There was more good news today for fans of Neil Gaiman‘s work, who are already, frankly being spoiled like the guests at a Ferrero Rocher ambassador’s reception. Adding to word of Sandman in production for Netflix and Amazon picking up a second batch of Good Omens episodes is news that the latter will also be bringing a miniseries based on Gaiman’s Anansi Boys to TV screens.
Born after a conversation years ago with Lenny Henry about representation for people of colour in horror, Anansi Boys evolved into a novel that blends folklore, myth and mystery. The story 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…
Star Trek: Picard director Hanelle Culpepper is on to direct the six-episode series, with Gaiman and Good Omens veteran Douglas Mackinnon sharing show-running duties and the former writing the first and last episode. It’s something of a dream for the writer, who has been looking to bring it to screens for a while.
“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,” says Gaiman. “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.
“The 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’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,” adds Lenny Henry. “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.”
With filming due to start later this year, the show has yet to announce a launch date on Amazon, but it could be ready before the end of 2022. For more on its journey to the screen, head to Gaiman’s journal.