The series, which Fuller and Michael Green adapted from Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, doesn’t shy away from anything – including ultraviolence and bold nudity. That includes both female and male scenes.
“We had to do the book justice,” Fuller recently told IndieWire’s Turn It On podcast. “They told us very early on that we could have nudity, and yet they were clear in not needing nudity if we didn’t [want] it. The only qualification was we should be equal opportunity nudists with the show. So we had a lot of penises.”
Fuller and Green, plus stars Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Badaki, Orlando Jones, Bruce Langley, and Crispin Glover, joined us on stage to discuss the show at a “For Your Consideration Event” presented by Starz at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center. Listen below!
(Warning: If you happen to be listening with any sensitive ears, the language does get explicit at times. This is a pretty adult show, if you’ve seen it.)
Stay tuned for close to the end of the conversation, when Fuller tells a raucous story about how actor Mousa Kraish, who plays the Arabic god Jinn, wound up with a rather hefty prosthetic penis.
“The fun part was coordinating with Mousa, whose penis was revealed in the third episode, and you’re dealing with two straight guys doing a gay sex scene,” Fuller said. “We got on the phone and said, our intention was to do a beautiful love scene between two men, and he was like, ‘OK, as long as its not exploitational, and as long as you give me a beautiful cock.’ The funny part was somehow the visual effects guy got it in his head that it’s an 11-inch cock… We sent this 11-inch cock to Mousa with a note – ‘How’s it hanging?’ – expecting him to be like, ‘Jesus Christ!’ But his only response was, ‘It looks good, but should be darker!'”
Getty Images for Starz
“American Gods” balances humor, drama, supernatural, violence, romance, and weighty subjects like immigration, religion and sexuality in a way that might be the most ambitious series of Fuller’s career. With Gaiman’s blessing, he and Green turned it into what IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers calls a “gorgeous, violent Americana infused supernatural drama.”
“We get to have an opportunity to tell compassionate immigration stories in this climate,” Fuller said. “There’s so much vilification right now of the immigrant experience and the immigrant story that we forget those are American legends. if you’re from a family that knows which generation arrived here, it’s a familial legend to how great grandpa or grandma traveled to America and found this place. Now we’re acting like every one just popped up here like mushrooms and it seems a little hypocritical.”
Said Badaki, who plays Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba: “I am an immigrant and the experience of this individual coming from this ancient place and finding herself in a new place and trying to find herself in this world really resonated with me.”
Among other tidbits gleaned from the panel: Ian McShane, who plays the charismatic Mr. Wednesday, loves to use emojis when he texts and emails producers, Green said. Whittle, who has bonded with McShane over their mutual love of Manchester United, takes it a step further.
“He texts me GIFs and I like to send him GIFs of himself,” Whittle said. “That’s how good Ian McShane is, I can send him GIFs of himself throughout his career!”
Getty Images for Starz
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now in TV – no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.