The casting on Bryan Fuller’s American Gods continues to trend toward the divine, with Entertainment Weekly reporting that Orlando Jones has joined the show as storytelling trickster Mr. Nancy. An American version of the African folk hero (and talking spider) Anansi, the character is a major figure in Neil Gaiman’s novel, guiding protagonist Shadow (Ricky Whittle) on his cross-country pilgrimage. (Gaiman would later revisit the character and his family for a follow-up novel, Anansi Boys.)
Jones has had a long career in the public spotlight, from his early breakout role on MadTV, to a high-profile 7-Up ad campaign, to roles in projects like Sleepy Hollow and Fuller’s earlier Pushing Daisies. His penchant for fast-talk and the occasional bit of otherworldly menace will likely serve him well as one of Gaiman’s mercurial gods, who often appear as smiling jokesters until the moment that they’re not.
Jones joins an already-stellar cast, one that also includes Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, and Emily Browning. EW also reports that Demore Barnes—of The Flash, and Syfy’s 12 Monkeys TV series—has also joined the Starz show, in the role of enigmatic funeral director (and bird-headed Egyptian god of knowledge) Mr. Ibis.