Amazon has ordered a series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel Anansi Boys.
The author, who brought Good Omens to screen for the streamer, is writing the six-episode limited series with British comedy legend Sir Lenny Henry.
Shooting will begin on the series in Scotland later this year.
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.
Anansi Boys is a stand-alone story, not a sequel or spin-off of Gaiman’s novel American Gods, but Mr. Nancy, who was played by Orlando Jones in the Starz adaptation, does appear in both books.
Henry, who is starring in Amazon’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings, is best known for co-founding Comic Relief and his work with The Comic Strip. The book was originally developed in conversation between him and Gaiman and Henry narrated the audiobook.
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The show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and Red Production Company. Studiocanal-owned Red and Endor had previously attempted to adapt the book for the BBC.
Gaiman, who has an overall deal with Amazon Studios. Henry, Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones and Richard Fee are executive producers. Gaiman and Henry will write along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Gaiman and Mackinnon will serve as co-showrunners. Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard) will direct the pilot. Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) are also directing for the series. Paul Frift will produce.
“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,” he added.
Henry added, “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, Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios said, “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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