By Dr. Zaius
Monday, October 15th, 2018 at 5:30 pm
The panel for American Gods, the Starz television series based on the award-winning 2001 novel by Neil Gaiman, was one of the most anticipated events at this year’s New York Comic-Con. Season 2 recently wrapped, so the creators and stars were present to talk about what we can expect in the next season and more. At the convention center, we got to participate in the press roundtable interviews for the series, and this time around, we got to sit down with Crispin Glover (Mr. World), Bruce Langley (Technical Boy), and Yetide Badaki (Bilquis).
Few times in my years writing for Geeks of Doom have I been genuinely star-struck and nervous about an interview. This was one of those times. Sitting across from Crispin Glover, whose career I have followed over 30 years, was quite intimidating. But like every one of the four tables in the American Gods press room, the cast exuded a sense of closeness and were very forthcoming about the show, their characters, and more.
Interview: Crispin Glover, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley
Question: By telling the stories of your characters, what have they informed you about as you play them?
Bruce Langley: More closely examining the lens through which the consciousness of Tech Boy has been constructed led me to more closely examine the lens in which I analyze myself and the stories I tell myself in my everyday life and in general. I think that’s an important thing to touch on. Regardless of whatever position you get to, you need to take care of yourself mentally and make sure you’re okay. Not just in the practical sense, but I think it’s important as an artist. In order to examine the filters by which you see the world, you first have to look at yourself. When you’re playing a character, if you’re doing your job right, there’s no way that can stay impersonal. For it to be good work it has to be personal. So yeah, I think the stories we tell have a deep impact on our consciousness.
Geeks of Doom: A lot of the cast members have discussed the benefits of working in long-form television. Can you talk about working in this evolving medium as compared to working in movies or a standard episodic series?
Crispin Glover: There is a part of it that I’ll admit is a little confusing to me because I’m used to having the script. I haven’t watched a lot of the long-form shows. The main long-form show I had seen was one done in the early 80s by Rainer Werner Fassbinder called Berlin Alexanderplatz. It was based on a novel of the same name written in the 1920s and he wrote it and narrates it and directed every episode. I think it took a year and he was an autocrat on it. I understand how television has come from episodes that are written as things go along, but being this was based on a book I think production-wise it would make sense to have all the scripts and then shoot it, which of course hasn’t been done. So I wonder about that, the interpretive element. But the positive part of it of course is that we have as the executive producer Neil Gaiman, which is great. I’ve always felt that as long as he is there and he’s happy, that makes me happy. I can find it confusing a bit because on some level, I’m used to figuring it out in advance. But I’m enjoying this, I like the show, I like the book, I like the people. But it is different from what I’ve generally done.
Yetide Badaki: What I love about long-form television is that it parallels the human experience. Who I am today will change tomorrow and is different from who I was yesterday. In television you get to do that. And you may have expectations of who you’re going to be and in the moment have to pivot because that’s life. It’s incredibly interesting and a lot of fun to do that. You make this WTF television, while living in the time we’re living, all of that put together makes for an amazing artistic experience.
When the issue of propaganda and technology amongst The New Gods on the show was brought up, I asked one more question.
Geeks of Doom: The novel was written in 2001 and it’s mind boggling how far technology has come in just 17 years. Have you given thought to how different the technology is and how quickly technology changes in general?
Bruce Langley: Oh definitely, it’s totally different. And if the god of technology had come out a few years down the line in later seasons, he might look different because the technology would have changed again. Nothing stays the same for long, especially with technology.
(L-R) Patton Oswalt, Neil Gaiman, Crispin Glover, Ricky Whittle, Bruce Langley, Emily Browning, Mousa Kraish, Pablo Schreiber, Omid Abtahi, Yetide Badaki, Demore Barnes and Orlando Jones appear onstage as Starz brings American Gods to NYCC 2018 at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Starz Entertainment LLC, courtesy of Starz Entertainment. Used with permission.)
New York Comic-Con ended last week, but you can look forward to more adventures with Mr. World, Technology Boy, Bilquis, and the rest of American Gods when the show returns to STARZ next year.