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How Gillian Anderson and Dane Cook Got Cast in Starz’s ‘American Gods’

TCA: The upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved novel has cast some interesting actors for its ensemble.

Gillian Anderson.

Gillian Anderson.

Mark Davis/Getty Images for Netflix

Starz’s “American Gods” has been an intriguing project from the get-go, thanks to the beloved nature of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling fantasy novel. That interest has only increased with fans over the course of the casting process.

At the Television Critics Association press tour Monday morning, “American Gods” showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green explained what went into finding their men and gods. That included a dedication to keeping the characters true to their depictions in the books, especially when it came to ethnicity.

“There was never really a question of doing otherwise,” Fuller said. “In order to be true to the book you had to cast the character as written.” (Not mentioned: The fact that at San Diego Comic-Con this year, Gaiman said that one of his conditions for adapting the book was that there be no whitewashing.)

Two of the most notable figures in the ensemble cast include Gillian Anderson as the goddess Media (typecasting) and Dane Cook as Robbie, a friend of protagonist Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle).

When it came to casting Anderson, it was a simple matter of a phone call, as the actress was a big fan of Gaiman’s work and Fuller had previously worked with her on “Hannibal.” “Gillian knows that if I’m ever doing anything she’s remotely interested in, she’s in,” he said. (If you’re reading this, Bryan, know that we’ve got our hopes up for a “Star Trek: Discovery” cameo.)

Cook, meanwhile, stands out as a bit of an oddball choice given that he’s better known for his stand-up comedy than character acting. But while he wasn’t necessarily the immediate choice for the role — other actors were considered — Fuller and Green seemed content with the pick.

The decision to cast Cook came from a motivation, Green said, of “How do you get someone who can be a really entertaining dick?” And in the process of developing the character, they discussed with Cook how to take his brand and “subvert it” on the show.

What exactly does that mean? We’ll find out more when “American Gods” premieres in 2017. Check out some first-look photos below.

Bruce Langley in "American Gods."

Bruce Langley in “American Gods.”


Ricky Whittle and Pablo Schreiber in "American Gods."

Ricky Whittle and Pablo Schreiber in “American Gods.”


Yetide Badaki in "American Gods."

Yetide Badaki in “American Gods.”


Pablo Schreiber, Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane in "American Gods."

Pablo Schreiber, Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane in “American Gods.”


Ian McShane in "American Gods."

Ian McShane in “American Gods.”


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