At long last, Deadwood is getting the wrap-up it deserves. Series creator David Milch has delivered a script for a Deadwood movie and at least one person who’s read it, Deadwood actor W. Earl Brown, calls it “stunning.” Now Milch must assemble his cast and get to work shooting the film, while also taking care of his responsibilities as a contributor to season 3 of True Detective.
Getting the Deadwood band back together shouldn’t be that difficult, given the affection most of those actors have expressed for both the show and Milch. One actor who absolutely must be secured for the film is Ian McShane, who played saloon owner Al Swearengen on the original series. It wouldn’t be Deadwood without McShane playing a thousand angles at once while dropping brilliant profanities in iambic pentameter.
Since news of the Deadwood film was first reported, some have wondered about McShane’s availability for the HBO project, given his current involvement with Starz network’s series American Gods. Well, never fear. EW looked into the matter and is reporting that McShane’s contract with Starz allows him to jump over to HBO and film the Deadwood movie, provided there is no conflict in shooting schedules.
On American Gods, McShane plays a character not altogether different from Al, a crafty con artist named Mr. Wednesday who in the debut episode shows off his skills by pretending to be a doddering old man and talking his way into a first-class airline ticket. Wednesday then goes on to use his talents on lead character Shadow Moon, a man who just got out of the joint and is on his way home for the funeral of his wife. By episode’s end, Shadow is working for Wednesday.
Al may not have been as subtle as Mr. Wednesday, nor as refined in his manner, but he was definitely just as clever and devious. McShane not only got to play Al’s duplicitous side on Deadwood, he also got to show the character’s humanity, largely through his relationships with henchman Dan Dority (Brown) and prostitute Trixie (Paula Malcomson). Swearengen became the lead adversary to the show’s hero Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant), though their antagonistic relationship always had a core of respect. One of the big questions to be answered in the Deadwood movie is how that relationship resolves itself. The show ended abruptly before the big showdown most expected to happen between alpha-dogs Swearengen and Bullock.
Now that the Deadwood script is in, it shouldn’t be too long before we begin hearing word about actors signing up, and shooting getting ready to commence. There was a time when it seemed like a wrap-up movie for Deadwood was just a pipe dream, but now it may actually happen, and the show’s devoted fans have every reason to be excited.
American Gods continues Sunday with ‘The Secret of Spoon’ @9pm on Starz.