Buzz is steadily building around the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Even without a firm premiere date, the series is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about new programs of 2017, and there’s been a near-daily avalanche of news and information to stoke the fires of desire among the novel’s many faithful.
While the network has been busy filling out the cast for Bryan Fuller’s (Hannibal) adaptation, the series has been in production for some time now. Previously, Gaiman himself praised the early footage, leaving many wondering what the series would look like when it finally premieres. How would Ian McShane (Deadwood) look as the mysterious Mr. Wednesday? Would Ricky Whittle (The 100) be able to accurately fill the role of Shadow Moon? Now, for the first time, fans have the opportunity to see for themselves.
A series of photos from the series were released via EW, giving audiences their first glimpse at the stars of American Gods, along with a look at Jack’s Crocodile Bar -- one of the more famous settings from Gaiman’s novel -- as well as actor Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black) as Mad Sweeney. While the images themselves appear somewhat staged for photography, we do get a sense of how Fuller plans to bring the bizarre world of American Gods to life, and so far things look pretty good.
Along with the photos, Fuller discussed the project at some length, laying out his vision for the series as well as the actors portraying Gaiman’s famous characters. As to the set of the Crocodile Bar, Fuller said:
“It was one of the sets that we were the most excited about and an opportunity to do a tonal landgrab for what we are and what the style of the show will be. [Jack’s] is a kind of hillbilly chic aesthetic for Shadow’s entrée into the world of the gods.”
If the idea of gods, be they old or new, sitting around in bars getting drunk is strange to you, that’s sort of the point. Fuller’s partner in the series, Michael Green (Heroes), offers his own insight into the nature of the narrative and the world it presents as a sort of mirror to our own.
“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.”
It's this idea of survival that fuels Mr. Wednesday’s quest; how are he and his cohorts to continue their existence in a world that has largely forgotten them? It’s a difficult task for an actor to undertake, but Fuller had nothing but praise for McShane and his performance.
“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.”
Whittle, on the other hand, offers an impressive counter to McShane, according to Fuller. As a character, Mr. Wednesday has a sort of irreverence about him that often clashes with Shadow Moon’s overt seriousness, which, according to Fuller, made Whittle perfect for the role.
"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.”
It takes a special kind of mortal to win not only the favor of a god, but a genuine respect. It will be interesting to see how McShane and Whittle interact on screen, but it’s difficult not to get excited seeing the dapper Mr. Wednesday stare astonished at Shadow Moon as he holds his own in a bar fight of the gods. Even the set, which is inherently sort of ridiculous and could only come from the mind of Gaiman, looks amazing in its actualized form.
It’ll be some time before the fruits of Fuller’s labor come to life on TV, but with everything that has been heard, and now seen, it doesn’t seem as though the buzz for American Gods will be dying down anytime soon. There is sure to be more information as the months go on, and Screen Rant keep you updated on all news as it develops.
American Gods is expected to air some time in 2017 on Starz.