Thoughtful Thursday: Fancasting for Gods

If you haven’t already heard, let me announce with great pleasure: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys are both officially being adapted as television series. Unless you’re one of the dedicated adaptation-haters—the ones that mutter angrily that Harry’s eyes are green, for the love of god, and announce to everyone that there were no elves at the Battle of Helm’s Deep—this is good news. Both these books are the kinds of action-and-witty-dialogue-filled pieces that work well on screen. Plus, Gaimain has previously refused to sell the rights to Anansi Boys because certain nameless producers wanted to whitewash his characters. So, there’s a real chance that we’ll get a genuine, author-sanctioned adaptation, and avoid the horrors of things like Legend of Earthsea and The Last Airbender.

Vin DieselChiwetel EjioforBoth these shows are in pre-pre-pre-production, so there aren’t any legitimate whiffs of casting rumors. But that’s what fans are for!  Plenty of people have already offered their suggestions. The worst suggestion I’ve heard so far is Vin Diesel as Shadow. No. Please. In the name of all that is good, American Gods should bear no relation to Fast and Furious 6.  I’ve personally got my eye on Chiwetel Ejiofor, but that might just be 12 Years a Slave stuck in my head.  And maybe we should save him for Fat Charlie Nancy or Spider.

The best side-character suggestion so far has been Christina Hendricks as Easter—although I could see her as a fairly terrifying Bilquis (her scene was…memorable). And, now that we’ve got Thor, it’s hard not to see Anthony Hopkins as a pretty decent Wednesday.

So, who would you cast as Shadow, Mr. Wednesday, Low-Key, Laura, and Mr. Nancy? And all the others in this huge, huge character list?  Or, for non-American Gods readers, what SFF book should absolutely be made into a movie, and who would you cast in it?  Someone, please fancast the VORKOSIGAN SAGA. Do it.

As always, we’ll randomly select a commenter to get a book from our stacks.

Cast away!

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ALIX E. HARROW, who retired from our blog in 2014, is a part-time historian with a full-time desk job, a lot of opinions, and excessive library fines. Her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Strange Horizons,, Apex, and other venues. She won a Hugo Award for her fiction in 2019. Alix and her husband live in Kentucky under the cheerful tyranny of their kids and pets. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Susanna Clarke.

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  1. I’ve read the books, and only mildly enjoyed them – later wondering why everyone loved them so. I liked Neverwhere and Stardust infinitely better. I think the story was just too dark in tone to my tastes. And since it has been eons since I’ve read them I have no idea of the characters at all.

    I can’t even cast Vorkosigan, I have an indelible image of Michael J. Fox as Miles but he would definitely be too old. I’m afraid I don’t watch any tv (other than Jeopardy!) and haven’t seen a movie since the final Harry Potter so I am completely lost when it comes to actors these days.

  2. Obviously Miles Vorkosigan should be played by Peter Dinklage, the guy who plays Tyrion Lannister.

  3. Ejiofor could play all three parts; Shadow, Charlie or and Spider… or Charlie and Spider. How About Olivia Wilde as Bilquis?

  4. Mark Ghanime is doing a bang-up job playing a psychopath on *Helix*. He is too pretty to be Shadow, but there has got to be a role for him in American Gods. Perhaps Loki?

  5. Melanie Goldmund /

    One I had a dream in which (a much younger) Rowan Atkinson played Miles Vorkosigan — fortunately, it was just a dream!

    I wonder if Ryan Cartwright (from Alphas) could play Miles. Or maybe Tom Hiddleston. They’d both need a little CGI help, of course. I can also see Clark Gregg as Illyan. If only Rupert Penry-Jones were younger, he could play Ivan. Maybe Nicholas Hoult instead? Tilda Swinton could be Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan.

    I’m actually not very good at this casting thing, in case you couldn’t tell.

  6. I can totally see Hiddleston as MIles. I want the woman from Weeds and RED to play Cordelia — or Susan Sarandon.

  7. I can see DJ Qualls as Miles (with CGI help, because he’s too tall otherwise). He is odd-looking but appealing, and being so slender, has a frail look about him.

  8. Melanie Goldmund /

    I thought Bradley James, who played Arthur in BBC’s Merlin, could play Ivan. Which made me wonder if Colin Morgan (Merlin) could play Miles. :-) Or maybe Alexander Vlahos. Still casting about for a suitable candidate for Aral Vorkosigan, though … Anthony Head?

    Or maybe I’m just dreaming here. :D

    I did read Anansi Boys once, a long time ago, but I didn’t like it all that much, and can only vaguely remember the characters. Like April, I prefer Neverwhere and Stardust, and my favourite is The Graveyard Book.

  9. Melanie, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

    April, you have also won a “blind date book” from me, since you and Melanie were the only two commentors who weren’t reviewers. Please send me your address (to the e-mail above) and you will get a book of my choice.

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