After having his TV-rights held hostage and waiting until the 11th hour to tell him (via a phone call) they were going in a different direction right as they are announcing new cast members for Season 3, Orlando Jones is finally stepping up and talking about what he and a few other cast members are experiencing with Fremantle’s ‘American Gods’. He waited three months for them to publically announce that he was not going to be a part of season 3, while clips of his performances were going viral, generating buzz for the show.
We at Geeks WorldWide had the chance to interview Orlando Jones about all of this. Here’s a transcript of the interview:
Bryan and Micheal set a pretty high bar, with Nancy’s introduction. I was mindful of that but looked forward to the challenge of it. I’ve been in writer’s guild for 25+ years so writing isn’t new to me. The most difficult problem was they didn’t give me any time. I was writing scenes and scripts very quickly. And the groundwork isn’t mine so I’m doing it in a box, does that make sense?
GWW | Yeah, it makes sense. Sucks that they didn’t give you a lot of time to write. I heard that you wrote for Anansi, but also most of the other PoC characters. Is this true? Did you pitch this idea or did they ask you?
Not really. That’s the job. If you can’t do it under pressure you shouldn’t be doing it. In the season two opening there’s a scene with Bilquis, Ibis, and Nancy so I rewrote and began writing those characters more often. They asked me. Neil Gaiman asked me, and then the EP Jessie Alexander asked me, and then the studio and network asked me to continue. I started doing notes with the studio alone with the showrunner’s permission, of course. I was very involved and they begged me to do it. They just didn’t want to pay me. I told them I could not go against my guild. It’s a writer guild show and I’m a member. They had to pay me. They said no. I said, That’s kinda racist. You paid all the white guys and they are at home.
Yes. The guild requires that. That’s why it was so stupid for them to be so angry with me about it.
I know that Fremantle doesn’t care about the characters of color on the show. They’ve said it to me. The showrunners are told to focus on Wednesday and Shadow Moon, but really, Wednesday.
GWW | I don’t mind a lot of Ian McShane’s Wednesday, but not caring about characters of color isn’t only pretty racist, it also just doesn’t make sense with Shadow being the main character and where his character is headed.
That’s why in the season 2 opener, Mr. Wednesday is suddenly telling the story of American Gods. The story is supposed to be told from Shadow Moon’s perspective, not Wednesday. They didn’t write for us cause the openly say brown faces don’t sell in Europe.
It’s not a secret.
Neil and I have discussed it. We’ll see what happens.
it will. I’m not worried about it. Keep a positive attitude. We manifest what we believe, remember?
I don’t know. It’s about the characters for me. I’d figure out each of their end games in the war and lay out the dangerous liaisons/Valmont battle royale of the Gods.
Mr. Nancy is the god of stories. Control your narrative. Tell your authentic story or you will be marginalized because they literally believe pigment means you’re a 2nd class citizen globally. They see us as victims so all we get is victim stories. I want people to know that I am with them in this fight and entertainment is how to create systemic change.