After picking up an unexpected second season of Good Omens, Amazon Prime Video is getting further into the Neil Gaiman adaptation business. The streaming service has ordered an adaptation of Gaiman's novel Anansi Boys to series. Gaiman is co-writing the television adaptation of his 2005 fantasy-comedy with Lenny Harry. Gaiman will script the first and last episodes of the series himself. Hanelle Culpepper, who directed the Star Trek: Picard pilot, is the show's lead director and will helm the pilot. Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem are also directing. The series is expected to begin production in Scotland later this year.
Anansi Boys follows Charlie Nancy, a man who has lived a mostly mundane life, only occasionally embarrassed by his estranged father. His father's death changes all of that, revealing that Charlie is the son of Anansi, the trickster god of stories. At about that time, Charlie also learns that he has a brother named Spider. This news makes Charlie's life much less mundane than it once was.
Anansi Boys involves the same trickster god featured in Gaiman's American Gods (played by Orlando Jones in the Starz television adaptation). However, the two stories are not connected.
In addition to deepening Amazon's relationship with Gaiman, it also further's the streaming platform's relationship with Henry, who is also appearing in Amazon's Lord of the Rings series. Henry previously narrated the Anansi Boys audiobook and played Anansi in the BBC Radio audio drama adaptation.
"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," Gaiman said.
"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."
Henry said, "I've been a huge fan, and couch sleeping friend, of Neil Gaiman's for over 30 years and I have loved being a part of the Anansi Boys' creative team. I love that we're going to have a suitably diverse cast and crew to tell this joyous story. What's great is that the whole production is listening and ensuring that inclusion is happening and is being seen to be done."
Vernon Sanders, Amazon Studios Co-Head of Television, added, "No one can weave a story of fantasy, humor, and deep emotion quite like Neil Gaiman, and Anansi Boys is a funny, weird, wonderful ride. We're so happy to have Neil, Lenny, and Douglas bring their vision for Anansi Boys to the screen for our Prime Video customers around the world."
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