When it comes to American Gods, Shadow Moon is the hero and Wednesday/Odin is the puppet master, but Mad Sweeney might be the most interesting character on the show.
The Leprechaun lost all his luck thanks to Shadow Moon giving his lucky coin to his dead wife Laura. With the coin bringing Laura back to life, Mad Sweeney gets more and more unlucky the further he gets from Laura.
With Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon the most interesting pairing on the show, it almost makes it easy to wish the Leprechaun could get his luck back even more than we wish Shadow could get Laura back.
Who plays Mad Sweeney in American Gods?
Pablo Schreiber is the man who plays Mad Sweeney on American Gods.
Schreiber got his big break when he showed up in the extremely popular HBO drama series The Wire in season 2 as Nick Sobotka.
He followed that up with roles on Lights Out and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the movies The Manchurian Candidate and Lords of Dogtown.
However, his true breakout came with American Gods as the unlucky Leprechaun Mad Sweeney.
Is Pablo Schrieber related to Liev Schrieber?
For people who see the name Pablo Schreiber and think it looks familiar, that is because he is the half brother to Liev Schreiber.
Most fans know Liev from his breakout role in the Scream movie franchise, although he is starring in his own successful TV show on Showtime called Ray Donovan. He also appeared in the X-Men franchise as Sabretooth.
Liev Schreiber starred in The Manchurian Candidate, which is likely how Pablo Schrieber got his role in that movie.
What is Mad Sweeney based on?
As for Mad Sweeney, Pablo Schreiber was able to bring the character to life in a way that has made him one of the most entertaining parts of American Gods.
As for the basis of Mad Sweeney, he is an Irish sprite — a Leprechaun that proves that the idea they are “little people” was a joke since most of them were taller than normal humans.
There is also the thought that Mad Sweeney might be a Leprechaun but is slightly based on the Irish medieval story Buile Suibhne (The Frenzy of Sweeney), where a ruler attacks a saint and is driven crazy by a curse.
Mad Sweeney has mentioned on more than one occasion that he was once a king, which makes it seem that the idea of him being a basic Leprechaun is not quite the total truth in this character’s past.
American Gods airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.