"American Gods" is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly awaited television events of 2017 -- even for the actors appearing in it.
With an enormously alluring pedigree that includes renowned fantasy author Neil Gaiman's bestselling source novel, the creative touch of acclaimed showrunner Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal") and the extravagant production values afforded by the premium cable channel Starz, "Gods" looks to have the broad-based audience allure of similar fantastical fare, like HBO's "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld" -- even before the series' official premiere date has been announced.
Among a prestigious cast that includes Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, and Kristin Chenoweth, members of the series' acting ensemble on the series -- which depicts an epic showdown between the gods of old and new, with modern deities in forms like Media and Technology -- are also abuzz with anticipation.
Actor Jonathan Tucker, the "Kingdom" co-star who previously collaborated with Fuller on "Hannibal" and an unsold TV pilot, reteams with the writer/producer to play Low-Key Lyesmith, who for viewers who haven't read the novel comes with many a surprise up his sleeve.
"I loved this idea," Tucker told Moviefone of his enthusiasm for the material and the relevancy of its of-the-moment themes. "We're always battling tradition and the old guard with progress and with the new temptations. That's certainly the case at this point. There's also this idea that Greed and Technology and these new gods -- the gods of today in Neil Gaiman's book -- we're still wrestling with those issues, even though it's been 20 years since the book."There's a lot of people who feel very left behind, on both sides of the political spectrum," he continued. "You always know that the source material is on point when the themes can carry forward 20 some odd years after it was originated."
"I'm geeking out!" admitted actress Yetide Badaki, whose filmography includes appearances on television favorites like "Criminal Minds" and "NCIS," and who considers herself a major fan of Gaiman's works. Badaki plays another elder deity, Bilquis, the Goddess of Love, caught up in the brewing war between the old and new gods."I'd already read the book when it originally came out, and the first thing that hit me was that it is an immigration story," Badaki explained. "I'm originally from Nigeria, and only recently became a citizen. And there's so much with all the stories of these old gods being brought into present day. You see all these different immigration stories, so that was the one thing that resonated immediately for me."
"There's a lot of power in it," said Badaki. "And it's interesting because a lot of women have been reaching out, even before our show has opened, and they're all really empowered by it, and they're really excited to see where Bilquis is taken."
The actress says that one of the behind-the-scenes thrills of her role has been watching Fuller bring all of his creative powers to bear on Gaiman's story. "We already know Bryan's an amazing, incredible, just joyful human being, and he is a master storyteller," she said. "He loves what he does, and he loves asking the difficult questions. He doesn't shy away from that."
"It's really inspirational to see somebody that has been in this business for so long hold that same passion, hold themselves that accountable to the role that storytelling plays, and to do it with such joy," she added. "It's just incredible to watch."
"Bryan Fuller has been a long-time collaborator of mine, and I would say I'm one of his biggest fans," agreed Tucker. "We have a very close relationship. I would serve coffee on a Bryan Fuller set! So when he called up to have a conversation about this character, I leapt."