How they created that astonishing ‘American Gods’ sex scene

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Actor Yetide Badaki on the London premiere of “American Gods”, the place her introductory scene obtained the viewers speaking.


The opening episode of “American Gods” is filled with scenes of blood-soaked violence. But a distinct scene drew surprised gasps from the viewers on the London premiere.

The scene introduces Bilquis, one of many story’s historical gods adrift within the modern world. Fans of the 2001 Neil Gaiman novel could keep in mind the second a sex scene involving this goddess of affection transforms into one thing altogether extra provocative, and it is now been translated to the display screen in jaw-dropping model.

Yetide Badaki, who performs Bilquis, instructed me how the startling sequence was created, and why it is greater than only a sex scene.

Minor spoilers comply with for one scene in episode one, however we cannot give away any of the episode’s plot.

Bilquis seems in solely two chapters within the e-book, however showrunner and author Bryan Fuller and co-writer Michael Green have been eager to broaden the character. A goddess of affection and lust, Bilquis allowed Badaki and the writers to discover questions of human connection and intimacy within the trendy world.

When we first meet her, Bilquis is assembly a stranger for an web date — and it is from there the jaw-dropping scene unfolds.

In a second lifted straight from the e-book, Bilquis and her date have sex. The goddess calls for worship from her lover, and proceeds to soak up him. Like, truly bodily soak up him, swallowing his total physique into her vagina till his head is the very last thing to vanish — nonetheless swearing timeless love as he disappears inside her.

It’s an intense second, scary and attractive on the identical time.

“There was an immediate understanding from all parties that this could be seen in a very salacious way,” says Badaki, a self-professed sci-fi and fantasy geek and a lifelong fan of Gaiman. “There are so many other things going on, the deep tragedy would be if that was all that was taken away from the moment.”

Creating the scene proved a logistical problem, particularly because the filmmakers needed to shoot as a lot as doable on set slightly than relying fully on digital results. “Everyone came at this incredibly prepared from whatever section they were doing,” Badaki explains. “Even walking into that set, which was stunning, these beautiful liver-red walls which Home Depot should call ‘Bilquis red’ now.”


Filming the scene concerned a particular mattress with a entice door and an enormous bag beneath, in addition to loads of choreography. The shoot ran via the night time, an exhausting facet of showbiz Badaki says individuals do not let you know about.

During filming, Badaki might see what the completed scene would appear to be, because the crew previewed the meant particular results on screens on the set. “I kind of squealed like a little girl and jumped up and down as I saw that,” she says. “Our effects [team], my goodness, they are gods and goddesses in their own right. The things they have been able to do are just astounding.”

Bilquis’ lover is performed by Joel Murray, whom chances are you’ll recognise as Fred Rumsen from “Mad Men” and the biting satire “God Bless America“. He and Badaki had solely met briefly beforehand, when each actors admitted they hadn’t carried out something like this scene earlier than. “He was just the perfect partner,” says Badaki, “so present and so committed, and so brave, so vulnerable, all of the things that we needed to live in the moment.”

Badaki is trying ahead to the response from viewers, and never only for the shock issue.

“People have been joking about filming their friends who haven’t read the book, right at the scene, and seeing their reactions to it,” she laughs. But she’s additionally excited to listen to conversations it would spark, “especially here [in the US], people are really afraid to talk about love and intimacy and sexuality.”

Badaki noticed that reluctance to speak about love and lust when hanging out with Bruce Langley, who performs the god of expertise. “People would immediately start referring books or movies or documentaries about technology,” she says. “Then they turn to me and kind of go ‘Mm-hmm’… and they go back to recommending books about technology.”

Badaki did have a frank dialog together with her stepmother, whom she describes as slightly conservative.

“We talked for about an hour about intimacy, about what it means to me, what it means to her,” Badaki says. “I remember hanging up that phone and just kind of being in shock and in awe because in all of my life [that conversation] has never happened with my mother. And I thought, if that happens, just with one person, I would feel incredibly honoured and happy to be a part of that process.”

“American Gods” premieres on Starz within the US on April 30 and Amazon Prime elsewhere from May 1. Australian air dates have but to be introduced.

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