It’s finally happening! After various attempts to bring an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to the screen in one form or another, there was the teensiest bit of skepticism when Starz announced development of a TV series. After all, HBO was interested in the property at one point, but soon dropped it from its plans. Now, a showrunner has been knighted, a cast has been assembled, and this week marks the start of production, officially easing fans’ fears.
American Gods is Gaiman’s most famous work, other than, perhaps, Sandman, which is still being developed for a feature film treatment despite the dropout of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It tells the story of a war between the old gods of classical mythology and the new ones invented by man (i.e. money, technology, drugs, celebrity, etc.). One man is caught in the middle, a man named Shadow Moon, who’s enlisted to be the chauffeur/muscle of Mr. Wednesday, who is definitely more than he seems.
Ricky Whittle, who played Lincoln on The 100, has the honor of playing Shadow alongside Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday. With the start of production brings word from Starz of a handful of other actors joining the already extensive cast.
Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope) will play Zorya Vechernyaya, “the eldest of three sisters who watch over the constellations, guarding against horrors forgotten by modern man. Once accustomed to royal status, the sisters have learned to survive on far less in a country that has no memory of them.” Peter Stormare (Fargo) plays Czernobog, a “Slavic god of darkness and evil” who “is reluctant to join the coming war, wary of Wednesday’s motivations.” Chris Obi (The Counselor) as Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god of the dead who guides mortals through the judgement of their souls. The last addition is Mousa Kraish (Superbad) as The Jinn, a mythic creature of flame and desire who considers fleeing America as he fears for his safety during the coming war.
Already announced in the cast are Emily Browning (Legend) as Laura Moon, Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) as the leprechaun Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki (Masters of Sex) as ancient goddess of love Bilquis, Bruce Langley (Deadly Waters) as a New God named Technical Boy, Crispin Glover (Back to the Future) as Mr. World, and Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom) as Low Key Lyesmith.
Bryan Fuller, the man behind NBC’s Hannibal, has found a new and equally exciting gig as the co-showrunner of American Gods alongside Michael Green. As they previewed for Collider, the 10-episode season 1 will be taking some liberties with the source material, such as beefing up the female roles, especially Laura Moon whom is described as “a huge character” in the series.
See the first photos from production below.