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While comic book fans wait with bated breath to see if Joseph Gordon-Levitt will ever get his Sandman adaptation off of the ground, another one of Neil Gaiman’s most popular works is definitely moving forward. The amazing premium cable network Starz has given the greenlight to a small screen take on American Gods from Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller and Green Lantern scribe Michael Green. I’m about to become the New God of Squee.
While the details about the series are pretty scarce – we don’t know how many episodes there are or if they’re treating it as a limited series or a multi-season show – there’s a soundly optimistic factoid in the announcement: the beginning of the production is based mostly on the producers casting the lead role of Shadow Moon. Considering how insanely well-cast all of Fuller’s other projects have been over the years, I can’t imagine they’ll find anyone less than amazing to take the part. But it would be nice if they could have already had a handful of people in mind so that this process could be sped up. To help things along, the hashtag “#CastingShadow” is being used.
In American Gods, Shadow Moon is an ex-con who gets out of jail soon after a family tragedy. He gets hired as a bodyguard by a strange man named Mr. Wednesday, who is the modern version of Odin, one of the old gods that also includes Anansi, Thoth, Anubis and more. Wednesday is on a quest to bring all of the old gods together for an epic confrontation with the new gods, including TV, the Internet, credit cards, etc. Shit gets real.
Fuller and Green will serve as showrunners for the series, and they’ll be writing the scripts. I’d be excited to see this story come to life in anyone’s hands –and was jazzed when Tom Hanks wanted to produce it for HBO some years back – but to have Fuller involved is like a visionary dream come true, especially when thinking about some of the more imaginatively visual aspects of the novel. Neil Gaiman doesn’t know how to write boring scenarios.
Speaking of the author, who won a ton of awards for American Gods, here’s how he reacted to the news.
I am thrilled, scared, delighted, nervous and a ball of glorious anticipation. The team that is going to bring the world of American Gods to the screen has been assembled like the master criminals in a caper movie: I'm relieved and confident that my baby is in good hands. Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura...
It’s so interesting that he brings up casting Laura, who is Shadow’s wife in the novel. Her lack of presence is actually what plays more into Shadow’s life. I wonder if she’ll have a bigger part to play here, or if they have to find just the right actress for THAT scene.
With American Gods and Ash vs. Evil Dead coming in the future, Starz just bounded past almost every other network on its way to becoming the most exciting channel on TV.