Athletes & Celebrities

Interview with 'American Gods' Star Ricky Whittle

The star talks transforming his body, speeding recovery, and the importance of chasing your dreams.

Ricky Whittle
Anne Marie Fox/Fremantle Media North America

Follow your dream

My dad was in the Royal Air Force, and every three years we’d move to a different country. I knew I didn’t want to stay in England. I moved to America to take my career to the next level. I believe with enough sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck anything is possible.

Fan demand

I was at San Diego Comic-Con last year for The 100 when fans started to tweet about #castingshadow and brought up my name for American Gods. I asked my agents about the role, who said they would love to see me for it, and the rest is history.

Transformative experience

I had to gain 30 lbs of muscle for my role as Shadow Moon in American Gods. Before the show, my job for two months was basically to eat and work out. I trained for two to four hours a day doing a lot of explosive exercises and lifting massive amounts of weight. I also did a little sparring and Muay Thai. At first I ate anything I wanted—burgers, pizzas, etc. But then I had to shape all that extra weight, so I cut back on carbs, sugar, and sodium, and focused on cleaner choices.

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Dream role

I’m a huge superhero geek—I would love to play one of the Marvel or DC superheroes. And you can’t go wrong with James Bond: He’s an assassin who also has fun with the ladies and gets to speed around in cars.

Perfect date

I’d take her to the beach, do some bodyboarding and jet skiing, and then sit down and enjoy the sunset with a nice picnic. The beach is a great place to take each other in without any distractions.

Just for fun

I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I skydive and race cars. I have a Harley-Davidson and I like to ride with friends on the Pacific Coast Highway. I try to do as many of my own stunts as I can. I love fight scenes—it’s a lot of fun trying to make them edgy. It’s like a dance. You build a story within the fight: who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s the aggressor?

Home cooking

I miss the food back in England. It’s like having Thanksgiving every Sunday—a beautiful roast with potatoes and gravy, the works.

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