American Gods has added more old gods to its cast.
EW has learned exclusively that Orlando Jones and Demore Barnes have joined the ensemble of Starz’s hotly-anticipated fantasy series American Gods, based on the cult classic novel by Neil Gaiman. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are adapting the book into series and serving as showrunners.
Jones (Sleepy Hollow) will play Mr. Nancy on the show, one of the gods Shadow meets – and, arguably, befriends – during his visit to the House on the Rock, a.k.a. the American landmark where the gods assemble. Nancy is the human form of the West African trickster god Anansi, who is classically depicted as a spider and has a penchant for telling stories. (He’s got a great one about a Tiger and a Monkey, if you ever need him to warm up a crowd.)
Mr. Nancy is also the eponymous character in Gaiman’s American Gods spin-off follow-up, Anansi Boys, which follows his two sons.
As for Barnes, who previously starred on 12 Monkeys, he’s set to play Mr. Ibis, “the keeper of stories, past and present, and he recounts them with great relish.” Mr. Ibis runs a funeral parlor, is fascinated with death, and briefly takes Shadow under his wing.
American Gods tells the story of an ex-con named Shadow (Ricky Whittle) who gets released from prison and, thanks to the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), finds himself caught up in a war of worship between old, immigrant gods whose power has diminished over generations and America’s new deities of technology and consumerism.
As the show enters its fourth episode of production, the ensemble has shaped up incredibly well, given fan reaction already. Jones and Barnes join a cast that includes recently announced Gillian Anderson as Media; Emily Browning as Laura Moon; Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney; Yetide Badaki as Bilquis; Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya; Peter Stormare as Czernobog; Bruce Langley and Crispin Glover as the Technical Boy and Mr. World, respectively; Mousa Kraish as the Jinn; Chris Obi as Mr. Jacquel; and Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith.
The series premieres on Starz in 2017, with David Slade directing the pilot, written by Fuller and Green.