Gods of old and new are at work in the Land of Opportunity, detailed by Neil Gaiman’s in his sci-fi/fantasy classic American Gods. The hit novel is transforming into a TV series via Starz and fans are geeking out; including Orlando Jones, who will be playing the trickster god, Mr. Nancy.

Nancy (or Anansi) is a character Jones has been ogling at since his childhood, when his great grandfather would orate tales of the African god through puffs of cigarette smoke. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would have the opportunity to play the infamous god, but thanks to fan support, his dream has become a reality. And now, viewers get their first look at the actor in-character.

The story follows Shadow Moon, an ex-con who finds himself in the middle of a struggle between the old gods, like Jones’ Anansi and new gods, like Media and Weaponry. The first season will observe the first third of Gaiman’s novel and will focus on establishing who’s who, including Mr. Nancy. Nancy’s on-screen debut is said to make quite an impression, with an eight-page scene showing Anansi’s voyage to America via a slave ship. Below is an image of the character in Vanity Fair:

American Gods Orlando Jones Mr Nancy American Gods: Orlando Jones Debuts as Mr. Nancy in New Image

Jones has had an ample career so far, breaking out on MadTV in the mid-90s and going on to appear in hits like Evolution (2001), Drumline (2002), Adult Swim’s Black Dynamite, and FOX’s Sleepy Hollow to name a few. Jones is a self-professed “fan girl” and took to Twitter to express his obsession with the book to Gaiman himself. When the Twittersphere caught wind of the show’s development, fans immediately began pitching Jones for the role. He told Vanity Fair:

“Of course, I was thinking, Yeah, I don’t know if that’s gonna happen, but that would be completely awesome. Then somehow it actually ended up coming to fruition. I was amazed that the fans were pitching me to Neil without really caring what I thought, but I was super-excited about it.”

American Gods will be brought to the small screen thanks to  Bryan Fuller (Star Trek: Discovery, Hannibal) and Michael Green (Logan, Green Lantern) and the series will premiere in April after a special screening at SXSW on March 11. The show aims to tackle a pretty hot cultural property, which is chock-full of social commentary. It could be dangerous territory for anyone less qualified than Fuller and Green, but based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it’s going to be a new obsession for viewers.

American Gods premieres on Starz on April 30.

Source: Vanity Fair

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