Ian McShane is returning to home turf. The actor, who memorably played the charismatic antagonist Al Swearengen on HBO’s Deadwood, will play a villainous character in the upcoming Australian Paramount+ series Last King of the Cross, Deadline reports. Inspired by John Ibrahim’s best-selling autobiography, Last King of the Cross stars Lincoln Younes in the lead role.
Filming is expected to begin in Sydney in May. Produced by Mark Fennessy and Karl Zwicky, the drama is written and directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith.
McShane will play the “wily and much-celebrated” Ezra Shipman, who “has a gift for all things business,” and fingers in multiple pies. He oversees illegal gambling, prostitution, and strip joints, and has remained the most powerful and feared man in Sydney for three generations. But with no heir to continue his legacy and no means to maintain his stature, he is forced to confront his looming mortality.
Everything changes when he comes face-to-face with John Ibrahim, described as “an adolescent facsimile of Ezra.” Sensing an opportunity, Ezra takes the “brash, ambitious, and intelligent” young man under his wing, in an attempt to groom him into a worthy successor. But can either of them be sure that they aren’t being exploited by the other?
McShane won a Golden Globe and scored a Primetime Emmy nod for his performance as the foul-mouthed Al Swearengen on Deadwood. As a producer, he earned an Emmy nomination for Deadwood: The Movie. Additionally, he played the titular character on the British series Lovejoy, and more recently, appeared as Mr. Wednesday in the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
McShane will reprise his role as Winston, the manager of the Continental Hotel, in the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4. A younger version of his character will appear in the spinoff series The Continental.
Paramount+ recently threw its biggest hat into the streaming ring — the mega-budget video game adaptation Halo, which debuted to mixed reviews earlier this month. We’ll have more updates on Last King of the Cross as and when they come in.
Here’s the synopsis:
Inspired by John Ibrahim’s best-selling autobiography, Last King of The Cross is an operatic story of two brothers, Sam and John Ibrahim who organize the street but lose each other in their ascent to power. The drama tracks John Ibrahim’s rise from a poverty-stricken immigrant with no education, no money, and no prospects, to Australia’s most infamous nightclub mogul in Sydney’s Kings Cross – a mini-Atlantic City, barely half a mile long with every form of criminality on offer.