From a lawless saloon owner to the most feared pirate that ever sailed the seas, Ian McShane certainly has carved out quite the niche playing bad guys one would cross the street to avoid. That just might have changed in recent roles in which he starred as Amphiarus (part priest, part prophet, part warrior) opposite Dwayne Johnson in Hercules for Director Brett Ratner; a salsa dance instructor opposite Nick Frost in Cuban Fury for Director James Griffiths; the good king of the land in Jack the Giant Slayer for director Bryan Singer; and in Snow White and the Huntsman as the lead dwarf Beith opposite Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth.
McShane just reprised his role as Winston (club owner/conceivable ex-assassin) opposite Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter Two for Director Chad Stahelski and Lionsgate. He appeared in cameo roles in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy Grimsby directed by Louis Leterrier for Sony, and in the highly touted Spanish Director Daniel Monzón’s film El Niño.
Next starring in Bolden! McShane playscorrupt Judge Perry for Writer/Director Dan Pritzker in the story about the life of jazz innovator Buddy Bolden; and as Leland, a retired sheriff with violent tendencies opposite Patrick Wilson in The Hollow Point for Director Gonzalo López-Gallego, Atlas Independent, and Relativity.
McShane starred in the worldwide billion-dollar blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the fearsome pirate Blackbeard. He also starred as the conniving and manipulative, Waleran Bigod in the Emmy®-nominated “The Pillars of the Earth” for which he received a Golden Globe® Nomination for Best Actor in a Mini Series.
Highlights of his previous years in film include starring in and co-producing the motion picture 44 Inch Chest, lending his unique voice to the highly acclaimed animated features Coraline, Shrek the Third, Kung Fu Panda, and The Golden Compass.
His voice can next be heard as Umayya in the independent animated feature Bilal. He was also seen in Woody Allen's Scoop. In the critically acclaimed indie Sexy Beast, McShane gave another riveting performance by transforming himself into the dark, sinister, and very handsome character Teddy Bass, prompting one London writer to declare McShane, “the king of cool.” Earlier in his career he starred in favorites The Last of Sheila, Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You, and If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium.
McShane has also enjoyed a long and creatively diverse career in both British and American television. He recently played Andrew Finney opposite Liev Schreiber on the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Ray Donovan.” McShane also recently appeared in the award-winning series “Game of Thrones” on HBO. One of his most significant roles includes Al Swearengen on HBO’s “Deadwood.” McShane earned the coveted Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor in a Television Drama.’ His charismatic and alluring performance also led him to 2005 Emmy® and SAG nominations for ‘Lead Actor’, as well as being voted by People Magazine in 2005 as ‘TV's Sexiest Villain.’ Following a wave of critical acclaim for “Deadwood,” he received the Television Critics Association's Award for ‘Individual Achievement in Drama’ and was named as one of GQ’s ‘Men of the Year,’ describing his character as “infectious” and “darkly irresistible.”
In the beginning of his career, McShane starred in “Roots,” followed by starring as Judas in NBC's “Jesus of Nazareth” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. He played the title role in Masterpiece Theatre's “Disraeli,” starred in the miniseries “A.D., Whose Life Is It Anyway?,” played Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights,” and starred in Harold Pinter's Emmy®-Award winning “The Caretaker.” McShane also starred in NBC’s critically lauded drama, “Kings.” In the late 80’s he formed McShane Productions, which produced the much-adored “Lovejoy” for the BBC and A&E. “Lovejoy” gave McShane a vehicle to star in as well as produce and direct.
In addition to his screen work, McShane is a celebrated stage actor. In 2000 McShane returned to the West End in London to make his musical debut starring in The Witches of Eastwick as Darryl Van Horne. His varied stage career has included roles in Loot, The Admirable Crichton, The Glass Menagerie, and The Big Knife. He co-starred with Dame Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in The Promise, which successfully played London and was his Broadway debut. In Los Angeles, he starred in three productions at The Matrix Theatre, including the world premiere of Larry Atlas’ Yield of the Long Bond for which he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Inadmissible Evidence and Betrayal. In 2008 McShane returned to Broadway to star in a revival of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming for the 40th Anniversary of the play.
Born in Blackburn, England, Ian is the son of professional soccer player Harry McShane, who played for Manchester United, and Irene McShane. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.