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Nerdist Special Reports

Neil Gaiman Discusses Expanding AMERICAN GODS for the Screen (Exclusive)

Anyone who had read Neil Gaiman‘s beloved novel American Gods had two thoughts when they learned Starz was adapting it into a series: 1) that’s impossible and 2) they better not screw it up. Well, not only did it prove to be possible with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green at the helm, the show has managed to add even more depth and nuance to the story by breaking free from the margins of the source material, which it has used as a launching-off point to tell an even more epic in-depth tale.

In this exclusive featurette, Gaiman explains how his novel about a surreal and enthralling world where literal gods walk among us was transformed to the screen. Rather than deal with the frequent problem the majority of book-to-screen adaptations have to face—deciding what has to hit the cutting room floor—the novel and its story were used as a foundation for the show. That allowed it to go deeper into both characters’ pasts and further into stories only hinted at on the page.

“The book becomes the playing field, the book becomes the world,” says Gaiman, “But we can go anywhere, and we can grow things in it.” Some of these stories have proved to be the best parts of season one. Highlights have included learning far more about Mad Sweeney, seeing the travails of Laura Moon both before and after her death, and experiencing Mr. Nancy’s fiery (metaphorically and literally) introduction.

We were as skeptical as anyone that Starz would pull it off, but it turns out the key was to pay homage to the book by going well beyond it. And more American Gods is always better than less.

American Gods season one is out now on Digital HD, and Blu-ray and DVD on October 17. What was your favorite new element the show introduced to the story? Add to our comments section below with your thoughts.

Images: Starz

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