It took a month for Ian McShane to regrow the distinctive facial hair of Al Swearengen, his redoubtable bar-owning character in HBO’s Deadwood. “After finishing [American Gods season two] I had a month to grow the sideboards and the mustache,” he told Den Of Geek, “And I managed to grow it! It was good, nice to be back again.”
The two-hour film, which revisits the frontier town of Deadwood a decade after we left it at the end of season three, is “a love letter to the series,” McShane says. It was filmed at the end of last year and fans don’t have long to wait for the finished product, according to the actor. “They’re editing it now, it’ll be out in May.”
What can we expect to see from Al this time around? “Ten years later, ten years older, ten years more scotch down him!” McShane says. “So not quite the man he was, but neither is [Timothy Olyphant’s character] Bullock. They’re all 10 years later.”
Filming was a bittersweet experience, McShane tells us. “It was great to see everybody. Everybody was exactly the same, which means come in, do the job, respect, fabulous. The sad thing was that this time, you knew it was going to be the end, so you’d finish a scene and say ‘that’s it, we’ve finished together,’ so that was a little blubby.”
In 2006, there were plans for season three to be followed up by two feature-length films that never came to be, leaving the cast, crew, characters, and fans in limbo. This film, says McShane, brings “closure in a sense that I thought would never come.”
It’s been in the making for a while. Scheduling the cast, all of whom were busy with other work, was no small challenge. “It was partly to do with trying to get us together at the same time,” McShane explains. He first read David Milch’s finished script “about a year and a half ago” and “knew they were onto something really good,” he says. “It was good to be back.”
More on the upcoming Deadwood movie as we learn it!