American Gods’ Bryan Fuller & Michael Green
By Mansha Daswani
In 2001, British author Neil Gaiman’s American Gods hit the bookshelves. The sprawling tale of a conflict between the “old gods” of all faiths, brought to the U.S. by immigrants, and the “new gods” of media, technology and other obsessions, won a slew of accolades and millions of fans. Among them were Bryan Fuller—known for his work on the visually striking Hannibal and Pushing Daisies—and writer and producer Michael Green. Together they have crafted an adaptation of American Gods with FremantleMedia North America for Starz in the U.S. Snapped up by Amazon for the first window globally, American Gods debuts April 30, unspooling the story of ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and his journey across America with Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane)—Norse mythology’s Odin—corralling the old gods for a faceoff against the likes of Media (Gillian Anderson) and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley). Fuller and Green tell TV Drama Weekly about their approach to bringing Gaiman’s book to life and share how its core themes are more relevant today than ever.
TV DRAMA: How did you approach writing the script and devising a look for the series?
FULLER: It’s very loyal to the novel. We began with page one of the book and started going from there. As we progressed further and further into the story, there were characters that had relatively minor roles in the novel and we started asking ourselves, Wouldn’t it be cool to see what they were doing when they weren’t being covered in the pages? And that got us very excited.
GREEN: And then we just sat and asked each other, What are your favorite things in the novel? We earmarked a few things that we wanted to put into the first season, just to make sure we could see them on screen no matter what happened.
FULLER: We came into this imagining how to tell the story and how many seasons it would take and how to divvy up the story to spread it out over those seasons. We were not necessarily just thinking about season one, but about the approach to covering this book and where we deviate. Where do we remain absolutely loyal to the word on the page? How do we expand story lines to fill up a television season and make it about a lot of characters, not just Wednesday and Shadow?
TV DRAMA: Fans of the book all have their own ideas of what Wednesday, Shadow and the other characters look like. What was your casting process like?
This interview continues here.
GREEN: It was long! It was fun because the characters crystallized when we found the right people, and in television that’s always one of the most rewarding parts of the process. When you read a book, you hear a certain voice in your head and you enjoy it and then you start writing it and it changes slightly and then you hear it performed by the person who is going to inhabit the role and then they bring it to life in a whole new way. They add depth and precision to the words that inspire you to take the character in different directions as the episodes go on.
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