Ricky Whittle seems like the perfect Shadow Moon for the new TV series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods… but boy, did he have to prove it.
Series boss Bryan Fuller revealed to Digital Spy that Whittle had to audition 16 times to land the part.
“We put him through his paces,” Fuller said. “So he absolutely earned this role, and worked very hard for it.”
Whittle himself picked up the story: “I felt like I was on X Factor – every week was singing a different tune! Let’s do a happy scene, a sad scene, a depressed scene… literally every week I was running the gamut.
“But it was because they wanted to know that whoever’s playing Shadow can deal with the emotional rollercoaster that he’s about to go on.”
American Gods tells the tale of ex-convict Shadow as he’s released from prison and meets the mysterious Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane), who helps him discover that the world is a much darker and stranger place than he’d previously imagined.
Fuller told us that Shadow was “absolutely the most challenging” character from the book to cast, and to adapt for the screen.
“He is the point-of-view character, but he’s also a character in the book that is relatively passive. We knew that we needed a protagonist with little bit more bite, and an opinion on the journey he was taking.
“So that was a minor deviation from who the character was in the book, but certainly not a reinvention of the character. It was just a subtle expansion in a specific direction.”
American Gods begins exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on May 1, with new episodes following weekly.