Sometimes, I think of all the people in the world who haven't read American Gods, and then I just get so sad. But, now that Starz is turning American Gods into a TV show (because somebody up there loves me), there will soon be no excuse for anyone not to have some knowledge of this story. The Neil Gaiman novel is the ultimate dream for mythology fans all over the world: when a man named Shadow is released from prison early following the death of his ex-wife, he takes a job with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and thus becomes embroiled in a war between gods both old and new.
The old gods, brought to America by immigrants from various countries, aren't too happy with the new gods of all the things modern society worships, like the Internet and Media. All of this culminates in one hell of a final battle, not to mention the greatest plot twist ever. The TV adaptation has been in development hell for an entire year, but Gaiman himself is on board as an executive producer — so you know it's going to be as good and accurate as television can make it. Even if they do have to change or adapt out certain things, at least it will have the approval of the author so that we can accept this new version of the mythos as canon.
However, production of the show can't go forward until they cast their main role, Shadow, to everyone's satisfaction, which is understandable. The entire plot literally hinges on the protagonist, and Shadow spends more time in the novel observing than he does speaking. It's kind of his whole schtick.
It's hard to suggest an actor who should play Shadow because, the fact of the matter is, his character is described as having black hair but being of ambiguous race and nondescript appearance. He was born in Norway, raised in America, and his mother was African-American, but that's about all that we have as far as his looks go. Thankfully, there are so many actors of color that they can cast in the role that it's simply a matter of finding the right one, the one capable of acting with his entire face because his lines have a good chance of being more voice over than actual speaking parts.
Personally, I already have two major actors in mind who could embody the role well enough to carry an entire TV series — and both of them have backgrounds in television that have already more than proven that.
OK, so maybe I just want Elba cast in all the things. However, since it's looking increasingly unlikely that he'll get to star as the next James Bond, I want him to have a role with as much depth and nuance as he brought to Luthor once upon a time ago. And, if there's anyone who can act with only his eyebrows if need be, that person is Elba.
Jesse Williams is of mixed race like Shadow — though, admittedly, he might be way too handsome and distinctive for this role — and he has proven his acting chops time and time again in shows like Grey's Anatomy and The N's Beyond The Break. Sure, Williams will have to leave Grey's Anatomy to star in the adaptation of American Gods, but, in a post-Derek Shepherd world, no one is safe on that show.
Even if the two of them aren't even considered, it's still exciting just to finally have confirmation that American Gods is coming to the small screen at last. The book lends itself well to being serialized on a network like Starz; all it needed was someone to give it a chance.
Image: William Morrow (2); Getty Images (2)