'Nothing he's wearing could have been accomplishable 15 years ago when the book first came out'

American Gods (Book)

Get a good look at the Technical Boy — it’s the last time you’ll ever see him this way. Technically speaking, he’s more GIF than JPEG.

In another exclusive EW First Look at Starz’ forthcoming TV series American Gods, Bruce Langley plays the ever-evolving Technical Boy, a powerful god who feeds off your devotion to the Internet. He’s part of a new class of modern, mythic creations clashing with the immigrant old gods over the country’s waning worship; as such, he’s a thorn in protagonist Shadow’s (Ricky Whittle) side, terrorizing the traveling ex-con as he tracks him across the country in his regal limo ride.

As the resident deity of all things digital, Technical Boy was first introduced in Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel as something of a pimply Matrix fanboy. As far as co-showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are concerned, bringing the devilish de facto villain into 2017 necessitated a crucial style update — but to bring him into the future, Fuller and Green warped to the past.

“We needed to establish a frame of reference for the aesthetic of the Technical Boy, and [director] David Slade, I believe, was the first one to say ‘Commodore 64,’” says Fuller. “That will mean more to the audience once they understand more of the Technical Boy’s story — why the Commodore 64 and that era of technology is so informative for the look of him and the story and the general aesthetic when we first sample his world.”

Of any character in American Gods, the duo says the Technical Boy is perhaps the most changed from the book iteration. Much of that has to do with the obvious evolution of technology itself — computers and the Internet have morphed into an almost comically different new American beast in 2016 than in 2001 — but the transformative update to Technical Boy trickles beyond apps and into appearances. Fuller describes the new look as “more punk than god.”

“Technology has gone from something that was the province of the young to something ubiquitous and in your pocket, and the aesthetics of that have changed,” says Green. “Technology very much has a tie into fashion, which goes in cycles and changes overnight. What’s in fashion, technologically, and what’s in fashion, in fashion, are minute to minute and you can’t possibly keep up. And we look to the Technical Boy to be someone who’s very much a victim of both. The idea of feeling like you have to feed the beast of what’s new and what’s fresh is very much in his mind.”

Green adds, “Nothing he’s wearing could have been accomplishable 15 years ago when the book first came out. His clothes reflect modern methods that even we were introduced to for this [show].”

So, much as we’d love to stare at this enticing first look all day, you’d better make sure to get a good one before the Tech Boy’s outfit downloads an upgrade.

“Every time you see the Technical Boy, he’ll be in something else, completely different regalia,” teases Green. “Like a lot of people in that period, he’s constantly trying on new looks and new personas.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now, or buy one here. Subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

American Gods (Book)
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