Riding high off of the critical and ratings success of American Gods' first season and only a few months before filming commences on Season 2 of the Starz series, stars Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis) and Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney) descended upon New York Comic Con 2017 this past weekend to discuss a wide range of topics in and around the world of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
Here are some of the raw highlights from the panel (filmed "guerilla style" due to a Main Stage crew member who for some reason had issue with my attempting to film in the same location as other members of the press):
Badaki gives us a little insight to her self-confessed high level of "geekiness" and meeting Gaiman; while Schreiber addresses the show being an allegory to the immigration issue; and Whittle rants on U.S. politics and how he could see himself a "Kanye guy" in 2020:
Schreiber recounts his experiences auditioning for the role of Mad Sweeney, and how taxing the hair and make-up part of the process became (when he's not being distracted by Whittle):
Now it's Badaki's turn to recount her audition process, but not before some playful ribbing from Whittle and a better-than-average Bilquis impersonation from Schreiber
Moving on to Whittle, the actor discusses how he was allowed out of his The 100 contract to be able to audition for other roles. Whittle wasn't familiar with Gaiman at the time, but committed himself to knowing the novel inside and out; which is good considering he had to audition 16 times (!!!!) for the part. Over that time, Whittle would learn how to nuance his character to the Shadow we see in the first season:
In this brief clip, Schreiber explains to the audience that the fight between Shadow and Mad Sweeney in The Crocodile Bar wasn't the original version; and what it was about the original version that compelled executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green to reshoot the scene:
Whittle elaborates on how grueling the fight scene between Shadow and Mad Sweeney was, taking place over the course of nine hours and with more real pain and injury than either Whittle or Schreiber expected. Badaki relates what the experience is like working sometimes long and grueling hours on the set, and how lucky she feels to be a part of a cast and crew who are as close-knit and tight as they are:
Badaki relates how nervous she was at the first group dinner, and how Fuller's own geekiness made her feel right at home. Schreiber doesn't have a Fuller story to relate, but has some very interesting thoughts on the man. Which leads into a conversation about the love scene between Salim (Omid Abtahi) and the Jinn (Mousa Kraish)…
Whittle talks about bonding with Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday) over their love for European football, and quickly segues into a brief tongue-in-cheek tirade against American "football." Whittle emphasizes the chemistry that he and McShane developed off screen as being essential to the quality of their work onscreen; and also praises a number of other cast members (nut nearly forgets his "work wife" Emily Browning):
Whittle shows some love to a fan in the audience before hopping back on stage, where Schreiber and Badaki address the "issue" of Whittle's energy levels here and on set:
Badaki answers a fan's questions about what Bliquis' true purpose and goal is as a god who's been made to adjust with the times, and alludes to possible twists and turns as the war between the new gods and the old gods builds:
For the final question, a fan asks specifically about their first encounters with/impressions of Gaiman. For Badaki, it was a moment of "geek fight-or-flight" in which she chose the latter after being introduced to him; and for Schreiber, it was the impact Gaiman's "worst haircut of all time" had on him at the American Gods wrap party:
For those interested in watching the panel in its entirety, here's the official panel video from NYCC 2017:
American Gods is executive produced by Gaiman, Fuller and Green; and stars Whittle, Schreiber, Badaki, Browning, McShane, Bruce Langley (Technical Boy); Orlando Jones (Mr. Nancy); Crispin Glover (Mr. World); and Kristin Chenoweth (Easter). Filming on Season 2 is expected to begin January 2018, with the season premiere expected some time mid-2018.