Starz CEO Chris Albrecht and American Gods executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green had repeatedly stressed the importance and challenge of finding the right actor to play the lead character in the adaptation because of Shadow’s unique heritage and look in the books (I hear the prototype was younger Dwayne Johnson). Whittle was among the actors who tested for the role last September. Starz held onto him while exploring other options, there were more testings and retestings until Whittle was cast.
With Shadow Moon set, the series will begin shooting in April. A number of scripts have already been written, and Albrecht said at TCA earlier this month that the network brass are happy with what they have read so far.
The plot of American Gods 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 (Whittle), 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 been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel.
Whittle plays Lincoln in The CW’s The 100. He started off as a recurring, getting promoted to a regular in Season 2. I hear the arc of his character would be coming to an end this season, which happens often on the survival CW drama. The 100 just returned for Season 3 with solid ratings for the premiere. Whittle’s other TV credits include Mistresses, NCIS, Hollyoaks, and Holby City. He also appeared in feature Austenland. He’s repped by TalentWorks, Creative Artists Management in the UK, and Untitled Entertainment.
American Gods is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writers and showrunners. David Slade (Hannibal) 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 Gaiman. FremantleMedia is distributing the series worldwide.