Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ian McShane: Breaking taboos and on a "Death Race" and beyond

On "Dallas," Ian McShane, as Sue Ellen Ewing's lover, Don Lockwood, had the delicious task of creating a film on J.R. Ewing's life. His on-screen persona also had the good fortune of riding off into the English sunset, so to speak, with Sue Ellen. So what's McShane been up to, these days?

For one thing, he's front and center in's "15 Taboo-Breaking TV Moments," for his role as Al Swearengen on HBO's "Deadwood." Beyond that, he's brimming with new movie projects.

"44 Inch Chest" classified as in pre-production and scheduled for release next year, has McShane playing a character named Meredith. The drama's plotline: "A jealous husband and his friends plot the kidnapping of his wife's lover with the intention of restoring his wounded ego."

"Coraline," also due next year but further along, gives McShane some voicework as Mr. Bobo. It's based on a novel by comic-book king / "Sandman" mastermind Neil Gaiman. Directed by Henry Selick ("Nightmare Before Christmas," "James and the Giant Peach") it's the first major stop-motion animated feature to be shot in 3D. Its cast also includes Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher.

"Death Race," due out later this year, takes McShane on an action adventure. The plotline: "Set in a future version of America, a prisoner who is weeks away from being released is forced by his warden to compete in a brutal, deadly car race alongside his fellow inmates."

"Kung Fu Panda," another 2008 voice project, has McShane portraying Tai Lung. It's an IMAX film with an amazing all-star cast: Jackie Chan, Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu and others. The plotline: "Po the Panda is the laziest animal in all of the Valley of Peace, but unwittingly becomes the chosen one when enemies threaten their way of life." Release date is in June.

Finally, "Case 39," classified as completed by releasing next year, casts McShane as Detective Mike Barron. Renee Zellweger plays a social worker who "fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected."

BRBTV News Blog Blip: The New Zealand Herald has a fun feature about that blazin' orange American icon, the General Lee.

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