Ricky Whittle in a scene from the TV series American Gods.
Ricky Whittle in a scene from the TV series American Gods. Contributed

American Gods a dream role for Ricky Whittle

RICKY Whittle can't wait for viewers to enter the weird and wonderful world he's been immersed in for months.

The 100 actor stars opposite Ian McShane in the series, based on the award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman.

He plays an ex-convict named Shadow, who meets a mysterious man called Mr Wednesday (McShane).

"The book is 600 pages; it's an incredible blueprint for a show," he says.

"It's the only show I've seen where the protagonist doesn't drive the story. Shadow's like a pin ball getting thrown around and there's nothing he can do about it."

American Gods is Whittle's biggest role to date. Filmed in Toronto, the fantasy series is one of the most highly anticipated TV shows of the year.

"We've got possibly the most incredible ensemble cast I've ever seen created," he says.

"I grew up watching Ian McShane with my mother as Lovejoy in the UK. Lots more fans will know him from Deadwood.

"I don't think he even knows how many projects he's done. He's probably forgotten more work than I'm ever going to do."

Shadow soon learns Mr Wednesday is actually the god Odin of Norse mythology and that there is a war between the old gods, who have incorporated themselves into American life and pretend to be ordinary people, and the new gods of media and technology.

"Shadow is hired by Mr Wednesday to be his personal bodyguard and driver," Whittle says.

"The majority of the show is going to follow their journey and his quest to create an army of gods to wage war against the new rising gods; Shadow's stuck in the middle."

Australian actress Emily Browning plays Shadow's wife Laura Moon.

"I've never met an Australian I didn't get along with...Emily is an absolute ball of sunshine," he says.

"I watched her in Legend and literally a week later she was cast as Laura. The producers loved our chemistry together. They wrote this beautiful love story that isn't in the book as much. Laura has a quest to try to win her man back

"She's a character fans will really be drawn to. It's this strange but beautiful love story."

Shadow eventually finds himself drawn into a final confrontation between the old gods and the new.

"He does seem special for some reason," Whittle says. "All the gods are talking about him and are interested in him."

American Gods is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video from today.



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