Today, Amazon Studios announced their six-episode adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. Gaiman serves as co-showrunner, alongside Douglas Mackinnon (Good Omens). The two will also executive produce, alongside Sir Lenny Henry, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions), and Richard Fee (Red Production Company). Gaiman and Henry also serve as writers, alongside Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Culpepper is set to direct the pilot, while Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) will also direct. Paul Frift will produce.
What is Anansi Boys?
While sharing a universe with American Gods, Anansi Boys is not a sequel or spinoff of the recently-canceled Starz series. Instead, it is just a story that happens to feature Mr. Nancy (played by Orlando Jones in American Gods). Anansi Boys “follows Charlie Nancy, a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that his father was Anansi: trickster god of stories. And he learns that he has a brother. Now his brother, Spider, is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting but making it a lot more dangerous.”
In the press release, Gaiman talked about the kind of show they’re hoping to make with Anansi Boys. He said:
“We are trying to make a new kind of show with Anansi Boys, and to break ground with it to make something that celebrates and rejoices in diversity both in front of and behind the camera. I’m so thrilled it’s happening and that people will be meeting Mr. Nancy, Charlie and Spider, the Bird Woman and the rest of them.”
The Long Road from Book to Screen
While Anansi Boys was first published in 2005, the idea for the book has been around much longer. And Gaiman’s been trying to bring it to the screen for over a decade. In the press release, he elaborated on the novel’s journey from book to screen, saying:
“Anansi Boys began around 1996, from a conversation I had with Lenny Henry about writing a story that was diverse and part of the culture that we both loved. I wrote a novel, an (I hope) joyous and funny book about a dead god and his two sons, about birds and ghosts and beasts and cops, based in Caribbean and African tales. It was my first number one NYT Bestseller, and went on to become a beloved and award winning book.
“Anansi Boys as a TV series has been a long time coming — I first started working with Endor and Red on making it over a decade ago. We needed Amazon Prime to come on board and embrace our vision, we needed a lead director with the craft and vision of Hanelle Culpepper, we needed the creative and technical wizardry of Douglas Mackinnon (who worked out how we could push the bounds of the possible to shoot a story set all over the world in a huge studio outside Edinburgh), and we needed the rest of the amazing talents that nobody knows about yet. I am thrilled that Sir Lenny Henry is one of our executive producers. He was there when it was conceived, he narrated the audiobook and he has kept the heart of the production true.”
Mackinnon, Henry, and Culpepper all echoed Gaiman’s excitement for the project. At this time, no casting announcements have been made. No release date has been announced yet, either. The series will begin filming in Scotland later this year.
Anansi Boys is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production Company.
Are you excited to see the Anansi Boys TV series? Who would you like to join the cast?
Source: Amazon Studios.
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Part-time writer, part-time theatre nerd, full-time dork.