Starz and FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) began production this week on the 10-episode first season of “American Gods,” the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel. Shooting has commenced in Toronto, Canada and will continue in additional locations across America.
Joining the previously announced cast are Cloris Leachman (“Malcom in The Middle,” “Raising Hope”) as Zorya Vechernyaya, Peter Stormare (“Fargo,” “Prison Break”) as Czernobog, Chris Obi (“Snow White and the Huntsman,” “The Counselor”) as Anubis, and Mousa Kraish (“Superbad,” “Fast & Furious”) as The Jinn.
The cast includes Ricky Whittle (“The 100,” “Austenland”) as Shadow Moon, Ian McShane (“Deadwood,” “Ray Donovan”) as Mr. Wednesday, Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch,” “Legend”) as Laura Moon, Sean Harris (“The Borgias,” “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”) as Mad Sweeney, Yetide Badaki (“Aquarius,” “Masters of Sex”) as Bilquis, Bruce Langley (“Deadly Waters”) as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”) as Mr World, and Jonathan Tucker (“Kingdom”) as Low Key Lyesmith.
Leachman plays 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.
Stormare plays Czernobog. A Slavic god of darkness and evil, Czernobog is reluctant to join the coming war, wary of Wednesday’s motivations.
Obi plays Anubis, the commanding ancient Egyptian god of the dead, gently guiding mortals through the judgment of their souls.
Kraish will play The Jinn, a mythical creature of the fire who understands a person’s deepest desires better than they do. He fears for his safety with the coming war, and considers fleeing America.
Cloris Leachman is an accomplished and beloved American actress of stage, film and television. An eight-time Primetime Emmy® Award-winner, Leachman’s career spans films, television dramas and comedies from the Golden Age to the hottest primetime hits today. Leachman most recently starred in the DreamWorks animated film “The Croods” with Nicholas Cage and Emma Stone and the “Wedding Ringer” with Kevin Hart. She recently finished shooting “The Comedian” with Robert DeNiro for director Taylor Hackford, “So B. It” for Stephen Gylennhaall and was the oldest competitor on the ABC hit series “Dancing with the Stars.” Additional TV and Film credits include “Lassie,” “The Twlight Zone,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Facts of Life,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Raising Hope,” “The 11th,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Young Frankenstein,” “High Anxiety,” “History of the World: Part 1,” “The Muppet Movie” and “Spanglish.”
Swedish born actor/director Peter Stormare is best known for his breakout roles in “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.” Stormare has worked in over 150 films and most recently in “John Wick: Chapter Two” with Keanu Reeves and the upcoming Dimension Films release “Clown,” along with “22 Jump Street,” and “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”. He made his television debut starring on the first season of the hit Fox TV drama series “Prison Break” and has also had memorable guest appearances on “Entourage,” “Weeds,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “CSI.” Additional TV and Film credits include “Armageddon,” “8MM,” “Brothers Grimm,” “Minority Report,” “Constantine,” “Bad Boys II,” “Lockout,” “Inseparable,” “The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus,” “Premonition,” “Arrow,” “Manhattan,” “Graceland” and “The Black List.”
Chris Obi is an English actor, most recently known for “Snow White and the Huntsman” where he worked with director Rupert Sanders. Obi reunites once again with Sanders for the upcoming Dreamwords/Paramount Pictures release “Ghost in the Shell.” As well as being a successful TV and Film actor, Obi has also graced the stages of many theatres across the UK playing a variety of roles and has also lent his voice to numerous radio plays. Additional Film credits include “The Counselor,” “Burke & Hare” and “The Call Up.”
Mousa Kraish is a Palestinian-American actor from Brooklyn, New York. In his career he has had the good fortune to work with a number of acclaimed directors including Steven Spielberg (“Munich”), Mike Nichols (“Charlie Wilson’s War), Justin Lin (“Finishing the Game” and “Fast and Furious”) and Greg Mottola, for whom Mousa appeared in the Judd Apatow-produced runaway summer hit “Superbad.” In his most recent role he stars alongside David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess for the AMC series “Feed the Beast.” Additional television appearances include “Homeland,” “Transparent,” “Chuck,” “Covert Affairs,” “Blue Bloods,” “Parenthood,” “Arrested Development” and “Men of a Certain Age.” Other film credits include “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, as well as the independent features “King of California,” “Super Zeroes,” “Overnight” and “Echo Park.”
“American Gods” has been translated into over 30 languages and earned numerous accolades including Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel. The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of 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, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
“American Gods” is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”) and Michael Green (“The River,” “Kings,” “Heroes”) are writers and showrunners. David Slade (“Hannibal,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) is directing the pilot and additional episodes. FMNA’s Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk are executive producing the series along with Fuller, Green, Slade and Neil Gaiman. Senior Vice Presidents of Original Programming Marta Fernandez and Ken Segna are the Starz executives in charge of “American Gods.” Starz retains all network pay TV and SVOD rights to the project. FremantleMedia is distributing the series worldwide.
Leachman is represented by Innovative Artists and Juliet Green Management. Stormare is represented by ICM Partners and Silver Lining Entertainment. Obi is represented by The Gersh Agency, United Agents and Untitled Entertainment. Kraish is represented by Stone Manners Salners Agency and Velocity Entertainment Partners.
Joy Ride Is An Extremely Raunchy And Hilarious Comedy
Joy Ride is an extremely raunchy and hilarious comedy that takes the mantle of ensemble risky
comedies that at times, leave your mouth on the floor. Joy Ride focuses on two best friends
Audrey and Lolo (Ashley Sullivan and Sherry Cola) end up getting roped up into a trip to Asia,
they end up on gals pal cross-continent trek to find Audrey’s long lost birth mother so she
doesn’t lose a huge business deal.
The chemistry in this movie is superb. Every character has their moment to shine and there’s
rarely a scene where you don’t get a belly laugh. I was shocked at how crazy and bold this
movie got, continually pushing the line to get a laugh. The movie does a good job of getting to
the point and getting to the scenes that really make you chuckle. There are some editing choices where the story flies by some stuff, and it feels a little incomplete, but never at the expense of really enjoying being around for the journey.
I thought that this was a sleeper for this year and certainly a movie worth watching with your
friends some weekend. It’s great to throw on if you want a laugh and really just enjoy some
great actors riffing off each other. The focus on culture was a nice touch and really elevated the movie to another level. While I would say if you’re easily offended, this movie is not for you – if you’re looking for a no holds barred comedy, Joy Ride is a trip worth taking.
Who Doesn’t Want To Wear The Ninja Suit Of Snake-Eyes Or Dress Like The Mandalorian?
Hasbro has had their pulse app out for a while now. It allows for access to items to buy, preorder, and a look into future projects and releases. It also allows for a very cool thing most nerds (a group of which I am a proud card-carrying member) have always wanted, the ability to make yourself into an action figure. I’ve contemplated making one for a time but, I finally got my chance to get my hands on one at Comic-Con this year. Now, of course, I had to wait in line as it was a pretty sought-after item. Who doesn’t want to have themselves wear the ninja suit of Snake-Eyes or dressed like a Mandalorian? I was approached by one of the booth staff as I was showing my nephew all the cool ways we could get him his own MIles Morales action figure with his face (as he’s a massive fan) and invited to take a seat and scan our faces into the Hasbro Pulse app with the help of their awesome team and make this dream a reality. My wife was with us, so of course she got in on the fun too. We scanned our faces in and it was very simple and quick. Then we all selected our figures to add our heads to. We all chose Power Rangers(Me as the Black Ranger, my wife chose the pink ranger and the nephew got the red ranger). Then we were told that we needed to wait about 4-6 weeks and we’d have our custom action figure team in our hands. This was a major part of our Comic-Con adventure and definitely, a memory my wife and nephew won’t forget (as it was both of their first Con ever). Thank you to Hasbro for being so generous(also getting me brownie points that home) and I highly suggest checking out Hasbro Pulse and all the cool stuff it has to offer.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter: Double-knock on wood!
Adapted and written largely from the Captain’s Log chapter of Bram Stoker’s magnum opus Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the story of Dracula’s journey by ship from Carpathia to London, and what happened to her crew in the interim.
So here we are in Bulgaria, middle of 1897, and Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham) of the Russian schooner Demeter is here to take on some strange cargo from some unknown client and transport it to Carfax Abbey in London. In need of some extra hands, the Captain sends out his capable Second Wojchek (David Dastmalchian) to scout for some, and initially the roving black doctor and aspiring philosopher Clemens (Corey Hawkins) is passed over in favor of more work-roughened men. The adorable cabin boy of the Demeter, Toby (Woody Norman), narrowly misses being crushed by the mysterious dragon-marked crates being loaded onto the ship, saved by Clemens himself and switched out with the superstitious sailors running from the Demeter like they had been poisoned by the sign of Dracul. And now, armed with some nine or so crewmen, Doc Clemens, and Captain Eliot himself, the twenty-four strange what looks like coffins adorned with dragon signs brought mostly safely aboard, the Demeter can make for open water and the Hell that awaits them there.
The duty of showing Clemens around the ship falls to a cheerful Toby, who proudly shows him the living areas, the Captain’s quarters, the very-large cargo hold, the galley and kitchen where the overly-devout Joseph (Jon Jon Briones) cooks the crews meals, the various above decks, even the sails, and the rigging are all at least touched on, and the livestock pens that Toby himself is in charge of, including the handsome good-boy doggy Huckleberry, or just Huck. We the audience get a very clear feeling of what it’s like to actually be aboard the Demeter, just how large she really is, and what living on a ship for months at sea is really like, the reality and practicality and the dangers of it.
Everyone more or less settles in for a hopefully uneventful voyage, taking mess around the common table and exchanging ideas or aspirations for when they arrive in London early thanks to the fair winds, and receive a handsome bonus for their troubles. But that involves being alive and making it to London to spend said bonus and pay, and the coffin crates spilling dark soil from the motherland and disgorging all sorts of other nasty secrets, have some serious plans to the contrary.
First, it’s the livestock, innocent and shrieking in their locked pens as a monster takes great furious bites out of their necks, and of course, the creature just straight up ruins poor doggy Huck. Then there’s the fully grown girl that gets dislodged from an open coffin-crate, covered in bite scars and as pale as death, she eventually starts interacting and talking after several blood transfusions from Doc Clemens, Toby learns her name is Anna (Aisling Franciosi). And then, as the weather turns foul and the winds begin to be a serious problem, the attacks turn toward the remaining humans onboard the Demeter.
Most people these days are familiar with Dracula, that gorgeous cunning vampire Elder who can supposedly transform into a bat or a wolf, seducing women to voluntarily offer up their veins like an unholy sacrament, a being at once beautiful and powerful, but also horrific and murderous if given half a heartbeat to smell your blood. This is not Dracula.
Instead, the creature that hunts the humans occupying the Demeter is an absolute monster, not a single human feature left to it, barely even recognizable as humanoid-shaped, instead boasting not just full-length bat wings but an entire exo-skin of bat membranes that can be used for feeding, a mouth full of needle-like teeth akin to a predator of the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, those yellowed Nosferatu eyes that will not tolerate light in any way, and of course giant pointy bat-ears. This is a thing, a grotesque straight from the depths of Hell, and no amount of glamor magic can make this Dracula (Javier Botet) seem like anything other than what he, is – a parasitic demon who only wants your blood. There is no reasoning with it, no trapping it, not even really any talking to it (kinda hard to talk when your throat has been ripped out), and, like the much more frightening Dracula stories of old, no amount of pure faith behind a symbol does anything other than give false hope.
Coming face to face with an actual abomination does different things to different people. The formerly delightfully foul-mouthed Abrams (Chris Walley) dissolves into a blubbering mess; poor Larsen (Martin Furulund) didn’t even get to see his own death coming; and it turns out Olgaren (Stefan Kapicic) wants to live so badly, he’ll suffer becoming a blank-eyed Renfield if that’s what it takes. All of Cook Joseph’s purported pure faith didn’t stop him from trying to take the coward’s way out and didn’t save him anyway when the sound of unnatural bat wings descended on him. I find that kind of irony delicious. Dear Anna, resigned to her fate to be eternal food for the horror that terrorized her village, nevertheless wants to try and save whoever is left of the Demeter with her own sacrifice, and there aren’t many. Wojchek of course wants to kill Dracula, but for all his logic and solid practical nature, has no experience whatsoever with this sort of thing, and sure doesn’t want to sacrifice the Demeter, the beloved ship he called home that was promised to him by Captain Eliot himself, in order to destroy that demon. Even poor sweet Toby isn’t safe from the creature’s clutches, and what happens to the cabin boy of the Demeter is what finally sends Captain Eliot over the blooming edge. And who could blame him? For this sort of thing to happen during the last voyage of such a proud, solid ship as the Demeter, is some serious bullsh*t.
To leave such a film open for a potential sequel, especially when called the last voyage of something, was a pretty hefty ask, and somehow the filmmakers managed it. I personally think a different version of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter, teaming up with a certain black doctor who nurses a serious grudge against Dracula, could be a kickass sequel. Until then, experience the doomed final journey of the Demeter and her poor crew in all it’s bloodstained glory, in theaters now!