Starz’s visually spellbinding adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling fantasy novel American Gods burst onto TV screens on April 30, and we think this cinematic new series could be TV’s next great saga. Ricky Whittle, who viewers may recognize from The CW’s The 100 and ABC’s Mistresses, stars as Shadow Moon, an ex-con whose physical strength and intimidating size belie a tender soul of great intelligence. When Whittle answered our “5 Questions,” we learned that the actor is just as surprising as his character.
1.If your TV had only three shows or networks on it, what would you be watching?
Starz; I’d be watching New Girl, which I think is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen; and at the moment I’m watching SIX on History, ’cause I’ve got two friends on that show—Kyle Schmid and Barry Sloane.
2. What three foods do you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
I would be eating pizza, steak and hot fudge brownie ice cream. I tell kids at home to “do as I say, not as I do,” which is — I preach fitness and I look fit but, oh my goodness, my diet is terrible!
Learn about the mythological figures these 'American Gods' characters are based on.
3. What do you think you’d be doing for a living if you weren’t an actor?
I actually have a law degree, so I was going to go into law. That was kind of something I enjoyed doing at university. I was also a very keen sportsman who was very injury-prone, unfortunately, so I probably would have had to stick with the law. I’m kind of like Shadow: I look like a big dumb jock, but there are brain cells in there.
4. What has been one of your strangest fan encounters?
Well, I just got sent underwear in my fan mail. And I just don’t understand what the person sending them thought — [like] I’d open up this used underwear and think, “That’s the girl I want to take home to show my mum.” You know?
The new Starz fantasy drama is a magical mystery tour that defies belief.
5. Tell us about a time when you were completely starstruck.
Pretty much every time I walk on set. And that’s not even a joke. To not call Gillian Anderson “Scully” took all my strength. To not call Crispin Glover “McFly” took all my strength. To not call Ian McShane “Lovejoy” … I still get excited that Ian McShane texts me now and then, like, “How are things going, kid?” Or “Hope you got home safe.” Or “Do you fancy breakfast?” If anyone could see me, my insides are jumping around like a little schoolboy.
American Gods, Sundays at 9/8c, beginning April 30, Starz