There are only two episodes left of American Gods’ first season. For fans of the book series, it has been a wild and unpredictable ride. Starz gave Bryan Fuller, Neil Gaiman, and the rest of the writers the latitude needed to fill out the source material. By the season finale, American Gods will only be about a third of the way through the novel, with plenty of new character arcs to create years of tangents (if that’s what the show wants to do).
One of the characters that has received a major upgrade is Mad Sweeney, played by Pablo Schreiber. In the novel, Mad Sweeney appears twice: once at Jack’s Crocodile Bar where he gets into a scuffle with Shadow Moon and once much later when the leprechaun is suffering fatally at the end of his luck. What happens between those two events is now slowly being filled in. In this Sunday’s episode — written by Maria Melnik and entitled “A Prayer For Mad Sweeney” — promises to delve deeper into the history and motivations of the tall, drunken leprechaun. Ahead of the revelations of this penultimate episode of American Gods, we spoke with Pablo Schreiber about breathing life into his character in this insane, complex the world Bryan Fuller is building.
“This whole experience for me has been a real eye-opener. My first exposure to [this world] the pilot episode. I was just utterly confused as to what was happening [in Jack’s Crocodile Bar]. I had no idea how it could be made into a TV show, but I thought was very interesting and a worthy challenge,” Schreiber explains. “It piqued my interest. After I accepted the job, I got the audiobook. A lot more became clear, but at the same time, I still had no idea how the fuck [Bryan Fuller] could make it into a TV show.”
Listening to the audiobook of American Gods didn’t fill in any gaps for Schreiber though. As I mentioned earlier, Mad Sweeney is barely a character, more a wisp that blows in and out of Shadow’s life. In a way, that lack of detail was helpful for the actor.