What if gods walked among us? No, Chris Hemsworth doesn’t count. We’re talking about American Gods, the highly anticipated new Starz series based on Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel, which centers on actual, ass-whooping deities. Co-created by gay showrunner Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), the mind-bending adaptation follows a group of warring divinities battling for spiritual dominance in contemporary America. Bonus: One of them is queer.
Mousa Kraish plays the Jinn, a mysterious being from ancient Middle Eastern mythology who is posing as a taxi driver in New York City. When he picks up an Islamic salesman named Salim (Omid Abtahi), he unlocks his passenger’s repressed homosexual desires. The episode, the show’s third, culminates with a wild, supernaturally hot romp between god and mortal, which Kraish describes as a watershed moment for Middle Eastern LGBTQ representation. “The Jinn comes into Salim’s life to say, ‘It’s OK to be who you are,’ ” he says. “Now more than ever that story is incredibly powerful. The sex scene is so intense and intimate. I don’t think anything like it has ever occurred on TV.”
It was also a first for Kraish, who had never so much as kissed another actor on screen before stripping down for the scene. While he was fully committed to going fully nude, he was also happy to have a chance to weigh in on the final cut. “I was like, ‘Awesome!’ ” Kraish says. “I got penis approval."