The television adaptation of American Gods is nearing its Starz debut and, for fans of author Neil Gaiman, there can be no more momentous occasion. Equally eager for the premiere, of course, is its stars, who are hoping the adaptation will accurately bring Gaiman’s characters to life for millions of viewers. For Ricky Whittle, who plays Shadow Moon in the series, working on American Gods has given him a unique gift: it made him a Neil Gaiman fan. Now, as the American Gods premiere looms just one week away, Whittle reveals how acting in the new series has turned him into a fan of that artistically written source material.
American Gods May Make Neil Gaiman Fans of Us All
Ricky Whittle plays the lead character Shadow Moon in American Gods, but he tells Gizmodo that, before being cast in the role, he had never read the Gaiman source book. Upon getting cast, however, Ricky did read the book and the actor says he was “blown away” by the novel, sharing that he is now a huge fan of Gaiman and of the work Bryan Fuller has done in adaptating the novel for Starz.
In fact, Whittle may now be Neil Gaiman’s biggest fan.
“It was a page-turner. The scripts were page-turners. And the episodes Ive been watching of the show made me want to binge watch the whole season. I want season two already. It’s incredible work. The storytelling is fantastic.”
The American Gods actor shares that even devout readers of the novel will be surprised, because, in adapting the book, Fuller has had to change certain elements of the story. Ricky says the entire book is still told in the American Gods series, but the show will add some things and change the timeline a bit.
Whittle says the season finale will be a surprise for everyone, even those who have read the books. The American Gods star predicts everyone will be pleasantly surprised.
A Primer: Who’s Who in American Gods
Unless you’ve recently read the Neil Gaiman book, it’s easy to feel confused about the cast of characters, but, fortunately for those eager to catch the Starz premiere, The Hollywood Reporter has dug a little deeper into the show. A look at the American Gods characters will reveal the plot of the show, as well as helping fans familiarize themselves with the unique cast of characters from gods to ordinary humans.
Ricky Whittle, of course, plays Shadow Moon, a convicted criminal about to be released from prison. A personal tragedy leaves Shadow out on the streets earlier than expected, until a surprise visit from Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) alters his destiny.
The mysterious Mr. Wednesday will later be revealed as an old god, though which one will stay undisclosed until the appropriate time. What is important to know about this American Gods character is that he needs Shadow’s expertise as a body guard and con man in his quest to rouse the other gods in preparation for war.
Among those this unlikely pair seeks out is Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), a very tall and rambunctious leprechaun. Also recruited by Mr. Wednesday is Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones), a god from West Africa with a talent for storytelling and trickery. The West African god is very good at getting people to do his bidding.
Zorya Vechernyaya (Cloris Leachman) is a Slavic god, one of a trio responsible for ensuring that the world continues as it is, which she does by keeping the stars in check.
Peter Stormare comes to American Gods as Czernobog, a Slavic god resembling Marvel’s Thor in that he carries a monumental hammer and has a hunger for battle.
Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) is the god of love, lust, and sexual devotion. While the character may not have had a prominent role in the Neil Gaiman book, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that she will have an expanded story arc for the American Gods series.
Of course, the aforementioned old gods will have their work cut out for them, as they go up against the new gods. Among those antagonists is Technical Boy (Bruce Langley), who might best be described as an internet troll on steroids.
Gillian Anderson made big news, when she was cast in American Gods, which might be a bit ironic, since she has been selected to play Media. This new god is a master of disguise, capable of taking on multiple forms. In fact, her first incarnation will be that of Lucille Ball.
Finally, there’s Mr. World (Crispin Glover), who might be best described as the commander of the new gods and who is definitely Mr. Wednesday’s nemesis.
Aside from Shadow and the gods, Emily Browning joins American Gods as Laura Moon, Shadow’s wife and a compelling character all her own. Like Mr. Wednesday, Laura is on a journey and it’s one that has been expanded beyond her story in the Gaiman novel.
American Gods is set to premiere on Sunday, April 30 on Starz.
[Featured Image by Starz]