Ian McShane is a revered and accomplished British actor whose career dates back to the early 1960s. His breakout role came in 2000, when he played the amoral, serpentine mob boss, Teddy Bass, in Sexy Beast, a brutal crime thriller that also starred Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley (in one of his most thoroughly entertaining roles). But American audiences probably knew him best as the infamous (and quasi-historical) Al Swearengen in David Milch’s classic anti-Western Deadwood — a role now firmly entrenched in American pop culture.
McShane is undoubtedly one of the greatest character actors working today, he’s played everything from pirate to hitman to martial arts tiger to the Norse God Odin himself, all with one thing in common: they’re all take-no-shit, total badasses! THR‘s announcement of McShane joining Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot is absolutely huge news, which vaults this film to the top of my must-see movies of 2018 (if it wasn’t already).
McShane will play Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm, an expert in the occult who discovers (and later adopts) a very young Hellboy during WWII. Broom is a key figure in Mike Mignola’s long-running series of comics and graphic novels. He is not only a father to Hellboy, steering both his maturity and morality, but he also founded the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), essentially the paranormal version of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the Guillermo del Toro Hellboy films, Broom was played by the late John Hurt (Alien), who brought depth and sincerity to the role — Hurt was the quiet anchor in these films. McShane, to my mind, is one of a very few actors with the gravitas and range who could presume to succeed Hurt. McShane is a much different type of actor than Hurt, so its exciting to consider what he’ll bring to Broom. Additionally, Broom’s presence also implies that the B.P.R.D. will be a crucial element in this story.
One of the major hurdles for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen to clear is converting hardcore Hellboy fans, many of whom are still on the fence regarding this reboot. Casting David Harbour, hiring Neil Marshall, and focusing on an R-Rating has certainly raised expectations, but adding McShane to the project could be a game-changer. Next step will be casting the rest of Hellboy’s team (Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, Liz Sherman, Johann Kraus, etc.)
Oh, one more thing: production is expected to get rolling this September — it’s a great time to be a Hellboy fan!
How do you think McShane will portray Professor Broom? Does this news raise or lower your expectations for the reboot? Let us know in the comments down below!
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen hits theaters in 2018 (TBD).
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