanna Lumley and Burt Kwouk.
DALLAS – Season 12 (1988-89) (Sue Ellen Gets Her Revenge On JR), Keith Norman
I hated his character in Dallas, sorry Ian. But then I detested anyone who came between my favourite screen couple JR and Sue Ellen Ewing. I’m sure that would change on a rewatch now I’m of a certain age (and maturity). Or maybe not. Here he starred as Don Lockwood, a scriptwriter and later Sue Ellen’s lover.
Sue Ellen met him when she decided to take revenge on JR once and for all. So she made a tell-all film about her life with JR. Then after filming this project, Sue Ellen and Don got engaged – which probably hurt JR more than the movie – and he became her husband off-screen. But as Sue Ellen left, she threatened JR she would release the movie only if he hurt her again.
As a staunch supporter of J.R. – Sue Ellen’s then on-off husband – I was most upset when this happened. So was ecstatic when the TV movies – Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) and Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998) – reintroduced Sue Ellen as the soon to be former Mrs Lockwood. And therefore open to JR’s charms once more.
On leaving Dallas, Ian McShane invited his co-star Linda Gray to join him in this series. This was an experience she reportedly enjoyed, in this article by AMProfile she stated “So Ian said, “Why don’t you come to London and do ‘Lovejoy?’ I said, “Sign me up, I’ll be there.” So eyed peeled for Miss Gray as an American Goddess if he continues the favour in his latest venture, American Gods…
Cuban Fury (2014)
Cuban Fury | trailer US (2014) Nick Frost, moviemaniacsDE
In this British comedy film, as Ron an ex-salsa king, he played Nick Frost’s Bruce’s dance mentor. In this great wee part, McShane glowed. And not just because of his makeup, with his tan Oompa Loompa orange in a certain light. Nick Frost played an overweight, ex teenage salsa dancer champion who finds himself finding out his new boss (Rashida Jones) has a love of it too.
With his new-found love for her, he decides to dance his way into her heart. He then seeks out his old dance teacher – as played by McShane (which on viewing this was an unexpected pleasure) – who then gets him back on the dance floor. Which he left behind after being bullied as a teen. So refacing his past tormentors, Bruce takes to the floor once more in a Salsa competition…
Sadly missed seeing McShane strut his stuff on the dance floor, so kinda hoping for a sequel that will change all that. Or even directors cut. Anyway great seeing him in the credits, and a fabulous comic role Ian McShane’s co-star has nothing but praise for him, in an interview with Frost on Splitslider, Frost states
” …when it got to the point that Jon Brown, who wrote the script, wrote a part for this kind of Mr. Miyagi-style guru, Nira [Park] who’s our producer said, “Ian is the one for this.” And it just seemed an absolute no-brainer that we wouldn’t cast anyone else. The good thing about Ian is that I phoned him up and said, “Ian, would you like to come and do a film with me where you play a salsa teacher?” and he said, “Yeah, I’ll do it,” and hung up.””
John Wick films
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) – Rule Breaker Scene (10/10) | Movieclips
Another much too wee part, as the owner of that Hit Man motel and John Wick mentor and confidante, Winston. Part 1 sees John Wick (Keanu Reeves) trying to escape his former life as a hitman, however after his dog is killed and his car stolen he’s out for revenge. And part 2 telling how he tries to leave this job once more and this time is asked to carry out one last hit… and he’s back for chapter 3 too.
Was great to see his gruff but kindly Winston giving Wick his advice and wisdom, and providing us more of the nice human side to this one-man shooter. We don’t know much about this enigmatic hotel owner, other than his rule.. no hitman business is allowed to happen on hotel grounds.
Winston may be in owner of the American branch of the Continental, but in Chapter 2 we visit the European Branch, with another name to set your mother’s heart a flutter, Franco Nero. And we learn much more about Winston… And just in case you haven’t heard of these films, which has much more gunfire than your average Quentin Tarantino movie, CLICK HERE for Chapter 1, HERE for Chapter 2 and HERE for Chapter 3.
American Gods (2017-)
American Gods | First Look Trailer, American Gods
So recently I watched his turn as Mr Wednesday in this adaptation of the Neil Gaiman book. And yes, THIS is the part we’ve been waiting for which eclipses all the rest. As the mysterious Mr Wednesday, he stole – rightly – every scene from this all-star cast including Peter Stormare, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson. Especially from the always fantastic Peter Stormare. And its hard to see anyone else in this Mr Wednesday role, especially on reading Nicolas Cage was offered this role.
The series, tells us about Shadow Moon, a man whose wife is killed in an accident just before his release from prison. On meeting Mr Wednesday he meets a variety of new and old Gods, all living in America and who are in conflict with each other.
I won’t tell you much about his Mr Wednesday character, but McShane makes his character fun, charismatic and a joy to watch. This from the moment he makes an appearance. Although I haven’t read the book I’ve heard from those who have, he’s perfect casting, And so now I so want to read the book after this first series revelation but will wait til the series returns for more of the revelations of those Gods.. of TV and film to return next year.
But these are just a few of the roles McShane’s been linked with, and I’m sure this talented actor will be seen and heard in many, many more. Until then there’s many a treasured performance to be found from his varied acting roles from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) to a right royal performance as Prince Rainer of Monaco opposite one of Charlie’s Angels (1976-81) in a 1986 TV Movie Grace Kelly... You can hardly say McShane’s living up to his titular character, as he was cast in a Jackie Collins’ Yesterday’s Hero.
This post was added to Outspoken and Freckled, Paula’s Cinema Club and Aurora from Once Upon A Screen‘s What a Character! blogathon. Other roles with Ian McShane on this blog include John Wick 1, 2 and 3. For Dallas posts, so click here for all these posts. Nick Frost stars in Hot Fuzz and Chris O’Dowd appears in Juliet Naked and Bridesmaids. Emily Browning stars in Legend and Peter Stormare in Fargo, Chocolat and John Wick Chapter 2. Franco Nero in The Time of their Lives. Keanu Reeves many reviews are found here.