By: Lacretia Lyon
Film Independent at the LACMA presented a small audience to the anticipated Starz series American Gods. The show, which premieres April 30th, is an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name that is said to be the most polarizing of his work. Showrunners Bryan Fuller & Michael Green even brought up that fact during the Q&A after the screening, “But it was an important book 2001 and I think it’s an important series for 2017…” they said and I could not agree more. Actors Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday) and Ricky Whittle (Shadow) were also in attendance and discussed the long process of auditioning for the show and what it means to be part of such an amazing series.
American Gods explores mythology and the central theme is gods and mythical creatures exist because people believe in them and how the power of these beings has diminished over the years as beliefs wane. The show perfectly captures that spirit and the slow burn nature of the novel. We are not given the full deck yet after this first episode but we are introduced to several familiar characters.
Shadow, our protagonist, sticks to his backstory of the novel where he is a convict released from prison a few days early because his wife Laura (Emily Browning) died in a car accident. On his flight to the funeral, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday, whom is a con artist looking to hire some muscle. Of course Mr. Wednesday is hiding something and Shadow soon finds himself lurking into a larger world just beneath America’s surface.
While the pilot focuses on Shadow’s story, it does show us a glimpse of some of the fantastic cast to come. There is Orlando Jones’ Mr. Nancy & Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) that are touched on but we get an extended scene with the leprechaun Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) and Bilquis aka Queen of Sheba (Yetide Badaki) has probably one of the most memorable scenes…to say the least without spoiling it.
Overall the show is a beautifully captured opus (thanks to director David Slade) that gives service to the novel but brings a new touch that fits with the current zeitgeist. The recurring cast rounds out with Crispin Glover as Mr. World, Gillian Anderson as Media and Kristin Chenoweth as Easter to name a few, while Corbin Bernsen will play a new character created by Neil Gaiman specifically for the series called Vulcan who is described as having “bound himself to guns.”
The screening of American Gods was part of The Film Independent at LACMA Film Series curated by Elvis Mitchell. The series is brought to you by Premier Sponsor Audi and Promotional Supporter KCRW.