‘American Star’ Interview: Ian McShane On Playing An Aging Hitman In An Existential Crisis

Ian McShane never misses his target. The 81-year-old actor has been plying his trade for decades, but he has arguably never been better than as Wilson, the enigmatic hitman at the heart of American Star, McShane’s reunion with Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego. The two previously worked together eight years earlier on The Hollow Point, a new take on the Western genre. For American Star, they offer a fresh spin on the “one last job” hitman film, with McShane once again the coolest killer in the room.

McShane’s Wilson arrives on the island of Fuerteventura, off the coast of Africa, to complete one final assignment. But when the mark isn’t home, Wilson decides to kick his feet up at a nearby resort, where he makes friends with a number of locals, including the beautiful, free-spirited Gloria (Nora Arnezeder), who shows him around the island. As Wilson lets his guard down, those who employed him start to get nervous, and they send someone to keep an eye on him to make sure the job gets done. Meanwhile, Wilson is left to contemplate the life choices he has made, and what a future for someone like him could be.

This was a true labor of love for McShane and López-Gallego, who worked together closely to bring American Star to life and tell this story in the emotionally impactful way they did.

I was fortunate to spend a few minutes speaking with Ian McShane about American Star. We discussed how the project came together, his close working relationship with López-Gallego, his idea of the hitman movie genre, and of course, how he manages to always be so damn cool.

American Star is available now in theaters and VOD. You can check out my review here and the interview below.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.