It was the rant heard ’round the world. So it came as no surprise that the first thing this TV Addict heard as he stepped onto the set of NBC’s upcoming drama KINGS was the reassuring voice of a crew-member saying, “Don’t worry, there are no Christian Bale’s on our set.”
Because we’re not gonna lie: KINGS star Ian McShane kinda scares us. And we’re not alone in feeling that way; It’s safe to say that every one of the bloggers invited to the set that day were tongue-tied as McShane — perhaps best known as foul-mouthed DEADWOOD politico Al Swearengen — took a break from filming his new series to answer a few questions from his captive audience.
There he was, a few feet away, dressed in black and looking slightly disheveld for reasons that I can’t reveal thanks to a 20-page non-disclosure agreement — one which makes any future progeny I might have a slave to NBC/Universal for life if I let slip a single spoiler — I had to sign before being allowed anywhere near the hush-hush set.
McShane looked up. Awkward pause. Dead silence. Crickets chirping.
Until, that is, this TV Addict pushed down his fear and stepped up to the proverbial plate to ask McShane whether he misses the creative freedom that comes with working on a cable channel as opposed to a network. In other words, I basically asked Ian McShane if he misses getting paid big bucks to swear.
“What the f*ck did you say?” shot back the visibly annoyed actor.
An eerie silence enveloped the set and time seemed to stand still. I anxiously awaited the security guard who would no doubt whisk me off the set before the angered actor could throttle the life out of me. My courage waned.
And then, McShane laughed.
As everyone around me breathed a sigh of relief, we realized as one that the star had been doing what he is paid to do: act. Because as we’re told time and again, most thesbians bear little resemblance to the menacing alter egos they play each week. (Note to self: Stop being nervous around ONE TREE HILL’s dastardly Dan, aka Paul Johansson.)
“Milch had his own language for DEADWOOD,” said McShane of that show’s creator/producer/writer, David Milch. The actor went on to add that even without the HBO-inspired freedom to weave tapestries of obscenities, his new series is not exactly kiddie fare. “KINGS really pushes the envelope as far as NBC is concerned,” he admitted before offering up a glimpse into the unusual and yet highly relatable world in which it unfolds. “It is taking a classic story from the Book of Samuel and, in the tradition of great Greek tragedy, if you like, [spinning it as] what you’d call high-class soap opera, as every great story is.”
And although the show takes place in what he likens to an “alternate reality… set in a modern state which happens to be a kingdom using New York as a backdrop so you recognize it but you don’t recognize it,” McShane points out that the series may hit home even more than anyone intended. After all, much of the show focuses on what he calls “an industrial complex which is going to destroy itself, rather reminiscent of modern America!”
Don’t miss the two-hour SEASON PREMIERE of KINGS, Sunday, March 15th, 8/7c