Ian McShane joins cast of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

The Lovejoy and Deadwood star will play Mr Wednesday, aka Viking deity Odin, in the new TV series from Starz

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A few months after casting Hollyoaks’ Ricky Whittle as protagonist Shadow Moon in the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, US network Starz has signed up another Brit to play the story’s second key figure – Deadwood, Lovejoy and future Game of Thrones star Ian McShane. 

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The upcoming mini series will see McShane play Mr Wednesday, a conman who hires Whittle’s Shadow as a bodyguard only to reveal that Wednesday is in fact Viking god Odin.

Enlisting Shadow on a journey round America, Wednesday begins to unite various old biblical and mythological deities to take down upstart “new Gods” of media, technology, market forces and conspiracy. Only then will the older gods regain the power they lost when humanity stopped believing in them.

“When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the Internet trying to cast the role,” American Gods author Neil Gaiman said on (appropriately enough) Wednesday in a statement.

“I’ve seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does. I’ve already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish). Now I count myself even luckier: he’s made the journey from Lovejoy to American Gods.”

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American Gods will air in 2017