Ian McShane, dressed in a ball cap and a barely buttoned silk shirt, proved to be a convivial Comic-Con presence last Friday when Vulture found him at a cocktail party for the cable channel Starz. McShane was in San Diego to promote his role as Mr. Wednesday in Bryan Fuller’s upcoming adaptation of the Neil Gaiman work American Gods, but after a little chat, we asked if we could discuss his recent gig on Game of Thrones. “If you must,” McShane said, laughing.
McShane appeared on the seventh episode of this past season as a warrior turned septon who mentors the long-lost Hound (Rory McCann), though he doesn’t survive to see episode eight. “They said it’s a good, juicy, one-episode part that has a big monologue, and we’d love you to go and do it,” said McShane. “Also my grandkids are huge fans of the show, and my son is, so it was kinda like, Yeah, absolutely, why not?” And though, with Deadwood, McShane once toplined an entire HBO show himself, he was content this time to simply cameo. “I didn’t want to do the whole thing, the whole series,” he said. “It’s a good plot. I got hung. I’m outta there, man.”
Months before his episode aired, McShane gave a revealing interview where he basically implied that he’d be bringing back the long-thought-dead Hound, and he has no patience for anyone who’s still put off by his spoiler. “They take it very seriously, some people,” McShane sniffed. “Dear God! I mean, I didn’t have to sign one of those contracts where you don’t talk about it. And on the other hand, if you tease it up, more people will watch it. So it wasn’t exactly bad publicity for HBO, you know?”
Has he ever been the sort of person to take his acting roles too seriously? “No,” said McShane. “Seriously enough to be quite good at it, but not seriously enough to think Game of Thrones is gonna change my life.”