The long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel American Gods is nearly here, in the form of a TV show on Starz created by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Heroes). The show will follow recently-released ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) as he embarks on a bizarre road trip with a stranger called Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), and becomes embroiled in a war between the fading old gods of America, and the rising new gods of the modern world.
As evidenced by the thrilling trailer that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con this year, American Gods has assembled a stellar cast that includes Gillian Anderson as Media (one of the new gods), Emily Browning as Shadow’s undead wife Laura, Peter Stormare as Czernobog and Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney (both old gods). With filming still underway, American Gods has just added another great actor to its cast, in an intriguing new role.
As reported by EW, Jeremy Davies (Lost) is set to play Jesus – yes, that Jesus – in the upcoming series. Those who are familiar with Gaiman’s novel will likely recall that Jesus doesn’t figure into it very much (he does get a brief mention and also appears in the postscript), but the EW report includes a character description which explains that he has ties to Ostara a.k.a. Easter (Kristin Chenoweth):
Resurrected on Ostara’s feast day, Jesus has always been generous in sharing the Easter holiday with the ancient goddess. But the overly empathetic Son of God would be crushed to know that Ostara harbors some deeply buried resentment over the issue.
In American Gods‘ postscript (which was only included in certain editions of the book), Jesus is described as having a beard and wearing a baseball cap, and has some interesting insights to share about what it means to become a god. The novel generally skirts around the inclusion of mainstream religions, instead focusing on forgotten gods from the Norse and Egyptian pantheons, and unofficial gods like media and technology, which people worship by staying glued to their smartphones all day. However, there is surely an interesting space for a character like Jesus in the TV show, especially given the novel’s central theme of sacrifice and tribute.
Moreover, Davies is a valuable addition to any TV show’s cast. Comic book fans may recognize him as playing the ill-fated Ritchie Simpson in NBC’s equally ill-fated series Constantine, and he also had a guest role in Hannibal. His film credits include Saving Private Ryan, Secretary, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Let’s hope he gets some substantial screen time in American Gods.
American Gods will arrive on Starz in 2017.