IAN McSHANE (Tai Lung) recently opened on Broadway to rave reviews in Daniel Sullivan’s revival of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming.” It’s the 40th anniversary for both the play and McShane, as he made his Broadway debut in a production of “The Promise” in 1967, the same year “The Homecoming” first played on Broadway. Audiences most recently heard McShane’s distinct voice as Ragnar Sturlusson in the first installment of New Line’s “The Golden Compass” alongside Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Coming up, McShane can be seen in Paramount’s thriller “Case 39” playing a detective opposite Renée Zellweger; in Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Death Race”; and heard as Mr. Bobinksy in Laika Entertainment’s first animated feature, “Coraline,” an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling book, directed by Henry Selick.
McShane earned the coveted Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series — Drama for his versatile performance as Al Swearengen on HBO’s hit series “Deadwood.” His charismatic and alluring performance also led him to a 2005 Emmy and 2005 and 2006 SAG nominations for Lead Actor, as well as being voted by People magazine “TV’s Sexiest Villain” in 2005.
His performance gained him a wave of critical acclaim, which earned him the Television Critics Association’s annual award for Individual Achievement in Drama and led to his being selected as one of GQ’s Men of the Year. The New York Times dubbed him “One of the Most Interesting Villains on Television” and Rolling Stone bestowed the title “Hot Barkeep” and described the character as “played to perfection.”
McShane has continually shown his range of talent over the last few years, appearing in numerous projects embodying a diversity of roles: in Warner Bros.’ true-life drama “We Are Marshall” opposite Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox; Woody Allen’s “Scoop” alongside Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman; Rodrigo Garcia’s critically acclaimed character study “Nine Lives”; and Jonathan Glazer’s critically acclaimed indie “Sexy Beast,” delivering another riveting performance by transforming himself into the dark, sinister and very handsome character Teddy Bass. McShane’s unique and distinctive voice has also made him an in-demand voice talent, adding his vocal prowess as Captain Hook in “Shrek the Third.”
Having starred in more than 30 films, McShane made his debut in 1962’s “The Wild and the Willing,” which led to other roles in “The Battle of Britain,” “The Last of Sheila,” “Villain” (co-starring Richard Burton), “Exposed” and “Agent Cody Banks.”
McShane has enjoyed a long and creatively diverse career in both British and American television, including a role in the David Wolper’s seminal 1970s miniseries “Roots,” as well as BBC and BBC America’s “Trust.” Starring turns in “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” for Granada TV, the role of Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights” for the BBC and Harold Pinter’s Emmy Award-winning “The Caretaker” are among his other television highlights. McShane has also stepped into roles as well known figures, taking on parts as Judas in NBC’s “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli; Prince Rainer in the network’s “The Grace Kelly Story”; and the title role in Masterpiece Theatre’s “Disraeli.” Additional miniseries credits include “Charlie the Kid,” “A.D.,” “The Great Escape II,” “Marco Polo,” “Evergreen” and “War and Remembrance.”
In the late ‘80s, the actor formed McShane Productions, which produced the much-adored “Lovejoy” for the BBC and A&E. Lovejoy gave McShane a vehicle in which to star, as well as produce and direct. He followed “Lovejoy” by producing and starring in the darker and more serious lead role in “Madson” and the comedy/drama “Soul Survivors” for BBC and Showtime. “Lovejoy” is currently enjoying a revival with audiences worldwide.
In 2000, McShane returned to the West End in London to make his musical debut starring in Cameron Mackintosh’s successful musical “The Witches of Eastwick,” as Darryl Van Horne. His varied stage career has included roles as Hal in the original cast of “Loot,” the title role of “The Admirable Crichton” at the Chichester Festival, Tom in “The Glass Menagerie” and Charlie in “The Big Knife.” He co-starred with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in “Promise,” which successfully played London and debuted on Broadway. In Los Angeles he starred in three productions at the Matrix Theatre, including the world premiere of Larry Atlas’ “Yield of the Long Bond” and two others (for which he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award), “Inadmissible Evidence” and “Betrayal.”
Born in Blackburn, England, McShane is the son of professional soccer player Harry McShane, who played for Manchester United, and Irene McShane. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
McShane and his wife Gwen Humble reside in Los Angeles.