'American Gods' EPs tout diversity in casting, expanded female characters
Hollywood has a diversity problem. This is no surprise to anyone remotely following the industry (or just watching the end products). But amidst so much whitewashing (see: Emma Stone in Aloha and Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell), one place you won’t see it is in the new Starz series American Gods.
At the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, EPs Bryan Fuller and Michael Green discussed that matter when it came to casting a show about a war that’s percolating between old and new gods. The program is based on the Neil Gaiman best selling novel by the same name.
When asked about the casting of Ricky Whittle, who is black, in the role of the main character Shadow Moon, Fuller said, “It was never really a question of doing otherwise for us. It just felt like if it was to be true to the book, you had to cast the character that was written, which is somebody who is not white.”
“We’re not colorblind casting, we’re actually very cautiously aware of color in the cast…It’s a map that we just stick to,” he continued.
Considering that according to a USC study, just 19 percent of broadcast TV shows have casts with ethnicity levels near the U.S. population, this is a refreshing change. Fuller added that the show will have a heavy female presence, this despite the fact that the original novel was mostly about men. As a result, they’ve hired Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, Emily Browning and Yetide Badaki for the show.
“In the novel, it is very much a sausage party, it’s about two guys on a road trip. It has such fantastic female characters in the piece that we wanted to expand those and let the narrative…accommodate them,” Fuller noted.
American Gods, which also stars Ian McShane, Crispin Glover and Orlando Jones is set to debut in 2017.