So welcome back to another edition of Before They Were ‘Gods’, where we pull back the curtain on some of the past projects of the cast and crew connected with American Gods and give them their proper due. Since we’re still a little while off from any major Season 2 news, it’s a little something to help you pass the time until then and kick some major ass in that next Gods debate.
One thing’s for sure: while they may not all be winners, our Gods folks still shine through. But just to be clear? No judgments. I say that so there’s never any confusion about this being done out of love and with the intent to “laugh with” and not “laugh at” in every way possible.
Long before he graced us with his performance as crafty and endlessly charismatic Mr. Wednesday in American Gods, British actor Ian McShane was no stranger to playing a broad range of diverse characters. Over the years, he’s played everything from an elderly Charlie Chaplin (Wonderworks: Young Charlie Chaplin) and an irresistible rogue with a keen eye for antiques (Lovejoy); to a ruthless, successful billionaire who won’t take “no” for an answer (Ray Donovan) and a modern-day king struggling to maintain his throne (Kings). And who can forget his turn on HBO’s Deadwood as Al Swearengen, owner of the Gem Saloon and all-around force of destruction with a black-belt in dropping f-bombs.
McShane’s enjoyed a fulfilling acting career that’s spanned over a half-century…one that’s survived even this:
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Blackburn, Lancashire-born McShane as…
Drug dealer Esteban Montoya (left) from the episode Knock, Knock… Who’s There? (1987);
and Caribbean dictator General Manuel Borbon (right) from the episode Freefall (1989).
You see the punchline here…right?
As you’re letting that scar your brains a little bit, I’m thinking that there’s really two ways you can look at it: either it’s one of the most blatant examples of whitewashing in modern pop culture history; or it speaks volumes for how jacked the people behind Miami Vice were with McShane’s acting that they had him on twice…in two different role…in onlt two years!
Alas, McShane’s two visits to the land of pastels and sock-less shoes wouldn’t yield return visits for either of his characters. Montoya would eventually be arrested by Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) for blackmailing a DEA agent to facilitate a major drug deal; and General Borbon is killed when Crockett and Tubbs shoot down his seaplane as he attempts his escape.
No spin-offs or sequels for Mr. McShane, unfortunately.
But there’s something about McShane that no one will ever be able to take from him: that he was born in the city…concrete under his feet. It’s in his blood, its in his moves…he’s a man of the street.
(Spoiler for the 98.6 % of you that didn’t get that last reference…)