Starring Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is one of many anticipated TV offerings in 2017. We’ve gotten some glimpses of some of the characters from the series, but Vanity Fair has officially blessed us with the first image of Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy, the human personification of the West African folktale character Anansi the Spider:
For me, one of the interesting things about American Gods is the way the world is laid out: it’s the old gods versus the new gods. Because Anansi is a trickster god, for me, his speech definitely had to have some African element to it—some patois. It was key that at certain moments, particularly when communicating on a slave ship full of Africans who are soon to be sold at market, he communicate in a tone that is familiar to them. That’s just the nature of communication.
I was just mindful that the patois, Gullah, all those were a part of those different languages that morphed from African under the American influence. The gentleman that plays the slave that’s praying to and summons Anansi, he does so obviously speaking in an African dialect. To not lean towards that worship is really to divorce yourself from everything American Gods is about, because the problem of the old gods is they’ve lost their following, they’ve lost their worshipers. It was a way to do that. Without speaking African, in an African accent or an African language, that was a way to do it.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to this. American Gods premieres on Starz on April 30th, 2017. You can check out the rest of the article on Vanity Fair.