Neil Gaiman’s best-selling fantasy novel American Gods comes to Starz in an eye-popping and fantastic series from co-creators, writers and showrunners Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Heroes) and Michael Green (Logan). In this modern tale, war is brewing between Old Gods, whose backgrounds come from global mythology, and new deities, who seduce followers into worshiping money, technology and celebrity. Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is an ex-con who becomes the bodyguard of charming con-man Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), but unbeknownst to Shadow, Mr. Wednesday is a powerful old deity on a mission to reclaim his lost glory.
Check out the trailer for American Gods (Warning: NSFW Language and Violence)
As Shadow and Mr. Wednesday road-trip across America, viewers see that in this hyper-stylized and hyper-violent universe (think the movie 300), fame equals power. Old Gods have been forgotten and lost, and slick New Gods incite fervent worship. For a layperson like Shadow, understanding this concept seems paramount to believing in the impossible. Whittle poses the question on his character’s mind: “Is he going crazy or is the world crazy?” As Shadow witnesses fantastical things happening around him, he struggles to push aside his desire for logic and reason.
“Only so many kinds of fantastical events can be put in front of you before you really have to start either believing in the magic in the world, or basically your world is unraveling and that maybe there’s something wrong with yourself,” explains Whittle.
To populate Gaiman’s rich world, Starz has gathered acting talent that wows even its star. “In my opinion, it’s the best ensemble cast I’ve ever seen on television,” says Whittle, who marvels that his costars include McShane, Kristin Chenoweth, Crispin Glover, Cloris Leachman, Pablo Schreiber, Emily Browning, Orlando Jones, Peter Stormare and Gillian Anderson. “It’s kind of an epic battle of the minds,” he teases.
American Gods welcomes newbies into its visually sumptuous world, and offers plenty of surprises to longtime fans. “Those hardcore Neil Gaiman fans that know the book inside out, they’re the ones who are going to say, ‘Oh wow. That’s later on in the book,’ and ‘Oh, this bit has been brought forward,’ and ‘He didn’t say that, she says that,’” Whittle laughs. “We’re going to follow the book and everything that they love in the book is going to be in the show, but not necessarily in that order.”
American Gods > Starz > Sundays at 9/8c, beginning April 30