The heavy weight actor, Ian McShane teamed up again with Spanish director, Gonzalo López-Gallego for American Star. McShane plays Wilson, the seasoned assassin. The film gave me the impression of the story of the previous life of Winston in the John Wick series, the character that McShane played.
Q: You are about 80 years old, but you are very active and keep running not only as an actor, but also in this film, as a producer. Do you feel you can see more things than before? At what moment did you realize “Oh, yeah, I am over 80”?
No, actors don’t get old, they just lose their scripts. You know, I mean, that’s it. You’re lucky to be working. I mean, you’re working in this profession until whether it gives you up or you give it up or whatever. Anyway, I’m lucky enough to be still doing it and working with gifted people like Gonzalo (Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, director). Gonzalo and I like working with each other. He came up with this idea, he had this script about this character, Wilson, who was older. And I said, fine, and carry on with it. And we reacted. And then it became a metaphor for the American Star because Gonzalo lives in the Canary Islands. And he found out about the American Star, the ship that went down there, the metaphor between Wilson being old and then Wilson. He does his own, he, as he says, he should go in, do the job, get out. He goes in, the job is flawed, but he doesn’t get out, he stays. But what ensues is probably something that will enhance his life, even if only for those few days, more than it has been for the past years. The fact is something about the island attracts him, about the situations he gets into there, even though they are detrimental to his well-being, if you like, in the end. But he experiences more of life in those few days than he has done for a while. And that’s the story of our life itself. Even at that age, when nobody says how old he is, but how old he is, he’s been, the last few days of your life have been fulfilled emotionally more than they have for a long, long, long, long time. And with a long, long explanation.
Q: Wilson, the character faced unexpected turns. Could you talk about any of your unexpected experiences in your life?
Life is unexpected. I’ll leave it with that. You never know what’s around the corner. Yeah. I’ve been, you know, you never know. It’s like saying this, unexpected that we (McShane and López-Gallego)worked together 10 years ago in a movie. Yeah, it was a different cast. I mean, I was always around. I said, but if I’m not around, you (Gonzalo) should make it. Fortuitously, it came around and that was it. This one I was always going to, we were always going to do together, this one. And fortunately, we found a producer I did another movie with called Jawbone, which is about boxing, a British independent movie which Michael Elliott was in and I brought Mike into this mix with Gonzalo and his Spanish producers Pedro (Pedro Hernandez Santos) and the writer Nacho (Nacho Faerna) and uh, and sure enough early 2022, we made it on this island which is extraordinary, Fuerteventura.
Q: I like the scene where you play with Max (Oscar Coleman), the boy. I can see you are really good at playing with kids. You have some grandchildren yourself. What do you find yourself to play with your grandchildren? In Japan, we have this idiom. “Grandparents won’t feel any pain even if they put their grandchildren in their eyes.” So, Ian, what do you find yourself to play with your own grandchildren?
They’re very grown up. But I’d love to say my grandchildren are still at that stage, but I love them when they were babies and then they’re no longer babies, but now they’re all pretty responsible grown-ups and out there in the world and it’s a shame. I mean, you want them to remain Oscar’s age forever, such a great age. I mean, he has children that age, you know? I have grandchildren. I have ties over the years, that’s all.
Q: Could you give some advice to the people who want to be actors?
Follow your dreams, and if you’re any good, I don’t know. If you’re any good, it’s the most disappointing profession in the world. I mean, I’ve been to drama school with terrific actors who never got a break and gave it up. So it’s a lot of luck, a lot of perseverance. And, you know, follow your dream, baby. That’s all I can say.
American Star is now playing in theaters.
Edited by Seana Magee