“Okay,” she said. “Good question. I’m the idiot box, I’m the TV, I’m the all-seeing eye and the world of the cathode ray. I’m the boob tube. I’m the little shrine the family gathers to adore.”
That’s how Media, one of the New Gods and the personification of television, describes herself in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Gillian Anderson posted the above photo to Twitter yesterday with the caption We’ll be telling this story—and yes, we definitely adore this first look at her in-character.
In the novel, published in 2001, Media appeared in the form of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) from I Love Lucy. As one of the New Gods most in need of an upgrade for the Starz television series, set to premiere 16 years after the book’s publication, Media’s character seems to have been shifted a bit to fit our current reliance on technology, which is even greater than it was in 2001 thanks to smartphones, mentioned in the official character description below. Tellingly, Media is depicted above as Marilyn Monroe, not Lucy—and that’s not the only character she’ll channel:
[Media is] the mouthpiece for the New Gods, functioning as their public face and sales representative, by taking the form of various iconic celebrities. She lives off the attention and worship that people give to screens—to their laptops, their TVs, to their iPhones in their hands while they watch their TVs. Ever the perky spokesperson, and always in control, she spins stories in whatever direction best suits her.
We really hope that she changes her persona to match the age and pop culture knowledge (or nostalgia) of the people with whom she’s interacting. Fingers crossed we’ll see Anderson’s take on Lucille Ball, plus maybe Joan Crawford, Kim Kardashian, or even a male celebrity.
Update: We forgot that technically, we’ve already seen her as Lucy, from photographer Mark Seliger’s 1999 coffee table book Physiognomy:
American Gods is set to premiere in early 2017 on Starz.