Starz announced this morning that they have found their Shadow Moon for the American Gods adaptation, which–wait a minute, Shadow’s last name was “Moon”? I just finished reading the novel a few weeks ago, and I don’t recall him having a last name. In fact, his whole name situation was pretty shady in the first place. Well either way, they’ve chosen Ricky Whittle (“The 100,” “Austenland”) to portray the lead character. As far as casting goes, this is pretty spot on, and it’s always nice to see characters of color maintained in the transition to the screen.
As for the novel itself, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but felt a little let down by the final act. Personally, I would have read an entire novel of Shadow’s misadventures couch surfing with all the gods, but what do I know? At any rate, here’s the full press release, with a bit of “word of god” from Gaiman himself.
Beverly Hills, Calif. (January 28, 2016) – Starz and FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) announced today that Ricky Whittle (“The 100,” “Austenland”) has been cast as Shadow Moon in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods. The series will begin shooting in April.
Neil Gaiman said, “I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun. American Gods is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be Coming to America. I’m delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
Commented Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, “We searched every continent and country and all the islands in between for our Shadow Moon, and we are lucky to have found Ricky. Fans of the novel will find he has every bit of the heart of the character they fell in love with.”
A native of Oldham, Greater Manchester England, Whittle’s credits include “The 100,” “Austenland,” “Hollyoaks,” “Mistresses,” “NCIS” and “Holby City.” Whittle is the son of former Royal Air Force serviceman Harry Whittle and grew up travelling around the world. A keen sportsman, Whittle represented England and the United Kingdom at youth level in football and rugby.
American Gods been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
“American Gods” is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”) and Michael Green (“The River,” “Kings,” “Heroes”) are writers and showrunners. David Slade (“Hannibal,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman. Senior Vice President of Original Programming Ken Segna is the Starz executive in charge of “American Gods.”