I’ve just started reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and I’m really loving it, so I’m already excited for this TV series from Hannibal and Dead Like Me’s Bryan Fuller.
Fuller starts by talking about the main character, Shadow and what his race will be as it’s never quite made clear in the book but it’s pretty clear he’s not simply ‘white': “In our conversations about who our ideals are for specific roles, Shadow is described as… is he a gypsy? Is he Hispanic? Is he black? Or is he all of those things in one? So we know that he is not white! I think if we cast a white man to play Shadow we would be the biggest a#@holes on television.”
The rights were at HBO previously and they had real issues developing it, but Fuller seems to have gotten to grips with it: “We’ve broken the first three episodes, Michael Green and I, and we’re having so much fun. It’s such a different muscle to Hannibal. There’s a big, bold, sprawling world that is at our fingertips that is going to be so much fun to explore.
“It’s fun to platform the world and say to Neil [Gaiman], okay, if these are the rules of this universe that you’ve created, then it would also apply in these circumstances. That’s been great for Michael and I because we’re recognising the rules and then also allowing ourselves to navigate those rules and expand the story in a fun way where those rules are supporting a greater, grander world than you’re able to see in the novel.”
He also points out that the current plan is to go beyond one season and to develop characters anthemes that are merely hinted at or touched upon in the book: “You have to ground it in the emotional reality of what Shadow, or Wednesday, or Laura is experiencing in that moment. One of the exciting things for us in adapting this is that we get to expand characters, so Bilquis, who is only in a chapter of the book, then you don’t see her again, is a major player in this world. Laura, who is kind of lurking in the background, she’s a major player in this world.
“One of the things that’s important for anybody adapting source material that is primarily a male buddy picture is to find ways to latch on to strong female characters in the piece and bring them to the forefront and celebrate their point of view alongside the men.”
There is one scene in the book that has become quite notorious where a man is eaten during sex by the woman’s, em, girl parts. And Fuller fully intends on keeping it in: “One of the most amazing sequences for me when I was reading it was the Goddess Bilquis eating a man with her vagina! I think it’s beautifully written in the novel. What I love about how Neil laid out that sequence is that you’re in the gentleman caller’s point of view for his climax and the reeling of that. What is it like to cinematically deliver an orgasm to an audience that more than likely, is not experiencing an orgasm at that moment? Although you never know! Being in his point of view in the novel, he comes out of his orgasmic revelry and then realises that he’s kind of hanging upside down, chest-deep from her. We plan to deliver that moment as it is written, because I believe that we can, and that’s very exciting for us because we were breaking that story and thinking, we are just going to lift that right out of the book and drop it right into the show. That came up in the Starz meeting, they were like, ‘how are you going to do that moment?’ and we said, ‘we’re going to do it exactly as written’.”
On fleshing the tale out to a longer story for TV, he says: “One of the fun things about the television series we’re crafting is that for every moment that takes place, there are alternate points of view of that moment so we will see an episode that is primarily from Shadow’s point of view, and then the next episode will be primarily from Wednesday’s point of view, and then the next episode will be primarily from Laura’s point of view so there’s a fun to point of view when you’re adapting a novel like this, because it gives you the freedom to expand the world and the characters.”
American Gods has the potential to be unlike anything you’ve seen before and frankly, that excites us considerably.
Source: Den of Geek