IAN McSHANE (King Brahmwell) has captured the public's attention and earned plaudits from critics and the press by playing bad guys, scoundrels and thieves. He was named TV's Sexiest Villain by People magazine, and was one of GQ's Men of The Year for his portrayal of Al Swearengen in "Deadwood." Classically trained, with a voice like none other, he has a range for rogues and other multi-faceted characters on television, the silver screen, as a voiceover artist, and on the boards.
This spring, he will leave his dark side behind to play Nick Frost's salsa dance instructor in the independent feature "Cuban Fury," a heartfelt comedy from director James Griffiths.
McShane recently played the lead dwarf, Beith, opposite Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in "Snow White and the Huntsman," the dark fantasy from director Rupert Sanders. He also starred in the billion-dollar blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" as the fearsome pirate Blackbeard, opposite Johnny Depp.
Highlights of McShane's previous film roles include the darkly perverse "44 Inch Chest," in which he starred as well as executive produced, and Woody Allen's "Scoop." He was singled out for his portrayal of the twisted and handsome Teddy Bass in the cult indie hit "Sexy Beast." McShane's earlier, break-out parts were in the 1973 cult favorite "The Last of Sheila," "Villain," "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You," and "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium."
In addition to his screen work, he has made his mark as a voiceover artist, narrating "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and bringing life to the eccentric magician Mr. Bobinsky in "Coraline," as well as the sinister Tai Lung in "Kung Fu Panda." He also lent his rich, resonant voice to "The Golden Compass" and to the devilish Captain Hook in "Shrek The Third."
McShane has enjoyed a long and diverse career on both British and American television. Most recently, he was the very bad Santa/serial killer in the award-winning drama "American Horror Story," for F/X. He starred in 2010's Emmy Award-nominated "The Pillars of the Earth," for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Mini Series, and in NBC's "Kings." Most notably, in 2004, McShane exploded onto the small screen as Al Swearengen on HBO's "Deadwood," for which he earned a Best Actor in a Television Drama Golden Globe Award, as well as 2005 Emmy and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations.
Earlier in his television career, he formed McShane Productions, and produced the lauded "Lovejoy" for the BBC and A&E, in which he starred in the title role of the lovable rogue antiques dealer, and directed several episodes. Fans of this beloved series, which first aired in 1986, successfully demanded that it be brought back, and the series aired again from 1991-1994. McShane also had strong and memorable appearances in the U.S. on "Dallas," and in the saga "War and Remembrance." He played Sejanus in the miniseries "A.D.," the eponymous "Disraeli," produced by Masterpiece Theater, and Judas in NBC's "Jesus of Nazareth." He was also featured in the U.S. landmark miniseries "Roots," and brought pathos to the disabled Ken Harrison in "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" McShane was the smoldering Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights," and also appeared in Harold Pinter's Emmy-winning "The Caretaker."
McShane is an accomplished and award-winning stage actor. In 2008, he celebrated two anniversaries: the 40th Anniversary revival of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" on Broadway and the 40th Anniversary of his own Broadway debut. He made his musical debut in the West End production of "The Witches of Eastwick," as the devilish Darryl Van Horne. In Los Angeles, he starred in a trio of productions at The Matrix Theatre, including the world premiere of Larry Atlas' "Yield of the Long Bond," for which he received the 1984 Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award," as well as "Inadmissible Evidence" and "Betrayal." His other stage work has included roles in the original cast of Joe Orton's "Loot," "The Admirable Chrichton" at the Chichester Festival, "The Glass Menagerie" and "The Big Knife." McShane's West End debut in 1967 was co-starring with Dame Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in "The Promise," which they brought to Broadway the following year.
Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, McShane originally planned to follow in the footsteps of his father, Manchester United soccer player Harry McShane, until a high school teacher encouraged him to be an actor. He landed a spot at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where, just before graduation, he got his first break, the lead role in "The Wild and the Willing" in 1962.