8:49am PT by Kate Stanhope
'American Gods' Adds Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare
American Gods is putting the finish touches on its cast as it heads into production.
Eight-time Emmy winner Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare (Prison Break), Chris Obi (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Mousa Kraish (Superbad) have joined the Starz series, it was announced Thursday.
Leachman will play Zorya Vechernyaya, the eldest of three sisters who watch over the constellations, guarding against horrors forgotten by modern man. Once accustomed to royal status, the sisters have learned to survive on far less in a country that has no memory of them. Her recent credits include Raising Hope and The Wedding Ringer.
Stormare will portray Czernobog, a Slavic god of darkness and evil who is reluctant to join the coming war, wary of Wednesday's (Ian McShane) motivations. His credits include The Blacklist, Graceland and Manhattan.
Obi has been cast as Anubis, the commanding ancient Egyptian god of the dead, who gently guides mortals through the judgment of their souls.
Rounding out the ensemble is Kraish, who steps into the role of the Jinn, a mythical creature of the fire who understands a person's deepest desires better than he or she does. Jinn fears for his safety with the coming war and considers fleeing America.
Based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling fantasy novel of the same name, American Gods centers on a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society's modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon (The 100's Ricky Whittle), is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a con man — but in reality one of the older gods — on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation for a battle with the new deities.
In addition to McShane and Whittle, the cast includes Emily Browning as Laura Moon, Sean Harris as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover as Mr. World and Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith.
Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (The River) will pen the script and serve as showrunners on the FremantleMedia North America series. David Slade will direct the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA's Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk will executive produce alongside Fuller, Green, Slade and Gaiman. Starz senior vps original programming Marta Fernandez and Ken Segna will oversee for the network.
Production on the 10-episode first season began this week in Toronto.