Neil Gaiman Told 'American Gods' Showrunners To Cut Controversial Scene From The Pilot
According to a new interview with The A.V. Club, Neil Gaiman told the American Gods showrunners to cut a blowjob scene from the pilot episode, and got pretty creative with his threats. The scene was not taken from Gaiman's 2001 novel, which features its own fair share of sexual content. Starz's television adaptation of American Gods premiered on Sunday night to rave reviews.
Spoiler warning: Discussion of events in the American Gods novel and Starz pilot take place below. Tread carefully.
Sex plays a big role in many tales from the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythos, and Neil Gaiman didn't shy away from depicting all that wanton raunchiness in American Gods. Much has been written about Bilquis — A.K.A the Queen of Sheba, portrayed by Yetide Badaki — who eats a sexual partner with her vagina, and yes, the Starz crew left that scene in their interpretation of Gaiman's novel. But Gaiman drew a hard line in the sand, forbidding showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green to include an extraneous blowjob scene in the American Gods pilot.
American Gods protagonist Shadow Moon is released from prison early, only to find out that Laura, his beloved wife, has died in a car accident. Worse still, Shadow learns that Laura was not alone when she died. In fact, she was in the process of giving fellatio to his best friend, Robbie Burton — who was married to Laura's best friend, Audrey — when the wreck killed both of them.
In the novel, the surviving spouses meet in the graveyard where Laura and Robbie have been buried, but aren't very friendly toward one another. Fuller and Green proposed having Audrey give Shadow a blowjob during that moment. Gaiman vehemently refused:
I’m like, "Okay, guys, if you do that, I will go and step in front of a bus, and I will leave a suicide note explaining exactly why this is your fault[."] ... They were like, "You really feel that strongly?" I was like, "Yeah, I really do. He would not do that, and it’s wrong, and it throws everything out of kilter." And they are like, "Yeah, but he’s just out of prison. Wouldn’t he want a blowjob?" And it’s like, "No. Not in that circumstance, not from that person, and he’s heartsick over Laura and this is the wrong time. No, don’t go there." And then what’s lovely about that is where they did go with that is so much better.
The American Gods showrunners opted to have Shadow comfort Audrey in the graveyard instead. Which is a lot better than a revenge blowjob, in many ways.
American Gods airs Sunday nights on Starz.