When a guy as opinionated and blunt as Ian McShane tells you something is going to be a head-turner, you turn your head — especially when it's in regard to one of the year's most hyped TV shows, #AmericanGods.
In a panel interview with Deadline this past weekend at the publication's The Contenders Emmys event, the American Horror Story actor waxed lyrical about the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel, and why its going to keep its audience on tenterhooks:
“You know how every show says it’s groundbreaking, it’s game-changing? Well, this one actually might be ... The problem with talking about this show is that you’ve got to see it as it’s being revealed. Nothing is as it seems — ever.”
Set in a modern world in which Gods of old walk among men, it's certainly one of the more ambitious novel-to-TV adaptations we've seen on the small screen. And fans will know that it's not just the fantastical elements — such as a goddess engulfing a man via her vagina — that'll be hard to recreate. McShane explained:
“Ricky’s got the most difficult part, because Shadow Moon is the eyes of the audience — they see the story through him. So he’s not a proactive character. But we found a way of making it into a buddy road movie, which it is, in a sense, for the first three episodes."
So, how did Ricky Whittle — who stars as Shadow Moon — cope with the pressure of portraying such a beloved character, especially considering he hadn't even heard of Neil Gaiman's novel before getting the casting call?
“It came with great pressure. Sixteen years’ worth of fandom craving an adaptation, so you felt the pressure to deliver what they have imagined. But everyone’s imagination is limitless, budgetless and individual, so we had to come as close as we could get.”
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But then again, that's always going to be a problem with recreating preloved material, which is why showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green haven't tackled the project in that way. Whittle continued:
“I started reading the book, and that’s when Bryan and Michael stopped me. They said, ‘Look, we’re not re-creating the book.’ In the book, Shadow Moon is stoic, and internal monologue is abundant. You don’t want to watch a man think every week, so we had to create more layers. He’s more vocal, asks more questions.”
Another question on everyone's lips is how the creators have updated some of the newer gods for the #TV series, particularly that of Technical Boy and Media, given social media's explosion since the book's release in 2001. Fuller offered the following answer:
“We kind of hybridized media and fame into one character, so whenever Media manifests, she manifests as a famous dead person that has contributed greatly to the artistic landscape. So we have her as David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. And the thing that surprised us about Gillian is that not only is she a wonderful mimic, she’s so willing to transform for a role. When she did Marilyn Monroe, we were gobsmacked by how dedicated she was in bringing that character to life.”
Gillian Anderson — who plays Media — dressed up as David Bowie? If you weren't into this series already, no doubt that little golden nugget has twisted your arm!
Read more about the awesome #AmericanGodsCast by clicking through this hashtag, and get a taster of what's to come by checking out the official trailer below:
American Gods premieres on Starz April 30, 9/8c. Are you ready?