'American Gods' EXCLUSIVE: Actor Devery Jacobs says she fought hard to bag the role of Sam Black Crow
'American Gods' actor Devery Jacobs, who plays the role of Sam Black Crow in the second season of the show, spoke with MEA WorldWide (Meaww) about the 'multidimensional' role
Actor Devery Jacobs first appeared as Sam Black Crow in 'American Gods' season 2 episode 3 after Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) escapes from the clutches of Mr Town.
She runs into him at a convenience store and spots his con from across the shop when he tries to trick the cashier into giving him a $20 bill. She offers to give him a ride after the two form an instant connection.
From the moment she appears on screen, there is an air of mystery that surrounds her. This is further accentuated when she picks up a camera to click a picture of Shadow and tells him, "In case you turn out to be a psycho-killer on the way."
She also tells Shadow, "If this were back in the day, I would've been god-like. Two spirits in one body, both masculine and feminine. It's considered a gift from the creator," hinting at how Sam Black Crow is going to be a memorable character in the series.
In a conversation with MEA Worldwide (MEAWW), the actor opened up about the role, what it means to portray an indigenous queer character, and how she personally connected with Sam.
Devery, who is a fan of Neil Gaiman's works, reportedly hounded her agent to get her an audition to play this role. While everything worked out initially, she almost lost the role to some other actor due to a scheduling issue and was heartbroken about it. She then wrote a letter to the team, thanking them for consideration, and that's how she landed the role.
"I’m both queer and Mohawk and was raised in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, so reading a character like Sam in Neil Gaiman’s novel was huge. I’d never seen such a three-dimensional modern indigenous character, let alone one whose sexuality was discussed. I deeply resonated with Sam but when I almost lost the role due to scheduling, it just felt so wrong," the actor said.
"I knew I was supposed to play this part because she mirrored my life so closely. I was gutted and heartbroken, so much so, that I wrote a heartfelt letter to the production when they said they had to move on to their second choice, thanking them for casting me as Sam. I guess it worked because it was after reading my message that they collectively decided I was their Sam Black Crow. I’ve never fought for a role like this before, but I’m just thankful it worked out," she recalled.
I made it clear that this was not negotiable. And there was nothing but enthusiastic agreement from anyone involved in the production. I'm thrilled we got @KDeveryJacobs: she wrote us a fantastic letter explaining why she identified with Sam Black Crow, & clinched it. https://t.co/2ICZ9EzoCh— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 5, 2018
Speaking about portraying a character such as Sam and about preparing for the role, she said, "Sam was raised by her mother, a white Christian woman, and has a troubled relationship with her Cherokee father. She was raised off the rez and is reconnecting with her Cherokee culture. In terms of preparation and research, I mostly looked inward.
"While I was raised in my community, I can empathize with wanting to connect to your indigenous culture. Something I also brought to the character that I wanted to explore was Sam’s queerness, and more specifically her being two-spirited. I’m Mohawk, and so my culture historically didn’t recognize it, so I personally identify as queer — but Sam is Cherokee, and her nation acknowledges two-spirit. 'American Gods' doesn’t shy away from politics, and so leaning into Sam’s identity and sexuality was paramount in exploring the character."
Sam's sympathies in the show haven't fully been established so far. As someone who is exploring her Cherokee roots, she may be on the side of the Old Gods, considering her people are also part of the immigrant community that moved to America and brought with them culture, gods and beliefs like the many other communities. She plays a recurring role in the show and, so, it is also not clear when or if Wednesday will use her in his grand scheme of things. What we can be certain of, going by the last episode, is that her equation with Shadow is something to look out for.
In the meanwhile, Devery's Netflix show 'The Order' and the Canadian crime-drama 'Cardinal' premiered at the same time as 'American Gods'. Speaking about these shows, Devery said, "It’s wild. Essentially everything I’ve been working on for the past two years is dropping at the same time. I also play the prominent character Sam in season three of the Canadian crime-drama 'Cardinal', which has just released on Hulu. It’s overwhelming, it’s exciting and I’m proud to stand behind the work that I’ve helped create."