The most exciting thing about the Starz TV adaptation of American Gods being at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, was that we might get to see the first trailer. That, as we now know, became a reality.
But a panel for the show was also held, and cast and crew including author Neil Gaiman, showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, director David Slade, and stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Badaki, and Bruce Langley discussed the series.
Check out some of the highlights of the panel below.
Gaiman revealed that the creation of American Gods actually had ties to Comic-Con. The author took a three-day train ride from Chicago to the convention back in 1999. It was on this lengthy trip across part of the country that he penned the first chapter of the book.
The topic of adapting Gaiman’s novel then came up. Slade said:
“You look at it and itâ€™s so big and massive that it canâ€™t even be approached, and then you break it down into little post-it notes. [It works] because of Michael and Bryan, you can be completely weird and entirely cinematic.”
Fuller continued “It becomes fanfiction in a wonderful way. Weâ€™re dedicated to the source, but weâ€™re also tasked with bringing it to television,” with Green adding “Itâ€™s also nice if youâ€™re stuck that you can send an email to the author for advice.”
Some of the actors had to really earn the job, including Whittle, who plays the lead role of Shadow Moon. According to Gaiman they put him “through the wringer,” and Whittle said he had to do 16 audition takes. Yetide Badaki, who plays Bilquis, also had a tough audition. She had to do what’s referred to as “The Scene” for her audition. If you’ve read the book you know what this is. If not, well… just know it likely was not very comfortable. Ian McShane, who plays Mr. Wednesday and is a well-established actor, had it easy. It took just a phone call to Gaiman, who was heavily involved in casting. McShane said “I had no intention of coming back to any form of television production, but then I read this.”
Everyone should read American Gods if they haven’t at some point, but if you were worried about whether or not you’ll be able to enjoy the show if you haven’t read the book, Fuller assures “We’ll take care of you if you haven’t.”
Gaiman talked on this much more, revealing that there is a ton of content that never made it into the book that can become part of the TV series and maybe even another book:
“If youâ€™ve read the book, you are definitely ahead, but we have surprises for you, too. We have things that will puzzle you. And we get to spend a lot more time with a lot more people.
When I handed in the original manuscript they made me cut 10-15,000 words. By the way, hereâ€™s 4,000 years of backstory on Mad Sweeney. I wanted to do a story set in a Japanese internment camp in the U.S. during the Second World War that would have been a kitsune story. So maybe Bryan can do that. Or maybe that can be in another novel, if I write one, which is seeming more and more likely these days.”