Wed
Jun 13 2012 4:00pm
From Shadow to Wednesday: Casting Thoughts for American Gods

If you’ve been reading fantasy for the last ten years, watched the last season of Doctor Who or have been paying attention to good comic books for the last decade or two, you know who Neil Gaiman is. If you’re familiar with his work then you’ve heard of the unbelievable novel known as American Gods. It had its ten year anniversary recently and during that celebration, Neil Gaiman announced a sequel that would continue the adventures of his quiet, cat-loving, coin-trick playing protagonist Shadow. But another amazing bit of news last year involved HBO purchasing the rights to create American Gods as a TV series.

That’s right, sometime soon we’ll see Mr. Wednesday and Shadow gracing our cable television screens. But who might be cast in such a huge endeavor? The ensemble is going to have to be pretty big, as there are so many great characters, but Neil Gaiman has stated that the show might take some different directions than the book. Still, I’m laying out my favorite possibilities for some of the main characters in this hugely expansive work. Take a look!

Shadow

Shadow is the main character of the book and a sticky casting question overall. Shadow is described as quiet and big, something we’re not short on in actors in Hollywood right now. But websites and blogs have been buzzing about whether or not the casting of Shadow would stay true to the descriptions in the book of his mixed racial heritage. Sure, we could always fall back on Vin Diesel as an obvious choice, but fortunately, HBO has two vets in their stable of other shows that could use a run at being leading men. What about True Blood’s Joe Manganiello? He’s shown star power in spades playing the quiet yet powerful werewolf Alcide. And speaking of quiet yet powerful, we may require Dothraki subtitles for his performance on Game of Thrones, but Jason Momoa has an intensity that translates onto film very well. The most recent Conan might not have been a spectacular film, but Momoa brought one hell of a ferocity to the role while he’s shown his quiet side as Drogo. Either would make killer leading men for Shadow. Alternately, Dominic Purcell of Prison Break fame could be a dark horse candidate.

 

Mr. Wednesday

Opposite Shadow is the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, Shadow’s boss and ultimately the lever upon which a lot of the story in American Gods turns. Casting a powerful actor with charisma and power is vital to this role. And while it would be nice if Anthony Hopkins decided he wanted to come to television for a little while (as he would be my first choice) I think an equal could be found in Clockwork Orange’s Malcolm McDowell. There’s few people who can stare holes into a camera and put on a big smile and deliver back and forth witty dialogue against a silent as stone protagonist like Shadow with verve like McDowell. One other person comes to mind, however, and that’s Willam Dafoe. There’s no question Dafoe has range as well as a wiley, wild streak a mile wide. Granted, he’s a younger choice but could he play the boss man with style? No question, hands down.

 

Laura

Shadow’s ex-wife Laura is a difficult character to cast. She is a complicated character who I’ve seen categorized as everything from a psychotic to the ultimate manic pixie dream girl. I think it would be difficult to put her into either one, but one thing is for sure - whatever actress has to pull off Laura’s antics in the television series better be ready to put in a stellar performance. To that end, I’m investing my hope in Ruth Wilson. She’s got the lead in the upcoming Lone Ranger and did wonderfully on Luther and The Prisoner on television before. This is a woman with sex appeal and acting chops. Alternatively, for someone a little different and off the beat and path a little, might I suggest Marguerite Moreau (Queen of the Damned, Firestarter 2).  She’s not as big a name as Wilson but she has a quiet power to her performances that I think could translate well for Laura. 

 

Mr. Nancy

The character Mr. Nancy was so compelling in American Gods, he appeared again in Gaiman’s follow-up (but not sequel) called Anansi Boys. This wily old man has to be eclectic, charming, and debonair, yet carry an air of mystery and wisdom about him. My vote goes with long-time acting powerhouse Keith David. Ever since I saw him in They Live opposite Roddy Piper, I believe he’s been sadly undercast and underused in Hollywood. Sure, one could go for a mainstay like Morgan Freeman, but could he pull off the ’out there’ nature of the old crazy coot Mr. Nancy? I believe Keith David could. Alternately, Garrett Morris is a comedian without measure and has a style and rhythm all his own that could light up the screen as Mr. Nancy.

 

Low-Key Lyesmith

Low-Key Lyesmith is a character that would require an actor capable of pulling off depth and subtlety as well as being capable of keeping everyone guessing. While there are a lot of different directions one could go with this casting, I keep coming back to Watchman’s Jackie Earle Haley. The man’s got a non-traditional Hollywood look and star power coming out of his ears. He can do subtle, he can do intense, he can do pretty much anything. Alternately, for someone who is already embroiled in his own series, Once Upon A Time’s Robert Carlyle would be an amazing choice — if he’d be able to get away from being all Rumplestilskin. 

 

Hinzelmann

One of my favorite characters in the whole book, Hinzelmann is Shadow’s neighbor and a whole lot more than he seems. While there are tons of actors that could work for this slightly off character, I have this odd fascination with long-time Hollywood mainstay Matt Frewer. You might know him as Trashcan Man from The Stand, Taggart from Eureka or just as The Guy Whose Been in Tons of Stephen King Adaptations. Still, Frewer has been in so much and has nailed his performances with conviction and earnest delivery every time. Alternately, Stephen McHattie from Syfy’s Haven is a strong actor who can play ’guy next door who got something weird happening’ very well. 

 

Samantha Black Crow

Every show should have a snarky sidekick female character and Samantha is that girl —without falling into that manic pixie stereotype I was talking about before. Intelligent and thoughtful, Samantha is the Mulder in this American adventure, wanting to believe in more than what she sees. She’s also described as being multi-ethnic so an actress like Shannon Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale) might be just the girl to give her some exotic yet winsome beauty. Plus, Sussamon can also be snarky and fun, so I think she’d make a perfect foil for the quiet Shadow. Another choice might be Glee’s Naya Rivera. Rivera has proven that she can pack a wallop in some scenes as Santana and this could give her the chance to branch out of her teen sensation status.

 

Easter

Easter is described as, well, kind of a vamp. She’s beautiful, she’s vivacious and more than anything else, she’s got healthy curves in all the right places. Which, sad to say, in Hollywood is harder to find than you’d imagine. So immediately when you think about a woman who could fill out a role like Easter, be sexy and curvy and also deliver a great performance, my mind immediately went to Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. She seems to be the go-to girl for any performance that doesn’t require the actress to be itty-bitty and she’s got the acting chops to boot. Alternately for someone who isn’t Hollywood’s it girl but who has a wholesomeness that can’t be denied, Sarah Rue is also a fantastic actress who could make Easter shine. 

 

Mad Sweeney

There was only one person in my mind when I thought of a madman like Mad Sweeney and that was Denis Leary. This comedian turned actor has no problems bringing aggressive yet hilarious performances, as we’ve seen in  Demolition Man and his critically acclaimed series Rescue Me. It might not be the biggest role in the world, and I originally considered him as a switch-out for Low-Key, but he could really pull of a fantastic Mad Sweeney in a way that would make the character stand out. Alternately, Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) is a fantastic actor who recently blasted expectations away with his performance on Hell on Wheels.

 

With a cast this long, I’d love to go through everyone but it would take forever. Some other possible casting suggestions would be Sanaa Lathan (AvP) or Rosario Dawson for Bast while Czernobog could really use some Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2). Mr. Ibis would be amazing with Brad Dourf (Alien: Resurrection) at the helm alongside Lance Reddick (Fringe) or Colin Salmon (Resident Evil) as Mr. Jacquel and I could love to see Tech Boy be played by Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek). Like I said, the list could keep going, but I’ll leave it here.

Are there any characters I’ve left out that you’d have suggestions for? Sound off. Meanwhile, we can only wait and see what HBO has in store.


Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com

81 comments
Emilio Gómez
1. Emilio Gómez
This is an odd pick, but for some reason when I read American Gods I always pictured Kelsey Grammer as Mr. Wednesday. I realize it isn't a popular choice since everybody will always associate him with Frasier Crane, but I hear he's ruthless in Boss, so he's my Odin.
Emilio Gómez
2. Brolander
For some reason I always imagined Vin Diesel in the Shadow role, of all people. Ditto Donald Sutherland for Mr. Wednesday. Hrm.
Emilio Gómez
3. Rebekah
I think John Hawkes was born to play Low-Key Lyesmith. And I completely agree about Ruth Wilson--she'd be an amazing Laura.
Emilio Gómez
4. monkfish
Would personally love Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Wednesday and Gene Hackman as Czernobog.

If Matthew Lillard was older or at least looked older he'd be perfect as Loki.
Emilio Gómez
5. dougg
Wow, Garrett Morris looks exactly the way I picture Mr Nancy.
Emilio Gómez
7. Imelda
I had EXACT the same actors in mind for the role of Shadow. Great minds huh? :)
Kate Nepveu
8. katenepveu
I would LOVE to see Jason Momoa as Shadow; he did so much with so little as Ronon on _SGA_ that I think he would be great here.

Also, can we please not call people who aren't of exclusively European descent "exotic"? It's very alienating to be described as though you were something mysterious and remote and unusual and whatever.
Emilio Gómez
9. dondasch
Donald Sutherland as Mr. Wednesday. That is a given.
Morgan Freeman as Mr. Nancy
Was thinking Viggo Mortensen for Low Key Lyesmith
Emilio Gómez
10. r1pvanw1nkl3
I always pictured Shadow to be more mixed-race/less white.
Emilio Gómez
11. Michael Tymczyszyn
For Mr. Nancy, I think you need someone shorter, smaller, and with a bit more energy, I'd cast Dule Hill best known for his role on The West Wing. Love your picks for Shadow, I think either could really work. Dennis Leary I think is a better Low Key than Mad Sweeney, but Colm Meany would be awesome.

For Hinzelmann, also one of my favorite characters, I think you need to go a bit older, I'd cast Armin Mueller-Stahl who is one of those older actors you recognize but can't place, or Dustin Hoffman, who I think could do the story telling justice.

Last but not least, Wednesday, I have to say I didn't picture anything like either of your picks, and Tony Hopkins isn't likely to play the role twice (not even as remotely as this would be), I think James Caan could have done it a few years ago, but he's too old now. In a completely off the wall way I think Robin Williams would be perfect. Think about it...
Emilio Gómez
12. Tree Lobsters
My first thought for Wednesday was Tommy Lee Jones. No idea why.
Emilio Gómez
13. Merrick_HLC
Isn't Shadow supposed to be a black/white mixed person? None of those actors are that mix. Momoa looks close, but I really can't see anyone looking at Dominic or Joe and thinking they are part black.

Seriously can picture a racist guard coming up to either Joe or Dominic and going "You got some (racial epithet for black people) in you?"

That's one of the first things that happens to Shadow in the books. If the looks of the actor would not provoke that question, they are not fit to play Shadow.



The actor playing Shadow should, at the very least, be someone people look at and instantly know he's NOT just white, he's raciall mixed, with the only question being WHAT the mix is.
Casting someone who can easily completely pass as a white guy is taking away a major part of the character.

The rest of the casting I think is spectacular, but let's not make one of the VERY few racially mixed heroes in fiction into Dominic Purcell please .
Emilio Gómez
14. Liza
If Jackie Earle Haley (my favorite actor) is in a series created by Neil Gaiman (my favorite writer) then my life shall be beautifully complete.
Emilio Gómez
15. HurtadoSt
I'd actually read Anansi Boys first, and always pictured Ron Glass for Mr. Nancy (alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Fat Charlie and Yasiin Bey as Spider). That said, I'd LOVE Keith David or Garrett Morris in the role, especially Morris - he'd have so much fun with it.
Emilio Gómez
16. CassieM42
Malcom McDowell is PERFECT! He has that twinkle in his eye.. I love Christina Hendricks - from Firefly to Man Men that girl has serious talent! I agree that Garett Morris looks EXACTLY like how I pictured Mr. Nancy. Matt Frewer is also very talented in character roles and has such a wonderful look. Robert Carlyle is sooo talented in Once Upon a Time if it's possible to steal him- I would! I personally imagine Zooey Deschanel as Laura.. and someone a little more like Lawerence Fishburne for Shadow.
Emilio Gómez
17. Egg Toast
shadow cannot be white. that would be annoying
Emilio Gómez
18. Egg Toast
oh, and i love the picks for Easter and Wednesday. what about Stephen McHattie for Hinzelmann
Emilio Gómez
19. cercopithecus
What about Coby Bell for Shadow?
Emilio Gómez
20. Rock Golf
When I was reading AG, the voice in my head for Wednesday was the late John Huston. It sounded so right, that I suspect Gaiman channelled Huston when writing the character.
Rob Munnelly
21. RobMRobM
How about Stellan Skarsgard for Wednesday? Bit on the young side but Scandinavian and full of charm.

And I'd like an unknown for Shadow. It would enhance the viewer's sense he is a man out of sync with the world.
Emilio Gómez
22. Terliwig
for wednesday i think tommy lee jones could do a good job well if he could alter his acent a little that is. or maybe sean bean

for Nancy i dont hink you can do any better than the narator for the a
Audiobook Anansi Boys Lennie Hennery (who is also a comedian and actor) Hugh Lauri could do low-key if the acters there dont want it
Emilio Gómez
23. Anja
I'm not sure if I could watch this if Jason Momoa wasn't cast as Shadow, unless they get Jesse Williams. I would like Rutger Hauer for Wednesday please, but can live with Donald Sutherland. Ruth Wilson for Laura: fantastic (Zooey Deschanel annoys me). Haley for Low-Key: excellent. I've always pictured Easter like Cynthia Ettinger (as she looked in Carnivàle). Denis Leary as Mad Sweeney would be cool. Hinzelmann should be more Father Christmas-like, not skinny and nervous. I completely fail to understand why a Native American character should be played by someone "exotic", surely she is the most "enzotic" character in the book? (I just made that word up, don't bother pointing out that it doesn't exist).
Emilio Gómez
24. Namaah
I like most of your picks but I hate Joe Manganiello for Shadow. He's all wrong. My pick would be Jesse Williams. He could pull off Shadow's depth of character much more than that flat beefcake. Yuck.
Emilio Gómez
25. Atticus
James Cosmo, Jeor Mormont from Game of Thrones, should play Mr.Wednesday.
Jason Momoa as Shadow.
Ian McShane as Czernobog.
Benedict Cumberbatch or Cillian Murphy as Low key.
Sidney Poitier or Morgan Freeman as Mr. Nancy.
Lance Reddick as Mr. Jacquel
Giancarlo Esposito as Mr. Ibis
Ruth Wilson as Laura
Brad Dourf as Hinzelmann
Tommy Flanagan as Mad Sweeney
Ruth Negga as Sam Black Crow
Sarah Rue as Easter
Paula Patton as Bast
Emilio Gómez
26. Michelle L.
Whoa! I am blown away by the suggestion of Garret Morris as Mr. Nancy. I'd never thought of it, but he would be PERFECT. There is something about the rhythm of his speech (at least in the old SNL days) that resonates with the way I picture the character.

Christina Hendricks as Easter: uh, YES. I can already imagine her delivery of a certain line involving her thighs.

I'm afraid I never managed to picture Shadow the way he's described; he WILL go looking his own way in my head no matter how I try, but Jason Momoa would be pretty cool.
Emilio Gómez
27. Joshua Weil
It's been almost a decade, but when I first read the book I imagined Henry Rollins as Shadow. He's probably too old now, so I like Dominic Purcell -- he reminds me of a young Rollins.
Emilio Gómez
28. Orgil
Shouldn't instead of just looking for 'multi-ethnic' we get people that are actually of the ethnicity described in the book? Someone that is part American Indian for Shadow, etc.? Because I don't see how 'generic not white' is all that much better than casting him as white, considering the importance of his heritage is, with the buffalo dreams and all.
Emilio Gómez
29. Masteradept
I hope that they actually get an actor, who is biracilly Black to play Shadow...lets not pull another whitewashing please.
Del C
30. del
I thought of Anthony Hopkins as Wednesday, and see you did too. So, Tom Hiddleston for Low-Key? :-)

Joking aside, I also think Jeff Bridges might be able to pull off Wednesday. Kris Kristofferson has the look, but I don't think he has the role in him.
Emilio Gómez
31. Moon Rose
For Shadow, I could see Wentwork Miller or a younger
Keith Hamilton Cobb
Emilio Gómez
32. S.J. MacMillan
It would be really swell if the series were cast with talented "unknowns." Or talenetd "Where have they beens?" Garrett Morris would be brilliant as Mr. Nancy.

I only recently read American Gods and the one actor I had in my head for a character was Sage Brocklebank. He plays a minor, slightly goofy character on Psych (Buzz McNab). The reason he appeared as Shadow in my head is that he's 6' 5 and looks like he could be a mix of Native American or Mexican and Caucasian/white/euro-American (Which do I say to not get me tsk-tsk'd?). I may have misread cues but I took Shadow to be part Native American.
Katy Maziarz
33. ArtfulMagpie
"Someone that is part American Indian for Shadow, etc.?"

IIRC, the implication is that Shadow's mother is black, not American Indian. She is dark-skinned and dies of sickle cell anemia. So even though Shadow's race is never explicitly stated, we can infer from circumstantial evidence that he's half white (Norse, lol) and half black. Although nothing says that his mother wasn't part American Indian herself, I suppose!

Personally, I always pictured someone Dwayne Johnson-y. (The Rock, for those unfamiliar with his real name.) Not that I actually literally want him to play Shadow, but his appearance...big, don't-eff-with-me, clearly of mixed ethnic heritage...seems to fit.

I dig Colm Meaney for Mad Sweeney and Willem Dafoe for Wednesday! And Garrett Morris looks pretty much exactly like I would picture Mr. Nancy. Maybe not quite as old as I'd envision, but really darned close.
Katy Maziarz
34. ArtfulMagpie
"So, Tom Hiddleston for Low-Key? :-)"

Oh, man, that would be hilarious!!
Emilio Gómez
35. Mothra
Haley for Low-Key is a beyond perfect choice.

HurtadoSt, your casting for Anansi Boys was just how I read it! So perfect.

I also love Atticus' idea for Lance Reddick as Mr. Jacquel
Giancarlo Esposito as Mr. Ibis.

I can't place Czernobog though - I thought he needs to be thicker, squatter and craggly. I got the whole Charles Durning vibe from him.
Emilio Gómez
36. brassdollfin
Love your calls on Malcolm McDowell, Robert Carlyle, Christina Hendricks, Denis Leary, Mickey Rourke, and Rosario Dawson.

As far as Shadow goes... I can't think of a single actor who I'd call a perfect fit for Shadow. Visually, maybe Billy Wirth, but it's been a long time since I've seen Lost Boys...

And for Sam - much as I hate to say it, I don't think Naya Rivera has the quirk factor needed here. Sass, yes. Quirk? Not so much. I'd love to see someone a little more out there; a little more Summer Glau or even Kat Dennings... but that seems a bit whitewash-y, so maybe not.
Emilio Gómez
37. sufferlove
I LOVE Naya Rivera for Sam. I'd argue that she's one of the strongest actors on Glee and I'd love to see take on a role like this one.

For my part, I always imagined Jeff Bridges as Mr. Wednesday.
Emilio Gómez
38. Josiemonster
it's been a really long time since i read the book, but didn't Shadow have to ask Sam if she was a boy or a girl (he did always refer to her as "girl-Sam", afterall...)? i think perhaps someone a bit more androgynous than these girls may be more fitting? unfortunately i can't think of anyone off the top of my head, but i wouldn't pick either of those ladies, they are much too feminine. as for Shadow, though, i think someone like Shemar Moore would be great.
S.J. MacMillan
39. S.J.MacMillan
Sickle Cell Anemia also affects many of those who could call themselves "Native Americans" (north, central, south) at a higher rate than whites. (I mention this only because I saw in the discussions of Shadow's ethnicity on other sites the SCA being cited as proof his mother must have been African American.)

Also people who have a little African American and a little Native American in them, or who are half one and half the other, aren't that uncommon.

As for Shadow being a typical Hollywood Action Hero Leading Man type...Do a lot of people really see him that way? I saw him as an almost stoic, reserved character. The type of guy who'd ask questions first, kick butt later...If he was forced into butt kicking.
Nick Rogers
40. BookGoblin
So first, I have to admit that because it's my favorite book from my second-favorite author (and my second favorite book of all time) I will watch this even if the actors are actually claymation blobs modeled by blind and angry monkeys.

I'm a bit ashamed that I too see Dwayne Johnson as shadow when I read the book. Sue me.

I also see either Malcom McDowell or, and this is weird, Sting as Wednesday. They kind of flip back and forth as I read the book.

But, I have to say that if Game of Thrones taught me anything, it's that finding new talent seriously trumps old talent in the "suck me into the series" department.

So, painful as it is because these are some great suggestions, I hope it's none of these people. Give me my next Peter Dinklage.
Emilio Gómez
41. jpnj
Here's a weird one: Tori Amos for Easter
Emilio Gómez
42. mat mjm
Love this book! One of my favourites. I'm very happy for Neil to write a sequal, although i'm nervous about ascreen adaption, since seeing HBO butcher GRR Martins work.

For me whenever I re-read this book I picture Shadow as Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, and Wednesday as Michael Emerson, aka Ben Linus from Lost. I know this dosen't quite work with the, to miss quote Empire Strikes Back "I am your Father!" But Wednesday is a God right??

I do agree with Keith David for Mr Nancy and Robert Carlyle for Low Key.

I'm not sure about Hinzlemann, but think he needs to be older than your recomendations.
Emilio Gómez
43. mat mjm
oh oh..... Nick Nolte for Mad Sweeney
Emilio Gómez
44. SquishypuffDave
I really want Stephen McHattie as Wednesday! No-one else come close to how I picture him.

Also, I love Atticus' choices for Ibis and Jacquel!
Emilio Gómez
45. StrongDreams
it's been a really long time since i read the book, but didn't Shadow have to ask Sam if she was a boy or a girl

Possibly because at the time, she was bundled up in a parka and hitchhiking in a blizzard. She cleans up cute though, and Shadow is definitely attracted to her, although he doesn't act on it.
Emilio Gómez
46. Brolander
I always see Scatman Cruthers in my head when Mr. Nancy is around. Too bad he's, y'know, dead and all.
Emilio Gómez
47. Josiemonster
StrongDreams, thanks for the clarity. I had forgotten. :) I do need to read this book again.
Emilio Gómez
48. Badmoose
Hinton Battle for Mr. Nancy. Sean Bean as Wednesday. Jackie Earle Haley would make a great Low Key, and how do you not cast Christina Hendricks as Easter?
Emilio Gómez
49. Ranuel
Another vote from me on Dwane Johnson as Shadow although he'd probably never do it. I agree that Jason Momoa could play the part but even if I didn't already have a strong preference the comments he made during the publicity for Conan along the lines of it being fun to get to rape and kill people in the movie have turned me off of him in anything. I'd probably watch an American Gods adaptation in spite of him being in it but only if the rest of the cast was realy good.

The thing about Hinzelmann is that it's a big reveal that he's creepy as hell. He needs to look really friendly and safe for most of his screen time but be able to turn that around fast. Clark Gregg could do it pretty well but anybody who might get cast as a suburban dad or granddad with the acting skill to also be villianous would do.
Emilio Gómez
50. Lux
I love the idea of Lance Reddick or Colin Salmon as Mr. Jacquel, but I don't know why when I was reading the book I couldn't stop picturing him played by Isaiah Washington. I think he has shown this aggressive, almost animalistic side of him in past projects.
Emilio Gómez
51. MannieJo
Wilford Brimley as Hinzelmann - he might be too infirm now to pull it off, I don't know, but to me, if he could cool down the gruffness, he's the perfect type.

Donald Sutherland is who I always imagined as Wednesday, tall, and charming while being a con artist at the same time.

Dwayne Johnson is the type I imagined as Shadow, though the role definitely needs a stoic, thoughtful actor. This needs to be someone new, a breakout role.

Nick Nolte as Mad Sweeney was an inspired comment, and I cannot see him as anyone else now.

Czernobog = Mickey Rourke

Garrett Morris as Mr. Nancy is the best casting idea ever.

I think Dennis Leary would be a good Low Key - someone needs to bring the anarchic crazy that simmers in this role.
james loyd
52. gaijin
@21 I was thinking of Stellan Skarsgard too, but as Hinzelmann. I think he could easily pull off the kindly then extremely creepy thing admirably.

I always pictured Mad Sweeny as a taller Shane MacGowan, but actually it might be a fun role for Gaiman himself.

As for Mr. Nancy, if Geoffrey Holder (the "never had it, never will" guy from old 7-up commercials) was up for it he'd be brilliant, but that's a major role for an 81 year-old.
Madeline Matz
53. mcmatz
I am so glad I am not the only person who has pictured Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock as Shadow! I think Garrett Morris as Mr Nancy is dead on. And I am going to throw out Hugh Laurie as Wednesday. Wednesday is written as being as tall as Shadow so height is important and Laurie has acting chops that have, as of yet, not been explored. Perhaps Mila Kunis as Laura? Idris Elba would make a great Shadow, too.
Emilio Gómez
54. allbarbaramay
Dwayne Johnson gets my vote for Shadow! If you're not a believer, watch Southland Tales. He can do quiet, and he's a freakin' sasquatch. Other than that, I'm good with all these casting choices.
Rob Munnelly
55. RobMRobM
@53-54. I believe Gaiman said he had the Rock in mind when he wrote Shadow. The Rock is too old at this point - I'd like a fresh face.

@52. I view Hinzleman as significantly older that SS would be, but interesting though. Given the Norse roots of many characters, SS can play a whole bunch of people.

Rob.
Katy Maziarz
56. ArtfulMagpie
"@53-54. I believe Gaiman said he had the Rock in mind when he wrote Shadow. The Rock is too old at this point - I'd like a fresh face."

I think he said Vin Diesel, actually.
Emilio Gómez
57. Milaka
I just finished the book. I kind of see The Rock as Shadow, but he'd need to be younger.

For me, Wednesday was Rip Torn. Once in a while I saw Anthony Hopkins, but mostly it was Rip Torn.

Easter has got to be Virginia Madsen. With all due respect to Christina Hendricks (who would be my second choice), but I think that Ms. Madsen has the depth that Easter needs.

I know the actor is dead, but I kept seeing Richard Farnsworth as Hinzelmann.

Mr. Ibis is who I see Matt Frewer playing. With Jaime Foxx playing Mr. Jacquel.

I'm excited to see what this series will do!
Emilio Gómez
58. dakolb
A younger Jack Nicholson would be the perfect Mr. Wednesday, but McDowell could do fine, I like him.
I so agree with Garrett Morris für Mr. Nansi. Perfect.
Robert Carlyle - Low Key!
I really do like Christina Hendricks, but Easter is described as a blonde, and that may look strange... ;)

Bilquis MUST be a pr0n actress considering her opening scene. ;P
I'm still looking for my casts of Shadow and Sam Crow...
Emilio Gómez
59. Jim Dixon
I enjoy most of the suggestions I read, but I was honestly thinking John Witherspoon for Mr. Nancy.
Emilio Gómez
60. MissTee
Okay well I'm not even done with the book, but I think I could make a few suggestions. I know I'm about a month late, but oh well.

For Shadow, I hadn't picked up on his being multiethnic. But someone above suggested Native American, while another said that his mother must have been black because she died of sickle cell. It is not true that sickle cell only affects black people. In fact, the three main groups it affects in the US are African American, Hispanic, and Native American.

If we were looking for a Native American, I can't think of anyone better than Adam Beach. Not only is he a great actor, but he is smokin' hot. I'd be really grossed out of they chose The Rock or Vin Diesel as Shadow. Sorry, I'm just not a fan of either.

I tend to auto-cast books in my head. Some would say this is unfortunate, but I'm a visual person, so it's just what I do. The first time we see Wednesday on the plane, I pictured (don't laugh) Bill Murray. He's proven that he can do drama, and he would humorously master those scenes where he's scamming for money. He's quirky enough to pull off Wednesday's eccentricities.

I love the idea of Ian McShane as Czernobog and Garrett Morris as Nancy. I don't see Morgan Freeman being the obvious choice there. I'd be afraid it would be Morgan Freeman playing Nancy, and not just Nancy. David Alan Grier might be good too but I think he's too young and he also might be a little too high-key. I could be wrong.
Emilio Gómez
61. dbro
Brendan Gleeson for Wednesday, for sure. I saw him for Wednesday as soon as I started reading the book.
Emilio Gómez
62. pixi666
Jonah Hill as Tech Boy could work, I think. I'm not so sure about Donald Sutherland for Wednesday; I'm just not convinced he could come off as seedy and shady. Jackie Earle Haley as Low-Key is a great idea.

Anyone else want to see Hugo Weaving as Mr Town, dressed exactly the way he was as Agent Smith in the Matrix?
Emilio Gómez
63. J-h:n
Derailing the thread a bit, wouldn't it have been great if Anansi Boys could have been filmed in the early 1980s? A young Eddie Murphy as Spider, a young Forest Whitaker as Fat Charlie (if he could've done the British accent) and, of course, an old but still rocking Cab Calloway as Mr. Nancy. Because Cab Calloway was Mr. Nancy.
Emilio Gómez
64. Firegoat
Brian Cox for Mr. Wednesday.
Emilio Gómez
65. Agustin
Shadow - Phillip Anthony Rodriguez, Robert Guenver Smith (although I see him as too effeminate), also agree with Dwayne Johnson though, and the archetype of Alcide what's his face

Wednesday - Lance Henriksen hands down who I saw when I was reading it. Robert Duvall (1st choice), Gary Oldma, Clancy Brown, Rutger Hauer

Mad Sweeney - Brendon Gleeson

Lowkey Lyesmyth - Tom Hardy, Neal Mcdonough, Kim Coates

Mr. Nancy (only saw one guy while reading him) Zakes Mokae

Laura - Laruen Graham or there abouts

Easter - completely agree with the Tori Amos pick, or Christina Hendricks

Mr. Ibis - Miguel Ferrer

Mr. Jaquel - agree with Lance Reddick, also see Taye Diggs

Czenoborg - Jerry Grayson

John Trudell - Whisky Jack
Emilio Gómez
66. Xaratherus
I like the idea of Jason Momoa for Shadow; I could also see Boris Kodjoe as a possibility.

Rade Serbedzija could play an excellent Mr. Wednesday, I think. And Damian Lewis (properly aged) would be a good Low-Key.

Zlatko Buric for Czernobog; humorously, though, the voice I always heard for Czernobog was David Ogden Stiers doing the voiceover for Jumba from Disney's Lilo and Stitch, so I could almost see him doing it as well.

As much as I love Keith David, I would have to go with Garrett Morris for Anansi - and possibly cast David as Mr. Jaquel (I always pictured Jaquel with a very deep and distinctive voice, similar to David).
Emilio Gómez
67. Ledaal
Don't like an idea of Jason Momoa for Shadow - he's a great actor, but he's just the wrong type. Manganiello is better, but he looks a little bit too bookish for Shadow. So I think, realistically, Dominic Purcell wuld be the best pick. (Vin Diesel won't be avaliable for series, and there are too much words in this role for the Rock).

Mr. Wednesday - Stellan Skarsgard.

Low-Key Lyesmith - Robert Carlyle has to be in those series, and he'd be rather Low-Key than Mad Sweeny. Jackie Earle Haley is a perfect choice. And Paul Bettany too.

Chzernobog - Michael Ironside, Brian Cox , Mandy Patinkin (he'd be the best)

Mr.Nancy - Morgan Freeman or Garrett Morris

Mr.Town - Kiefer Sutherland

Mad Sweeny - Leary over Meaney over Carlyle (he's a great actor and has a personality, but is just the wrong type). Kris Holden-Ried would be great too.

Mr. Jacquel - Idris Elba
Del C
68. del
Jh:n, nothing wrong with Forest Whitaker's London accent, here he is in a clip from The Crying Game.

It's his shape that would be wrong. I haven't read Gaiman's Anansi Boys, but if I heard right, Fat Charlie isn't fat.
Emilio Gómez
69. bnh
I just finished American Gods this morning. What a great book. I love playing the casting game as I'm reading. Here's what i came up with. It'll be interesting to see who HBO uses.

Shadow: Karl Urban
I didn't see the Jason Momoa/Dwayne Johnson look at all. Emotionally, Shadow wasn't just brooding. He asked questions and sparked people's interest. He fit in in Lakeside and enjoyed life there. I saw more depth than just the big muscled guy. More intelligence. Physically, people asked if he might have African or Native American hertiage, but he didn't that he knew of. I also got the impression that he was a big, rugged guy. But it was more natural than cut in a gym.

Wednesday: Bill Murray
Wednesday needs to have the charm and likeability of a con man. Someone that, after everything that happened, Shadow still liked and missed. I don't see someone like Malcolm MacDowell having that charm. This is the one character that I don't think should necessarily look like he fits his personality.

Laura: January Jones
I know Laura has dark hair. But watch January Jones in Mad Men. The complexity of the character she plays. You go from feeling sorry for her to hating her and back again. And she nails the cold, unfeeling role.

Czernobog: Albert Finney

Mr. Nancy: Lee Weaver

Low-Key: Damian Lewis

Hinzelmann: William H Macy
Like Wednesday, there has to be a lot more depth to the character than where he winds up at the end. I think it's important to really like him. Macy is younger than I saw Hinzelmann in the book, but I think it would work.

Easter: Christina Hendricks

Mad Sweeney: Glen Hansard
Hes a musician, but he's got some acting chops and has a couple of great movies under his belt.

Mr. Ibis: Erick Avaru

Mr. Jacquel: Morgan Freeman
Emilio Gómez
70. Eduardo
Wednesday, in my head, was always played by Brendan Gleeson. I just don't see these two in the role.
Emilio Gómez
71. Ekim
I had Stacy Keach in my head for Wednesday. He's got the voice and the smirk for it.
Emilio Gómez
72. Atlas
Reading thyrough out the book i always pictured Jack Nicholson as Wednsday, he will forever be Odin to me now. And as sad as it seems, i always pictured Shadow and Laura being black... Crazy Right? I saw him as James Todd Smith (AKA LL Cool J) from "Deliver Us From Eva". Everyone else is just kind of a toss up.
Emilio Gómez
73. cschu
I was thinking Ian Mcshane as Czernerborg, or Wednesday. He'd be good in either. Or Donald Sutherland as Wednesday. I also pictured maybe Mark A. Shephard as Hinzelman and Andre Royo as Mr. Ibis or Mr. Nancy.
Emilio Gómez
74. J Wiseman
I've been thinking along these lines:
I am open-minded about Shadow & Laura
Wednesday - Robin Williams
Easter - Amanda Tapping
Mad Sweeney - Ryan Stiles
Nancy - Lenny Henry (who narrated the audio book of Anansi Boys)
Hinzlemann - Tommy Lee Jones
Czernobog - David Ogden Stiers (if he's not too OLD!)
Emilio Gómez
75. mcfuz
almost all of my picks are too old by now. (since AG should have been on screen long before now) but this is how i see them when i reread the novel.

shadow-josh brolin
mr. wednesday-max von sydow
lowkey-sting
mr nancy-bill cobbs
ibis - matt frewer
jaquel-idris elba
and how anyone could see someone other than jonah hill for tech boy is beyond me.

looking forward to it. thanks mr. gaiman. we've all been waiting a long time for this!
Emilio Gómez
76. JoePy
Reading the book, I pictured Josh Brolin as Shadow and Christoph Waltz as Mr. Wednesday.
Emilio Gómez
77. Goose
I agree with alot of the suggestions here. Ever since I read the book I sometimes wonder who would play the characters and I am never able to think of someone who could play shadow, but Jason Momoa seems like he could pull it off. For Mr. Wednesday I was thinking of Philp Seymore Hoffman though I dont think he would do it. For Mr. Nancy I always pictured Morgan Freeman but now that I saw Garret Morris I cant imagine anyone else. For Ester even when I read the book I immediatly thought f Christina Hendicks. Laura always seemed hard to me because she has to be able to pull of the "zombie" look. Hinzelmann I was thinking of the guy from Parks and Recreations, not Ron Swanson but the other white guy, I dont know his name but he seems like he could do it. For Mad Sweeney I always pictured a red head since he is a leprechaun. Anyway I cant wait for this show to air, although I'm worried that since they are making six seasons of twelve episodes each,might be a bit much and they might dilute the story too much, but since Neil Gaiman is writting the episodes Im sure they will be amazing.
Emilio Gómez
78. phil rolo
hugh jackman as shadow
Emilio Gómez
79. Carrot
I hear you, JoePy, it's always Christopher Waltz's grin that I picture whenever I read about Mr. Wednesday smiling.
I can't imagine anyone better suited for Wednesday than Christopher Waltz. His somewhat mysterious personality and that smile that always makes you wonder what on earth is that man in the pale suit trying to cook up... He'd be perfect.
Emilio Gómez
80. Girl with a Quill
To everyone complaining about Jason Mamoa because he is not racially mixed and we don't need it 'whitewashed' I say this to you... Jason Mamoa's father is full-blooded Hawaiian and his mother is German-Native American. That makes him racially mixed.
Mixed race does not only mean Black/White. It means non-european mixed with european.
Emilio Gómez
81. Andrea Santa Maria
Dafoe as Low-Key, Gabriel Byrne as Wednesday.

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