Producer Bryan Fuller Talks Yetide Badaki's Memorable Bilquis Audition and Filming Her Iconic 'American Gods' Scene
Photo Credit: Bilquis—played by Yetide Badaki ("American Gods")

Producer Bryan Fuller Talks Yetide Badaki's Memorable Bilquis Audition and Filming Her Iconic 'American Gods' Scene

Bilquis—played by Yetide Badaki ("American Gods")
Bilquis—played by Yetide Badaki (“American Gods”)

The “American Gods” Twitter account shared the video at the bottom of this post featuring producer Bryan Fuller talking about Yetide Badaki’s memorable audition for the role she would be eventually cast in, 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 Sex (in her element in the photo above).

Apparently, according to Fuller, for her audition, Badaki acted out a memorable, if shocking scene from “American Gods” featuring her character.

When the adaptation was initially greenlit, Fuller shared some details on how Bilquis would be imagined: “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.”

Fuller also shared the following (SPOILERS), speaking at length about the previously mentioned key scene Badaki used for her audition (SPOILERS) in which (SPOILERS) Bilquis devours a man with her vagina. Fuller promises to film the scene just as it’s written in the book: “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’.”

He doesn’t go into details on how Badaki acted out the 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. 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.

The series filmed earlier this year and is set to premiere in 2017.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2022 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.