Over the weekend, Orlando Jones, who portrayed African trickster god Mr. Nancy/Anansi on Starz’s ‘American Gods’ took to Twitter to release a fiery video in which he slammed Fremantle production company, Starz, and new showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee after he was unceremoniously let go from the series back on September 10. Now that a little time has passed, Jones has opened up further about the situation behind-the-scenes of ‘American Gods’.
It is very well known that this series has been a dumpster fire behind closed doors with a revolving door of showrunners and with cast members coming and going.
Jones was only a guest star in Season 1, but he was not only made a series regular for Season 2, but he was given a writing and producing credit, which he says came only after Fremantle was sanctioned by the Writer’s Guild because of the amount of work he was doing on the show and not getting compensation for.
RELATED: ‘American Gods’: Orlando Jones Was Fired Because Mr. Nancy Sent The “Wrong Message For Black America”
In the period between Season 1 and 2, Jones said:
“I was sitting, waiting to learn when I was going to go back to work because they fired [series creators and showrunners] Michael [Green] and Bryan [Fuller].”
New showrunner Jesse Alexander was “sent home” and writer/producer Heather Bellson was made “interim showrunner” but as Jones said, “She was refusing to rewrite anything and Jesse was refusing to do anything.”
As Jones continued:
“Suddenly, I was in the writing room and I was writing for Laura [Emily Browning‘s character], Bilquis [Yetide Badaki], Mr. Ibis [Demore Barnes], Salim, the Jinn, myself, and Shadow Moon… It’s not like I was writing one or two characters on the show. Suddenly, I became responsible for any disenfranchised character on that show. So, to suggest that there was a writing option in place is ludicrous because there wasn’t one. That was something that they got sanctioned for by the Writers Guild because I was doing so much work. They wanted me to do it for free. They had to give me a producer’s credit because I was writing so many characters and 11 cast members. I was writing eight of them, including your lead.”
Jones also dismisses any claims that the show suddenly went in a different direction, as he says that he and writer Rodney Barnes mapped out the bulk of Season 3:
“So, to pretend that, ‘Oh, we went in a different creative direction,’ no, you didn’t. The creative direction of Lakeside was the creative direction that we discussed, and I was a part of laying that out for season 2. I mean, Rodney Barnes and I wrote the bulk of the Season  finale of American Gods.”
Part of Jones’ anger stemmed from the fact that he and his manager were in constant communications with Fremantle and Starz… until suddenly they weren’t. He was kept waiting for months until Starz made the call on September 10. He isn’t just angry over being let go, but over being kept hanging instead of being released to take on other jobs.
Mousa Kraish, who played the Jinn has since revealed that he has also been let go, along with Omid Abtabi, who played Salim. The pair made quite an impression after a sexual encounter in Season 1, which became a fan favorite storyline. The pair were reunited in Season 2, and the actors were made series regulars, but it looks like their adventures have come to an end.
“You say you care about the LGBTQ community, but why did you then get rid of Mousa, so there’s no more Salim and the Jinn? I was already following Salim and the Jinn. Bringing on someone else who fits your quota doesn’t change the fact that it’s not like you service Salim and the Jinn last season because I was there to clean up that mess. There’s no Mad Sweeney, we killed him off in [episode] 7. He’s not back. So what is the plan for Laura Moon now that she is no longer tethered to Mad Sweeney? That was a big part of the discussion with regard to him coming back or not coming back, and what we were going to do and how we were going to service that character.”
Fans have already reacted to Jones’ Twitter video, stating that they are done with the show now that Mr. Nancy is gone. With the series also losing Mad Sweeney, Salim, and the Jinn… is there any real reason to keep watching?
You can read how Fremantle responded to Orlando Jones’ video here.
Will you be tuning in when ‘American Gods’ returns in 2020?
Source: Entertainment Weekly