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Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece novel American Gods is coming to the screen via a TV series on Starz, and as the author works tirelessly with show creators on its rebirth, the main character of Shadow Moon has been cast, and Ricky Whittle will tackle the lead role.
Shadow is an enigmatic and beloved character of the contemporary fantasy.
The character is a very tall and large man, of probable Native American heritage, and I say ‘probable’ because the entire book is about gods that have immigrated to America in search of new followings to thrive, or just to survive, in the modern world, and Shadow almost certainly has other blood running through his veins.
What makes Shadow so unique is his quiet nature.
The man is dealt a very bad hand in his life and his good nature and slow and quiet demeanor do not put a damper on his intelligence or his heavy sadness.
All of Shadow’s characteristics will make it difficult, to say the least, to portray on the screen.
At a reading from the 10th Anniversary American Gods: Author’s Preferred Text Edition Tour of the bestseller at the 92Y in Manhattan, Mr. Gaiman spoke of a friend that he had observed and had helped inspire such a profound character as Shadow.
On the casting 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.”
Mr. Gaiman has been integral in crafting the series with Starz, which is wise on the TV network’s part, to ensure the fluidity and the impactful nature of such an innovative work as American Gods comes sweeping across the page and onto the screen just as dramatically as the story does in the book.
Hopes are high, but with Mr. Gaiman steering the helm the prospects are very good, and this is exciting!
To read more about the American Gods novel, see my look at the Author’s Preferred Text edition on SciFiNow here: “Book Club reader review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman”
“Ricky Whittle Cast as Shadow for American Gods on Starz!” was written by R.J. Huneke; find the entire Starz press release below.
RICKY WHITTLE CAST AS SHADOW MOON IN STARZ AND FREMANTLEMEDIA’S “AMERICAN GODS”
The Up-and-Coming Actor Will Play Shadow Moon in the Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Blockbuster Fantasy Novel
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.” Starz retains all network pay TV and SVOD rights to the project. FremantleMedia is distributing the series worldwide.
Ricky Whittle is represented by TalentWorks, Creative Artists Management in the UK, and Untitled Entertainment.
Fans can tweet @AmericanGodsSTZ, @STARZ_Channel and @FMNATV and join the conversation with #AmericanGods.
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks) and global content distribution (Starz Distribution), www.starz.com.
Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of September 30, 2015, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 55.8 million subscribers, including 23.3 million at STARZ, and 32.5 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S. STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks' third network MOVIEPLEX®, air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television. Starz Distribution's home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties.