We have bad news and then we have worse news. The bad news is that — contrary to what GFR and others reported in March — Ian McShane will not be appearing in the upcoming streaming series Last King of the Cross. The worse news is that he apparently isn’t leaving over creative differences or scheduling conflicts, but because the 79-year-old actor may not be doing well.
That’s the word from Deadline, who report today that Ian McShane is leaving Last King of the Cross because of “health concerns.” The outlet said it’s reached out to McShane’s representatives but so far haven’t heard anything more specific about the “health concerns” in question. Tim Roth (Rob Roy, Pulp Fiction) is stepping in to replace McShane as the series’ central antagonist, crime boss Ezra Shipman. Roth has also been on a lot of Marvel fans’ lips recently, as he’ll be returning to the role of Emil Blonsky aka the Abomination in the upcoming Disney+ series She-Hulk.
Last King of the Cross is based on the 2018 autobiography of the same name by John Ibrahim. Shipman — the character Ian McShane was going to play — is the biggest crime boss in Sydney in the beginning of the series, but with no other successor he finds a protege in the form of John Ibrahim, played by Lincoln Younes (Grand Hotel). But as the story progresses, questions come up concerning whether it’s Shipman or Ibrahim who’s pulling the other’s strings. The series will be rounded out by Tess Haubrich (The Wolverine), Callan Mulvey (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Maria Tran (Echo 8), Claude Jabbour (On the Ropes), Matt Nable (Riddick), and Damian Walshe-Howling (The Reef). There’s no release window for the series yet, but it will stream on Paramount+.
The last project we know Ian McShane worked on was the upcoming thriller American Star, in which he plays an assassin sent on one final assignment. According to Screen, American Star wrapped production earlier this month. He’ll also be back as the enigmatic Continental manager Winston next year in John Wick: Chapter 4. McShane has appeared in all of the John Wick films thus far, with his role as the seemingly neutral hotel manager growing larger with each entry. That’s likely to remain the case since the most recent film, 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, ends with the relationship between Winston and the protagonist shifting dramatically.
On his home turf of England, Ian McShane has been working as a screen actor since the ’60s and first reached prominence on the lung-running BBC dramedy Lovejoy. But it’s his time as the amoral Al Swearengen of HBO’s Western drama Deadwood that put him on a lot of Americans’ radar. He’s also earned a lot of fans as Mr. Wednesday aka Odin on American Gods and as the ruthless billionaire Andrew Finney on Ray Donovan.
Until more information surfaces, we’re left to only wish Ian McShane a speedy recovery. Likewise, Last King of the Cross producer Mark Fennessy told Deadline, “It’s unfortunate that Ian is unable to join us and we wish him a speedy recovery. We are truly delighted that the super brilliant Tim Roth joins our cast as Ezra and cannot wait to see him breathe life into yet another unforgettable character.”