The long-awaited television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods is moving forward, helmed by Pushing Daisies and Hannibal's Bryan Fuller. Naturally, we're nervous, but this recent interview with Fuller has calmed many of our fears. Spoiler talk ahead.
In an lengthy interview with Den of Geek (which we highlighted earlier today), Fuller outlined a few non-negotiables that he and screenwriter Michael Green (The River, Kings) were working through—specifically the race of Shadow. He's not going to be whitewashed.
"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 assholes on television."
Fuller continued on, explaining that the television adaptaion of American Gods would expand the world that Gaiman created, thus expanding the many characters within the text.
"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."
This also means that the POV for the series will jump around. One episode will be scripted and shot from the POV of Shadow, another from Laura, and so on and so on.
And regarding that Biliquis scene, Fuller actually talks at length about her character and (spoilers!) the moment when she devours a male caller with her vagina. He promises to shoot it as scripted in the book, which means someone from the art department is going to have to craft a giant vagina. Can't. Wait.
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's laid out that sequence is that you're in the gentleman caller's point of view for his climax and the reeling of that. I mean, 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 he 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'.
Read the full interview over at Den of Geek. It's really so great and worth the full read, especially the part about why HBO couldn't pull the trigger earlier on this series. It demonstrates Fuller's desire for a television series to be what it was meant to be and not simply hit checkpoints on a network agenda. Really great stuff.