Fans of The 100 know him as Lincoln, but British actor Ricky Whittle is about to become a familiar face after winning the lead role of Shadow Moon in the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods.
The actor is pumped to meet Gaiman fans in Adelaide this weekend as a special guest at the Supanova pop culture convention. When STACK spoke with him ahead of his appearance, Whittle was excited to be heading Down Under.
“This will be my first visit – it’s one of my bucket list locations,” he said. “I’ve worked with and been surrounded by Aussies most of my life. My best friend is Australian, I did Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and my dance partner was Natalie Lowe, who was on your Dancing with the Stars, and now I’m working with Emily Browning in American Gods.”
American Gods is the story of ex-con Shadow Moon, who takes a job as bodyguard to the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and is dragged into a war between the old gods of mythology and the new ones who represent, money, celebrity and technology.
Upon landing the part, Whittle began to read Gaiman’s novel, but was told to stop by the series’ producers. “It was influencing the way I wanted to play the role,” he explained. “In the book, Shadow is very stoic, very quiet, very internal with lots of inner monologue. That’s great in a novel but it doesn’t translate well to the screen. Shadow’s going to ask a lot more questions in the show. He was really blasé in the book about all the craziness going on around him, but I think you would freak out a bit more if your dead wife turns up.”
The series is a very faithful adaptation, according to Whittle. “Fans are really going to love it. But there’s enough tweaks and twists and turns to keep things fresh for them as well.”
But will it contain the infamous sex scene from the novel involving a character named Bilquis? “That scene is there,” he confirmed, “and it’s a challenge to the viewer. If you can get past that scene, then you’re going to love this show. If it’s too much for you, you need to back away. Nothing’s too dark for this show.”
Supanova is at the Adelaide Showgrounds November 18–20.