British actor Ricky Whittle has been cast as the lead in Starz’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Whittle currently plays the fierce and loving Grounder-turned-reaper-turned-Grounder-again, Lincoln, on The CW’s The 100. In American Gods, Whittle will play Shadow Moon, a recently paroled convict who reluctantly becomes a bodyguard for a con man by the name of Mr. Wednesday, who, as it turns out, isn’t simply a con man with a stupid name. He’s an ancient god with a stupid name. Traveling the United States, Shadow Moon and Mr. Wednesday encounter other gods from different cultures as well as the New American Gods, which are manifestations of modern life and technology. Basically, the whole thing turns into a war between the gods and the internet.
According to American Gods showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, the search for the right Shadow Moon was not an easy one. “We searched every continent and country and all the islands in between for our Shadow Moon, and we are lucky to have found Ricky,” they say in a statement. “Fans of the novel will find he has every bit of the heart of the character they fell in love with.”
And Gaiman, who will write on the show, approves of the choice, too: “I’m thrilled that Ricky has been cast as Shadow,” Gaiman says. “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.”
The American Gods adaptation has been in the works for a while, starting in development at HBO before eventually landing at Starz when that didn’t pan out.