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Ian McShane is a big Atlanta fan, praises Donald Glover's "marvelous mystique"

Photo: Juan Naharro Gimenez (Getty Images)

It’s testament to Ian McShane’s strength as an actor that, after watching Deadwood, it becomes all but impossible to see or hear him and not think he’s actually the show’s monstrous saloon owner, Al Swearengen. Because of this, hearing his opinions on current TV shows—like that he loves High Maintenance and Atlanta—means readjusting from fantasy to reality.

Well, try to whisk away an image of Swearengen swigging a bottle of whiskey in his old timey jammies, kicking back after a long day of crime to catch up on his stories, because McShane stopped by Variety’s “My Favorite Episode” podcast to talk about the shows he, not Al, is into these days.


Aside from the welcome information that McShane still watches the occasional Deadwood episode and thinks, “smiling to myself, ‘it’s a really good show!’” we also learn that the actor loves Atlanta—specifically the episode, “Barbershop,” which follows Brian Tyree Henry’s Alfred on a tortured quest to get his hair cut.

“It was half an hour of pure delight,” he says, “You never know what’s coming next. It’s a very fabulously entertaining show.”


McShane also talks about how much he enjoys High Maintenance, which he says he likes, in part, because Ben Sinclair’s weed-delivering The Guy is “sweet” and “doesn’t judge anybody,” even when he ends up dealing with situations containing “some extraordinarily graphic stuff.”

“Same with Atlanta,” he says. “They’re not judging anybody, they’re just living their life, getting on with it in Atlanta.” McShane’s praise extends to Donald Glover, who he calls “hugely talented.”


“His music is seriously good,” he mentions. “He appears to be a very laid-back guy, which only adds to that marvelous mystique.”

That last turn of phrase, which shows that McShane missed a career naming superheroes alongside Stan Lee, is even better when heard in the actor’s rich tones. Read the rest of the interview highlights and find a link to the podcast to hear it for yourself on Variety.


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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.