Ian McShane will star in 'Last King of the Cross'. (Photo: Sam Jones)

Ian McShane is the latest actor to be added to the line-up for Paramount+ drama Last King of the Cross.

The Brit, star of Deadwood and John Wick: Chapter 4, will play lead antagonist Ezra Shipman, starring opposite Lincoln Younes as nightclub mogul John Ibrahim.

Last King of the Cross is one of the first projects off the blocks for Mark Fennessy’s new venture, Helium, in addition to be one of the first major local dramas for Paramount+.

Based on the best-selling autobiography of John Ibrahim, Last King of The Cross is an operatic story of two brothers, Sam and John, one worshipped by his father and the other scorned. In organising the street, they lose each other across their ascent to power.

McShane will bring to life the fictional character of Ezra Shipman – the reigning King of The Cross.

Wily and much-celebrated, Ezra has a gift for all things business, be that the stock market or overseeing the illegal gambling, prostitution, and strip joints.

For three generations Ezra has been the most powerful and most feared man in Sydney, but now he is confronting his looming mortality. For all his power and material success, and all he has had to do to maintain it, there is no one to continue his legacy.

Enter John Ibrahim (Younes) an adolescent facsimile of Ezra: young, brash, ambitious, and intelligent. Seeing the opportunity to extend his reign, Ezra takes the young John into his inner circle as his acolyte. But who is exploiting who?

A 10-part drama, it is written and to be directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith, and produced by Fennessy with Karl Zwicky. Production is expected to begin in May in Sydney.

Fennessy said: “From Winston to Blackbeard, Al Swearengen to Mr Wednesday, Ian McShane’s on-screen characterisations are the epitome of compelling masterpieces, and we cannot wait for the world to meet Ezra Shipman.”

Paramount ANZ senior vice president, content and programming, Daniel Monaghan said: “We are incredibly thrilled to have an actor of Ian McShane’s calibre and body of work, join our very own rising star Lincoln Younes, to tell this unique and captivating Australian story set amongst one of our country’s most iconic and notorious backdrops.”

Cineflix Rights is the exclusive international distribution partner. 

McShane is represented by ICM Partners, Independent Talent Group, Gallant Management, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.

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