After numerous attempts to adapt Neil Gaiman’s famous American Gods, Starz is succeeding with an upcoming TV series. With showrunners (Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller and The River’s Michael Green) and its leading man (The 100’s Ricky Whittle), the network has formally announced newer additions to the cast.
Actor Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) will take the role of Mad Sweeney, described as “a down on his luck leprechaun, who is having a hard time understanding how he lost his charm and way.” Joining him are Nigerian actress Yetide Badaki (Masters of Sex) as an ancient goddess of love called Bilquis, and newcomer Bruce Langley (Deadly Waters) as a “New God” of technology called Technician Boy.
Gaiman’s American Gods envisions a war between the old gods of various ancient mythologies and the New Gods, a new pantheon that embodies the modern world’s devout faith in money, technology, media, celebrity, and drugs. The story centers around an ex-con named Shadow Moon (Whittle), who’s recruited as the bodyguard for Mr. Wednesday, a mysterious conman who turns out to be one of the old gods recruiting his forces to clash against the New.
Fuller & co. have been teasing some changes that are coming to the series. For example, the showrunner described it as “much more of an ensemble” work, as opposed to Shadow Moon being the central focus. He also told Collider that Badaki’s Bilquis, who has a small role in the book, has “a huge arc and is a very important character for the show.”
Ian McShane takes the role of Mr. Wednesday while Emily Browning (Legend with Tom Hardy) was announced last week to play Shadow’s wife, Laura Moon, who Fuller told Collider is another “huge character on the show.” In addition to taking some liberties with the plot, pointing out that only a portion of the book will be tackled in season 1, Fuller remarked that the casting will be just as diverse as the source material. “Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jaquel have to look like they belong in ancient Egypt. Not Middle Eastern Egypt, but black Egypt,” he said, adding that they’re “beefing up some of the female characters to even out the world a little bit.”
It almost doesn’t seem real that American Gods is finally happening after such a long road in development hell, and each new tidbit that is revealed makes this project seem too good to be true.