Starz has released a new “American Gods” teaser featuring Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, one of the “Old Gods” in the novel, who was the legendary Queen of Sheba. She was also believed to be half-jinn, and was known for her beauty and for her wise leadership. In the book, she is essentially the goddess of love (in her element in the photo above).
Producer Bryan Fuller, talking about Yetide Badaki’s memorable audition for the role she would be eventually cast in, shared some details on how Bilquis would be imagined in the series: “One of the exciting things for us in adapting this is that we get to expand characters, so Bilquis, who is only in a chapter of the book, then you don’t see her again, is a major player in this world.”
Good news for Badaki, as it implies that she’ll have a more expanded role than the character is afforded in the novel.
According to Fuller, for her audition, Badaki acted out a memorable, if shocking scene from “American Gods” featuring her character.
(SPOILERS) Speaking at length about this key scene Badaki used for her audition (SPOILERS) in which (SPOILERS) Bilquis devours a man with her vagina, Fuller promised that the scene is filmed just as it’s written in the book (SPOILERS): “One of the most amazing sequences for me when I was reading it was the Goddess Bilquis eating a man with her vagina! I think it’s beautifully written in the novel. What I love about how Neil’s laid out that sequence is that you’re in the gentleman caller’s point of view for his climax and the reeling of that. I mean, what is it like to cinematically deliver an orgasm to an audience that… more than likely, is not experiencing an orgasm at that moment, although you never know! Being in his point of view in the novel, he comes out of his orgasmic revelry and then he realizes that he’s kind of hanging upside down, chest-deep from her. We plan to deliver that moment as it is written because I believe that we can, and that’s very exciting for us because we were breaking that story and thinking, we are just going to lift that right out of the book and drop it right into the show. That came up in the Starz meeting, they were like, ‘how are you going to do that moment?’ and we said, ‘we’re going to do it exactly as written’.” (END SPOILERS)
Fuller doesn’t go into details on how Badaki acted out that sequence during her audition, but he was clearly very impressed as he emphasizes in the below video.
Yetide Bataki joins Ricky Whittle in “American Gods,” who stars as Shadow Moon, an ex-con who, left adrift by the recent death of his wife, becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to conman Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). But in truth, Mr. Wednesday is a powerful old deity, on a cross-country mission to build an army and reclaim his lost glory. Adapted from the award-winning novel, “American Gods” stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon; Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday; Emily Browning as Laura Moon and Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney. Other cast members include Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, Crispin Glover as Mr. World and Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy.
Additional cast include Gillian Anderson as Media; Kristin Chenoweth as Easter; Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith; Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya; Peter Stormare as Czernobog; Chris Obi as Anubis; Demore Barnes as Mr. Ibis, Corbin Bernsen as Vulcan and Mousa Kraish as The Jinn.
Starz will premiere “American Gods” on Sunday, April 30th at 9PM ET/PT.
First check out the Bilquis teaser (emphasis on teaser) released this evening; and then watch producer Fuller talk “That Bilquis Audition.”
— American Gods Amazon (@AmericanGodsTV) December 20, 2016