Ian McShane and David Milch Talk Returning to 'Deadwood'

Deadwood Premiere-Getty-H 2019
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

13 years after HBO abruptly canceled its Western series Deadwood after three seasons, the citizens of the South Dakota town are ready to ride again.

Ahead of the Deadwood movie airing on the premium cable channel on May 31, series creator David Milch and stars Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane and Robin Weigert, among others, hit the red carpet at the Arclight Hollywood on Tuesday night.

For years after Deadwood ended without a true resolution in 2006, fans heard rumors of a movie, and now more than a decade after the final episode aired, they’ll finally learn what happened to their favorite characters.

Milch was greeted with a sustained standing ovation when he addressed the audience inside the Arclight’s Cinerama Dome.

“Being here with you all again reminds me of the transformative power of our work. Coming together to create something that reflects the fullness of life in all its beginnings and endings, sorrows and joys and it is the greatest affirmation of hope and purpose that I could ask for.”

The film picks up 10 years after the final episode of the series and nearly the entire cast returned.

McShane, who plays the devious bar owner Al Swearengen, told The Hollywood Reporter what it was like to step back into Deadwood after so many years away from the part.

“Surreal. Out of body," he said. "I put the suit on and it was like I was back home again.”

He also credited his eagerness to work with Milch again as his reason for returning to the role.

“He’s a bit of a genius, David; he’s one of those people. It’s always good to have someone in the room with a bigger brain than anybody else," McShane said. "He’s the creator. He’s the storyteller, and of course I’m really playing him in a sense. Al is based on David, and so it was an honor and a pleasure.”

The closeness of the cast was apparent on the red carpet with several of the actors using the word "family" to describe the bond they shared even a decade after the show’s end. Some of the actors still play poker together and McShane hosts a Deadwood reunion breakfast twice a year.

Robin Weigert returns as Calamity Jane and she shared with THR why actors love working with Milch.

“I think the things about ourselves that we hate or fear are the things he sees in us right away that he most loves and cherishes," she said. "I think that because he’s lived an interesting and complicated life himself he’s not going to see that thing with anything but the utmost love. So what he bestows on you when he writes your character is a version of that thing that you think you’d better hide away that you can bring out into the sunlight.”

Following the screening, the cast and crew headed across the street where Le Jardin was transformed into a miniature Deadwood, complete with a casino, saloon and even a jail cell photo booth. The dinner buffet featured grilled brussels sprouts, fresh biscuits with butter and mesquite grilled New York steak.

The party had the energy of a high school reunion as cast members reunited and celebrated one last return to Deadwood.