Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed novel of ancient legend versus the modern world, American Gods is a tale abundant with on screen adaptation potential. Starz’ development of the book into a fantasy TV series has the enthusiastic support of its author in writing and executive producing roles, with the expertise of Brian Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Heroes) as co-showrunners. In addition to this reassuring ensemble, the project has attracted an outstanding cast of talent including Ian McShane (Deadwood), Ricky Whittle (The 100), Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow) and the phenomenal Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, Hannibal) in key roles.
As with any adaptation of popular cult source material such as Gaiman’s, the existing fan base will be eager to glimpse how the world and characters will be represented visually as the project develops. Starz offered first glimpses of McShane and Whittle in action as the enigmatic rascal Mr Wednesday and the broodingly aloof Shadow moon in June 2016, and now a somewhat vague first look at Anderson’s intriguing character Media has been revealed to tease excited fans – with some familiar iconic styling.
American Gods focuses on the concepts of folklore and the literal ramifications of belief against the backdrop of symbolic Americana. Gaiman draws from the multicultural mixing pot of pagan ideologies collated by the diversity of immigrants that founded the American population. The author anthropomorphically personifies these “old Gods” as eccentric characters masquerading in society as they try to survive the waning faith of their believers and their consequential loss of power. The story follows an unlikely duo – old God Mr Wednesday and his new found employee, the ex-con Shadow Moon – on a recruitment mission across America with a plot to wage war against the new Gods of modern worship – such as Media, Technology and Money.
In the fifteen years since the novel’s release in 2001, human desire for the new fields of worship have grown and the industries have evolved to answer these needs – events that leave Gaiman’s new God characters flexible to creative interpretation within the upcoming adaptation. Anderson’s character Media has been reported to gain power from screen worship, emblematizing this theme by appearing as various celebrities. From this image (see below) revealed by Anderson via Twitter, one of those celebrities the actress will evoke is the iconic Marilyn Monroe (as Media does in Gaiman’s novel, too).
From Anderson’s renowned career to date, captivating audiences with multifaceted shades of sensuality is something the actress has proven adept at, so it will be a treat for fans to see her take on a representation of the sexy film icon – in what will probably be an exaggerated and indicative performance within this context. As one of the new God characters, Media will serve as a device for cultural commentary in the series, giving Anderson additional subtext to work with – something it takes an accomplished actress to seamlessly achieve. Anderson’s casting in this role continues to look very promising.
As this image teases Monroe, fans are bound to begin to speculate about which other celebrities we may get to see Anderson emulate within American Gods, who will be cast in the roles of the other new Gods for the series, and how the potentially satisfying on-screen chemistry between the existing cast members will play out. We at Screen Rant will keep you up to date with all news about American Gods as it develops.
American Gods is expected to air on Starz in 2017.
Source: Gillian Anderson
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