Bryan Fuller talks casting Neil Gaiman's American Gods TV series

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May 28, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT (Updated)

During the Hannibal Season 3 press rounds, Bryan Fuller took time to drop some interesting intel on his upcoming TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, a series being currently developed with Michael Green (Heroes, Smallville) for Starz (Spartacus, Black Sails, Outlander, Ash vs Evil Dead).

The series -- which centers around Shadow, a mysterious and taciturn ex-con who found employment as a God's bodyguard -- won't be seen until late 2016, based on Fuller's estimates. It hasn't been officially picked up yet, but the Pushing Daisies creator is, ahem, "pushing" forward -- the first two scripts have been written, and they've got some cool concept art for some of the book's iconic locations, including Jack's Crocodile Bar, the Bone Orchard and Zorya's rooftop, Bryan Fuller revealed in an interview with Den of Geek

He also let drop that there will be new things that'll be unique to the TV series that weren't in Gaiman's book, and said they're already talking to an actor for a lead role and reiterated the importance of casting a diverse pool of actors to match the novel's ethnic diversity. Here's what Fuller said about casting for the TV show, and how they'll go about announcing the cast (hint: don't expect to get casting news one at a time):

"We haven't made an offer but we've made an approach to one actor in particular. It all hinges on the final trigger being pulled by Starz. We have several people lined up that we would love to get in various roles and plan on making approaches.

Neil [Gaiman's] plan—and Neil's very internet savvy—what Neil would like to do is cast Laura and Shadow and Wednesday and Mad Sweeney and Bilquis, because Bilquis will be a major character in the show, and the Technical Boy and then trot them all out on-stage at a Comic-Con coming up. That's his plan. He's saying 'I don't want to make any casting announcements, I want to announce the cast in full when they walk out on stage at a Comic-Con'."

That sounds exactly like what Marvel did when they announced the cast for the first Avengers movie, dragging all the actors on stage to the crowd's thunderous applause. Will Starz let Fuller and company pull this off as well? As for making sure that the cast wouldn't be whitewashed in terms of ethnicity, Bryan Fuller had this to say:

"One of the things I'm most excited about for American Gods is the diversity in the cast because there's such a wide range of ethnic Gods in the world. Right now, we're imagining two white roles and everybody else is non-white, so my goal, Michael's goal, certainly Neil's goal has been to have a very ethnically diverse cast. That's important to all of us.

Also now, we can cite Empire and we can cite The Walking Dead as being primarily non-white in their casting, and they're the two biggest shows in the world right now, so that has to say something. We have to be moving forward with a representation that is accurate to the world."

When he was told that the upcoming series had to look like it was 2015, Bryan Fuller agreed, saying, "There's no excuse with American Gods. There's absolutely no excuse to cast, say, Mr Ibis and Mr Jacquel as ... those should be African-origin actors in terms of their heritage."

It's reassuring to see that Bryan Fuller seems to have a tight grasp on the material. What do you think? Is American Gods in good hands?

(via Den of Geek)