American Gods is a highly anticpated TV adaptation based on Neil Gaiman’s hugely popular 2001 fantasy novel of the same name. And despite all the excitement around the series, we have seen very little of the show and what it might look like. But now we have some of the first pictures from the set released (courtesy of Entertainment Weekly) to give us an indication of what to expect – at least with regards to Shadow (Ricky Whittle), Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) which shows the characters in a recreation of a scene from Jack’s Crocodile Bar, where Shadow first proves his might and mettle to the mysterious Wednesday in a fist-fight with the pugnacious, drunk leprechaun.
This scene is very early in the novel, so there are no fears of big spoilers in it, so no need to worry. What can be seen is a pretty impressive set design with a great attention to detail and a scale of what can be expected from some of the scenes, with many extras included in these fight scenes to make for quite a realistic portrayal of the setting.
Now the pictures may not look too impressive, but bear in mind, the show is likely to look very differently when captured through the lens of the cinematographer and other effects have been added in.
For those unfamiliar with the novel, it took place in a world where gods are real and we’re all just pawns in their great chess game. At the center of the novel’s conflict is Whittle’s ex-convict Shadow, who’s released from prison and immediately gets caught up in a war of worship between the nation’s two bands of titans: The old gods, whose power in America has been slowly dying alongside the waning generation of immigrant believers who brought them to the country in the first place (e.g. Schreiber’s Sweeney, who struggles to figure out why he lost his charm), and the new gods, a fast-growing set of modern myths born on our own home turf (e.g. Gillian Anderson’s Media).
The show is being produced by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies), who re-teams with Heroes producer Michael Green in putting this production together. In describing some of the characters from the show, Fuller had the following to say of McShane’s Mr Wednesday:
I think the comedy and charm and ease of Wednesday’s appeal is very well-suited for Ian McShane. He has a vibrancy as Wednesday that could have gone so many different ways in other actors’ hands, but has such a specificity and reality, despite the situation at hand.
As for Shadow, we can expect the complete opposite, as a more kinder and grounded character:
There’s where Ricky has been such a boon. His experience of [the world of the gods] is very genuine and grounded, and we want to watch him be introduced to and beaten up by this new reality.
And with regards to how they envision the focus of the story and what we can expect, they both had the following to say:
Neil created this wonderfully stuffed toy box filled with all sorts of cultural points of view on how American operates as a system, and that was so fascinating and mythological in and of itself. It’s really much more of an immigration story than it is a god story.One of the biggest challenges was stripping the idea of gods as X-Men or giant empowered creatures who stomp on cities and throw the oceans. We wanted them to be people with problems. It’s not about lightning bolts – it’s about the question of day-to-day survival.
What do you make of these early set photos?
Last Updated: June 17, 2016