Fans have been waiting with bated breath for Neil Gaiman’s modern fantasy novel American Gods to be adapted into live action and, at long last, they are finally getting their wish. The popular modern fantasy is being adapted for the Starz network by Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller. Landing the role of Shadow Moon, the book’s protagonist, is Ricky Whittle, currently starring as Lincoln in The 100 on the CW.
Fans of Gaiman’s book know how well Whittle fits the bill, as Shadow is described as an ethnically-ambiguous male with a hulking frame who is hired as a bodyguard by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. Actor Jason Momoa (known to Game of Thrones fans as Khal Drogo) was a frequent favorite in casting speculations for the part. At the 2011 Edinburgh Book Festival, Gaiman named his ideal actor for Shadow to be Dwayne Johnson — prior to the former wrestler’s meteoric rise. Quoted in The Guardian, Gaiman stated: “[Dywane Johnson] has this huge bulk, and doesn’t look terribly smart — which is one of the fun things about Shadow: he’s smarter than people assume.”
That was five years ago and it looks like Whittle has already earned Gaiman’s 2016 seal of approval. In an official press statement, Gaiman singles out Whittle’s audition as “remarkable.”
“I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow. His auditions were remarkable. The process of taking a world out of the pages of a book, and putting it onto the screen has begun. American Gods is, at its heart, a book about immigrants, and it seems perfectly appropriate that Shadow will, like so much else, be Coming to America. I’m delighted Ricky will get to embody Shadow. Now the fun starts.”
American Gods begins filming in April so fans will have to wait just a little while longer.