First look at American Gods

Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly has just released a couple of photos from the set of the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods novel.

American Gods explores the idea that various deities and mythological creatures’ existence is fueled by people’s belief in them. With the waning of belief in ancient beings, a new generation of gods has emerged as reflections of American popular culture, including media, celebrity, technology, and drugs. The protagonist is a recently released convict named Shadow (played by Ricky Whittle), who meets a mysterious figure called Mr. Wednesday (played by Ian McShane) who offers him a job as his bodyguard. This encounter eventually leads to a long and fascinating journey across America.

The first photos show a scene between Shadow in a fight with Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), while Mr. Wednesday looks on with amusement. The setting is in the Crocodile Bar, a venue familiar to fans of the book.

American Gods executive producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) praised McShane’s performance as Mr. Wednesday:

“I think the comedy and charm and ease of Wednesday’s appeal is very well-suited for Ian McShane…He has a vibrancy as Wednesday that could have gone so many different ways in other actors’ hands, but has such a specificity and reality, despite the situation at hand.”

Fuller also praised Whittle as the stoic Shadow:

“There’s where Ricky has been such a boon…His experience of [the world of the gods] is very genuine and grounded, and we want to watch him be introduced to and beaten up by this new reality.”

Fuller also expressed his admiration for the source material:

“Neil created this wonderfully stuffed toy box filled with all sorts of cultural points of view on how American operates as a system, and that was so fascinating and mythological in and of itself.”

Co-producer Michael Green (Heroes) also added:

“It’s really much more of an immigration story than it is a god story…One of the biggest challenges was stripping the idea of gods as X-Men or giant empowered creatures who stomp on cities and throw the oceans. We wanted them to be people with problems. It’s not about lightning bolts – it’s about the question of day-to-day survival.”

This follows the latest casting news for the show. According to EW, Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow) was recently cast as Mr. Nancy, the human form of the West African trickster god, Anansi, who is traditionally depicted as a spider and who is fond of telling amusing stories.

Demore Barnes (12 Monkeys) was cast as Mr. Ibis, who runs a funeral parlor and who is “the keeper of stories, past and present, and he recounts them with great relish.”

Watch this space for more developments on American Gods.