American Gods’s Bruce Langley Talks Technical Boys Transformations Plus Dynamic with Crispin Glover’s Mr. World

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In episode four of American Gods season two, Crispin Glover’s Mr. World decided to “retire” a god – Bruce Langley’s Technical Boy. While the god of technology had been a royal pain in the ass during season one, his story arc had certainly been developed in season two, and dare we say, we felt bad for him at the end of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” as we saw the person who he had thought was a friend forget about him. Presumably, we thought that’d be the last we would see of him, but Langley showed up in episode six “Donar the Great” as a previous incarnation of himself – Telephone Boy. And for anyone who watched last night’s episode (SPOILERS) he was revived as who is being called “Quantum Boy.” Tech Boy has always had a flashy attire, but this latest version of himself takes the cake.

In a recent interview with Collider, Langley spoke of his character and the changes Tech Boy is constantly going through:

You’ve talked about how much a character like this had to change from the books to the show, but even in just the two years between Season 1 and Season 2, a character like this has to go through an evolution. What have you most enjoyed about what you’ve gotten to explore with this character in Season 2, especially with the way that he’s evolved from last season?

LANGLEY:  “That’s actually a great question. This season, I was given more room and inclination to dig deeper, in terms of what fully engaging with this level of technology, consistently, would do to your psyche and your emotional health. That’s an incredibly important thing to highlight, in terms of how things have changed in the last two years. One of the reasons that the New Gods are so alert and aware, all of the time, and they lack the laid-back nature that you see in a character such as Wednesday, it’s because they’re aware that they are entirely capable of being replaced. They need to stay relevant. They have to. If they are, for one moment, not completely up to date and refreshed with new hardware, then they’re irrelevant, and irrelevance, in their world, means death. That’s an important thing that we’ve gotten to play a little bit with, and you get to see some of that with the interplay between the somewhat unholy trinity of World, New Media and Tech Boy, and how they interact with each other. It’s a somewhat screwed up triumvirate, but it’s a very accurate representation of how those deities would respond to each other. I don’t think it would be as much fun as people think it would be to actually be a God, at least in the context of our show. It’s probably quite a traumatic experience. You get all of these fancy bells and whistles, but you are ostensibly and somewhat intrinsically, by definition of your own creation, as something to be worshiped, separate and alone. When you’re trying to work with other creatures that are also feeding off the thing that’s keeping you alive, you have to have some kind of synergistic relationship. The Old Gods are bound together by the solidarity of being screwed. But with the New Gods, not so much. They’re all doubling down and growing in worship, all of the time.”

One of the things that I really love most about this season is that we do get to see more interactions between the characters and we get to see more about these relationships. The dynamic between Tech Boy and Mr. World is such an interesting one because it seems like Tech Boy likes to manipulate just about anyone, but Mr. World is the one person who can manipulate him. What is that power dynamic like to explore, and to have Crispin Glover to explore it with?

LANGLEY:  “It’s wonderful, and you hit the nail on the head, as to a large part of why it is so wonderful. Crispin is brilliant. He is utterly brilliant to work with. It’s fascinating because it’s a constant struggle for recognition. And then, once you incorporate a performer like Crispin, you never quite know what he’s gonna do. It’s great, and his depiction of the character is so wonderful. The scene with the thumbs in his eyes is a perfect example of that. When we were blocking that scene, Crispin said, “The way this is described to me, it feels like, in terms of reference to sight, this might be something appropriate to do. Would you be comfortable with this?” I was like, “I would absolutely be. If you think that’s the way your character is gonna respond, then absolutely. By all means, please.” So, the result of that very, very physical interaction with Crispin was Crispin’s idea, and I was more than happy to go along with it. He’s an incredibly creative performer, and he is wonderful to play with.

Mr. World is operating from a position where he knows a hell of a lot more than most of the other people in the room, pretty much all of the time and consistently. The slight difference between him and Tech Boy is that Tech Boy can process information faster than anyone else. So, while in terms of literally having access to a partly-artificial mind that can process information faster than any other computer in the world, the level of an artificial super-intelligence is part of his consciousness. So, while World simply knows things, Tech Boy can process information incredibly quickly, and he knows the statistics and logic. He’s run so many other paradigms of possibilities in his own consciousness while he’s listening to World talk. That’s a nice little power play in the dynamic. He can think faster than him, but World simply knows things, and Tech Boy can’t understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.”

For the full interview, which goes further into the psychologically of the show as well as Tech Boy, please be sure to check out the Collider interview. American Gods just wrapped up its second season, which you can find on the Starz App as well as Amazon Prime. American Gods has been picked up for a third season and we are all hoping we don’t all have to wait so long for the next season.

For my review of the season finale “Moon Shadow” check it out here.