Fans of the Starz hit drama “American Gods,” have come to know the character of Mad Sweeney as an abnormally tall, out-on-his-luck leprechaun with a mean right hook.
Throughout the show’s two seasons, Sweeney, played by Pablo Schreiber, has dropped hints that his past may stretch further than a rainbow to a pot of gold. On Sunday, viewers will finally find out who Sweeney really is.
“He’s never been a leprechaun,” Schreiber told TheWrap. “We meet the character of Mad Sweeney in Season 1, episode 1, when he describes himself as a leprechaun. By the last time we see him in Season 2… we sort of finally realize what that meant, and that there was a certain irony to him calling himself a leprechaun.”
Schreiber has made a career out of playing quirky characters, from “Pornstache,” a corrupt prison guard in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” (the role won him an Emmy) to Dimitri Ravitch, an ex-con drug dealer on “Weeds.”
Playing a leprechaun was never on his bucket list.
“When you’re 6’5” it doesn’t really come up,” Schreiber said. “I’m very thankful that it did fall in my lap… It’s been honestly one of the greater adventures of my career.”
“American Gods” is based on Neil Gaiman’s bestselling novel of the same name. Co-starring Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle, the show centers around an impending war between the Old Gods, comprised of traditional mythological deities, and the New Gods, representing society’s modern devotion to money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.
Sunday’s episode will focus on Sweeney’s backstory and his complicated relationship with McShane’s character, Mr. Wednesday.
“We’re going to tell about 6,000 years of Sweeney-related history in the course of this episode,” Schreiber said. “He figures out his history and who he is as the course of the episode goes on and it’s a bit of a reverse descent into madness.”
Sweeney will journey to Cairo, Illinois, to link up with Shadow and Wednesday with one thing on his mind, according to Schrieber: revenge.
“He’s decided that Wednesday is the source of his problems,” Schreiber said. “He’s going to attempt to right the wrongs of history and create some honor for himself.”
Asked whether fans could expect to see Sweeney in the finale or Season 3, Schreiber played coy.
“Yes, you can expect anything , totally fine,” he said. “You won’t always get what you expect.”
Watch the full interview with Schreiber above.
“American Gods” Episode airs Sunday at 8 on Starz.