Starz has picked up a television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's award-winning novel American Gods, produced and partially written by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Here's who we think should play the main characters:
Shadow Moon: Jason Momoa, Jesse Williams, Wentworth Miller
Multiracial actors Jason Momoa, Jesse Williams, and Wentworth Miller all have Shadow's height and physique, and each one has previously played a character that has some elements of his personality. Momoa embodied the strong, silent archetype as Drogo on Game of Thrones, Williams played the capable fish-out-of-water on Grey's Anatomy, and Miller's Scofield in Prison Break was literally an ex-con known for piecing together a national conspiracy. Sound familiar to anyone?
Wednesday: Ian McShane, Patrick Stewart, Malcolm McDowell
Oof. Wednesday is the most important character in American Gods, hands down. He needs to be charming, nasty, a con man and a gentleman, all of which are things that these three actors can bring to the screen. Ian McShane's silver-tongued King Silas Benjamin in Kings read like a man who could convince you of anything, while Malcolm McDowell's lilting voice and electric eyes are perfectly suited to playing an amoral god. Patrick Stewart rarely gets the chance to play morally ambiguous characters, but his reputation for playing a good guy might come in handy as a bait-and-switch for people expecting Wednesday to be a kindly old grandpa.
Laura Moon: Vera Farmiga, Hayley Atwell, Tina Desai
Laura Moon is a lot of things. She's a cheating wife, she's a murderer, she vomits bugs sometimes...it's a pretty hairy role. Vera Farmiga's complicated Norma on Bates Motel is basically Laura Moon's sister from a parallel universe, both gifted with the ability to be horrifying and unyieldingly sympathetic at the same time. Hayley Atwell would lend the ass-kicking element to Laura's vigilante wanderings, and Tina Desai has a beautifully expressive face that can make you forgive her anything – something Laura needs to have in spades if the audience is going to like her.
Low-Key Lyesmith: Pedro Pascal, Robin Lord Taylor, Tilda Swinton
All three of these actors have played some type of clever, tricky character before, making all of them great choices for Low-Key. Pedro Pascal has the smooth-talking Oberyn Martell under his belt, while Robin Lord Taylor's double-crossing Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham prove that he can perfectly play the guy who plays both sides. Tilda Swinton seems like the odd choice out until you look at her eyes and realize that instead of pupils she has flames and has no gender, only scorching immortal life.
Samantha Black Crow: Q'orianka Kilcher, Keisha Castle-Hughes
Samantha Black Crow is one brave little toaster. She straight up mocks the biggest baddies in American Gods TO THEIR FACES, teams up with Shadow when no one else will, and generally is the book's most underrated badass. Despite being Native American, she's not here for anyone's Pocahontas bullshit, making The New World actress Q'orianka Kilcher an ironic, but fitting choice. Keisha Castle-Huges showed her fearless side as Obara in Game of Thrones, and could bring the fierceness of a Sand Snake to Samantha's role.
Chad Mulligan: Bryan Cranston, Michael Ealy
Chad Mulligan might be the only decent dude in the entire book, and his mystery subplot with Hinzelmann and the frozen lake in Laketown, Wisconsin is basically a novel within a novel. Bryan Cranston as a good man in a messed up world would be a total 180 from his Walter White, but something about that mustache makes it seem like he could make the role memorable. Michael Ealy's history of playing earnest, good-guy characters means he could easily slide into Chad's shoes, especially since cops are already his forte.
Hinzelmann: Andy Serkis, Robert Carlyle
Playing the duplicitous Hinzelmann is almost like playing two different characters at once, which Andy Serkis experienced with playing (and completely nailing) the character of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Robert Carlyle already plays both sides of a fairy tale character as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold on Once Upon A Time, and often plays characters whose ability to rationalize their effed-up behavior knows no limit, which is an important element of Hinzelmann's personality.
Bilquis: Carmen Ejogo, Naomi Campbell, Nicki Minaj
Oh, you thought they were going to do a TV version of American Gods without including ~that scene~ with Bilquis? LOL. They're doing it, and man-eating Bilquis is likely to have a larger role in the show than she does in the book. Carmen Ejogo's vampy Sister in the Sparkle remake was one of the best parts of that movie; she could easily play the Queen of Sheba. Naomi Campbell would be more than just stunt casting, as her legendary looks and fierceness are perfectly paired with Bilquis's survival instinct. As for Nicki, it's entirely possible that she literally is Bilquis IRL so let's just let her play herself.
Media: Alysia Reiner, Kerry Washington, Lucy Liu
Media needs to literally embody the process of media spin, and Alysia Rainer's cutthroat Natalie Figueroa in Orange is the New Black is the queen of retelling stories to suit her benefit. In that vein, who better to literally be the news media than Scandal's Olivia Pope? Media is also one of the head honchos in the New Gods game, very reminiscent of Lucy Liu's terrifyingly severe mob boss in Kill Bill.
Mr. Nancy: Don Cheadle, Chris Rock
Mr. Nancy is a trickster god who is just fed up with America's bullshit. Don Cheadle's exasperated Sgt. Rhodes in the Marvel films is a great template for Nancy's unwillingness to bend to Wednesday's campaign, while his Basher Tarr in the Ocean's Eleven films has the fast-talking, master of disguise elements of Nancy's personality. Chris Rock would be an unconventional choice, but conveying Nancy's humor would be a snap for this veteran comedian.
Mad Sweeney: Eddie Redmayne, Anthony Carrigan, Simon Pegg
So technically Mad Sweeney is a leprechaun – a very tall, Guinness-hating, accent-free leprechaun. Eddie Redmayne's goofy smile and wiry frame would bring undeniable charm to the character, and the idea of watching him baiting Jason Momoa like "catch these hands, bruh!" is frankly hilarious. It would be marvelous to give Anthony Carrigan a break from playing villains and see his darkly comedic take on Sweeney's ultimately tragic choices. Simon Pegg's washed-up character Gary in The World's End is already Sweeneyesque, and casting a well-known funny guy in this role would make Sweeney's bridge scene more than a twist- it would be a punch in the gut.
Eostre: Christina Hendricks, Melissa McCarthy, Jennifer Hudson
Christina Hendricks is the popular fan choice for the goddess Eostre, who is associated with fertility and rebirth. Melissa McCarthy's role as caring chef Sookie in Gilmore Girls mirrors Eostre's benevolent personality, while Jennifer Hudson's turn as Effie in Dreamgirls shows that she can convey warmth while still being sharp-tongued – seeing her throw constant shade at Wednesday would be epic.
The Technical Boy: Josh Peck, Jonah Hill
The Technical Boy is the New God of computers and the internet, and his physical persona is that of an annoying, basement-dwelling nerd. Josh Peck's hilarious vines show that he completely understands what's funny on the internet, and having him play a living meme would be a great way to get him back on screen. Jonah Hill can easily play up the neckbeardy side of The Technical Boy, just give him a fedora and call it a day.
Czernobog: Joseph Gatt, Mikhail Baryshnikov
The image of Czernobog holding a sledgehammer over your head should be terrifying, but he also needs to be the kind of dude who makes life or death choices with a cheeky game of checkers. Probable real-life demigods Joseph Gatt (google him shirtless and tell me he's not the favored son of a mountain god) and Mihkail Baryshnikov (he moves like water. Is he water?) have the athletic grace and humor to do him justice.