Starz and FremantleMedia’s highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s epic fantasy novel American Gods has cast its lead.
Ricky Whittle, who currently stars on CW Network’s The 100, will play the story’s main protagonist, Shadow Moon. The series follows Moon, an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to a con artist known as Mr. Wednesday—a man who is not who he seems.
In Gaiman’s tangled world of Americana and fantasy, there are only men and gods. Among the latter are the traditionals, deities from around the world born from mythological roots. Then there are the new gods, an upstart pantheon of divine beings who reflect society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. As believers steadily trickle away from the old to follow the new, a war begins to brew. Moon finds himself with Wednesday in the middle of that war on a cross country mission to gather forces and partake in a battle against the new deities.
Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and Michael Green (The River, Heroes) are serving as writers and co-showrunners for the series, while David Slade (Hannibal, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) is directing the pilot and several other episodes.
Fuller and Green praised the casting of Whittle, saying, “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.”
Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman.
The American Gods author also shared excitement over the casting decision.
“I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable,” Gaiman said in a Starz press release. “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.”