HBO has announced that it will be bringing one of Neil Gaiman's most celebrated works, the novel American Gods, to life in a 6-season series helmed by none other than Tom Hanks. The series will be 10 to 12 hour-long episodes, will be budgeted at around $35 million a season, and will include Gaiman on the writing staff.
American Gods, for those of you who are actively avoiding reading one of the best written works of the last decade, is the story of a man named Shadow who becomes the valet of an American manifestation of the Norse god Odin as he attempts to rally his fellow old world gods into battle against the new gods of television, Internet and cancer. Shadow is forced to confront the very nature of belief itself in his journey across the country, and visits some of our more fascinating attractions like the House on the Rock.
Thus far, no casting choices have been announced. Luckily for all involved, Art Attack and the Wife With One F have been casting this film since the day we finished the novel. Here are our humble suggestions.
Shadow Moon - Dwayne Johnson
The Rock in a Gaiman novel adapation? Really, With One F? Yes, really. Shadow is a big man often mistaken for having Native American blood. Though he's taciturn by nature, Gaiman gave some truly great smart-ass quips to his main character, and delivering those lines is what made Johnson the household name he is today. Despite his over-the-top action hero persona, Johnson has shown some real acting ability over the years since he left the WWE, and we are certain he would be able to pull off Shadow's journey into the heart of the country's faith.
Mr. Wednesday - Richard Jenkins
Wednesday is Odin's nom de guerre in the novel. He's a gruff, scheming con man who at the same time can be the epitome of charm. You might remember Jenkins as Nathaniel Fisher from HBO's Six Feet Under. Though he mostly appeared as a ghost or in flashbacks, Jenkins really came through in portraying a man who was capable of both love and honesty, as well as pursuing his own ends through dubious methods.
Mr. Nancy - Paul Mooney
Mr. Nancy is really Ananzi, the west African trickster god. In his human form he's an older black man with a propensity for stories and jokes. Who better to portray him than comedian and Chapelle's Show regular Paul Mooney? Quick-witted and affable, but at the same time cynical, Mooney would make the perfect comic relief for the more grumpy gods.
Czernobog - Milan Kňažko
Czernobog is a Slovakian deity, but very little is actually know about him save from Christian sources who portray him as a dark, evil demon. In America, he has worked mostly as a cattle killer in slaughterhouses, but has now retired. He joins Shadow and Wednesday after Shadow loses to him in a game of checkers (the bet was that Czernobog gets to kill Shadow with a hammer when the journey is over). Milan Kňažko played Sasha, the head of Elite Hunting in Hostel II, and would bring the perfect dark, amusement to the role.
Sam Black Crow - Heather Morris
At one point in his employ by Wednesday Shadow picks up a young hitchhiker named Sam, a half-native American, bi-sexual liberal arts student who embodies every stereotype of college feminism. She and Shadow click instantly in a kind of sibling relationship full of back and forths on the nature of modern America as opposed to old-world beliefs. We'd have to tan her to the ends of the earth, but Heather Morris would be the perfect choice. Her bizarre non-sequiteurs are about the only reason to keep watching Glee.
Low Key Lyesmith - Jackie Earle Haley
Say those two first words together real fast and you'll know who Lyesmith really is. Mythology's most famous grifter couldn't do better than enlisting the phenomenal acting chops of the man who finally brought Rorschach to life. The role involves many, many facets, from helpful cell mate, to disinterested traitor, to very interested traitor, to complete bastard. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who can pull all of those off better than Haley.
Media - Kristin Wiig
Media is one of the new gods, the god of television. She's described as pretty, though nondescript. Basically, she looks like every anchorwoman you've ever seen, though she occasionally poses as television characters such as Lucy Ricardo. Wiig, for our money, is the funniest woman alive at the moment and a master of disguise to boot. If we were to pick the perfect face of television, that combination of beauty and irony, we'd pick Wiig every day of the week twice during sweeps.
Laura Moon - Kristin Bauer
Laura is Shadow's wife, who is killed mere moments into the novel's first chapter, but who is resurrected through an odd bit of accidental magic as a kind of zombie. She doesn't seek the flesh or blood of the living, but instead tries as hard as possible to continue living her life as well as occasionally helping Shadow out of a few tight spots with a bit of murder. Bauer is currently playing the vampire Pam on HBO's True Blood, and certainly knows how to make dead fun.