There hasn’t been much news on Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods‘ as of late but Executive Producer Bryan Fuller, showrunner Michael Green, and producer Loretta Ramos have opened up with a lot of the overall ideas that we’ll be seeing in the series. They were all in attendance for a press release dinner for the ‘Hannibal’ season 3 Blu-ray release and shared not only overall story ideas but how the show would change from the novel as well. There was actually quite a few details being released here that should have fans eager to see how it’ll be put together.
First Ramos give a status update on how ‘American Gods’ is coming along in pre-production:
“Really well, but it’s still early days. We won’t start shooting until March or April. The writers’ room has been up and running for a couple of months now, and the goal is to have all of the scripts done before we go into production. We’ve been hiring department heads and working on casting.”
While the novel focuses quite a bit on Shadow and Mr. Wednesday, there is one key person that Fuller says is also in the cast:
“It’s much more ensemble. There’s Mr. Wednesday and Shadow, but there’s also Laura. If there are three faces on the poster, it’s Wednesday, Shadow and Laura.”
Will the first novel translate into a single season as is often the case in adaptations? Anyone who has seen Fuller’s work on ‘Hannibal’ will probably doubt that would be the case and they would be absolutely correct!
“No, we’re only doing part of the book in the first season. The book is the Reader’s Digest version. Everything is expanded. We’re making room for more story. We learned a lot of lessons about adaptation doing Red Dragon and Hannibal. There are characters in the book, like Bilquis, who you see for one chapter, and then you see her at the end, real quick. She’s got a huge arc and is a very important character for the show. Laura is a huge character for the show. There is an opportunity for representing culturally ethnic diversity that is authentic, so that you don’t get into conversations about whitewashing characters. There are going to be so many characters represented. The only character that we’re really color-blind with casting is Laura because everybody else is culturally specific and they have to be authentic to how that culture looks. Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jaquel have to look like they belong in ancient Egypt. Not Middle Eastern Egypt, but black Egypt. So, that’s exciting. I’m always jealous of The Walking Dead for having such a diverse cast that’s so organic. We’re going to give them a run for their money, in terms of diversity.”
So with those changes in mind, how close to the novel will the sesries be? Ramos answers that one by saying:
“It’s definitely adhering to the novel’s plot points and characters, but when translating to screen, you’ve got to take certain liberties. And we’re beefing up some of the female characters to even out the world a little bit. We’re beefing up certain characters just to make it TV series appropriate. Otherwise, you burn through a lot of material and you don’t have a series. The book is several seasons worth of material, by the time you get to the end of it. So many of the chapters are just one-off, isolated stories, and all of those are fair game to throw in. You’ve got the main people that you follow in the book, like Wednesday and Shadow, but you definitely have to start pulling in some of those characters and integrating them a little bit more, in order to flesh out the world. It will be an expanded version of the book’s world, and Neil Gaiman is totally involved. He’s in on the pitch meetings, he reads the outlines, and he’s on board. He’s giving his blessing to everything that’s happening, so it’s definitely of his world still. I think fans will appreciate it. It’s hard to take a much-loved property and not piss off everybody.”
With sex being more open ended on Starz than a regular broadcast network, Fuller does say that there will be one scene that will truly stick out:
“In the book, there is a famous scene where Bilquis, who is Sheba, the goddess of sex and sexuality and love, eats a man with her vagina and you’re in her point of view. And then, in a later episode, you’ll see where you go.”
Not only will it stand out from what is happening, but visually they are going full on with the special effects:
“Like the sex in Fight Club. That’s mostly CG. They scanned Helena Bonham Carter and Brad Pitt in various positions, and it’s mostly digital. We have the guy who did that scene in Fight Club and said, “You have to top that, and not spend $1.5 million.” The cool thing with American Gods is that we are not necessarily creating new technology, but we’re re-purposing existing technology in a way that would give you photorealistic CG. If you look at a lot of shows or movies, you can tell it’s not real.”
I’m glad that we’re going to be in for some visual treats and just hope that Fuller can have a cast that rivals the quality of actors he had in ‘Hannibal’ as ‘American Gods’ could be even more of a stretch to fully work on the small screen. I personally can’t wait, though.
Are you looking forward to checking out ‘American Gods’? What do you think of some of the big picture ideas that Fuller has? Share your thoughts below!