Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has another series coming to Amazon, based on his 2005 novel Anansi Boys. News of this forthcoming series comes just days after the second season of Gaiman’s other Amazon-produced series, Good Omens was confirmed.
Like Good Omens, which brought the unlikely friendship between a demon and an angel to life, Anansi Boys centers around another unexpected pairing. The timid Charles “Fat Charlie” Nancy has always been embarrassed by his outgoing and eccentric father Mr. Nancy. Upon his father’s death, he learns that his father was in fact the reincarnation of the West African trickster god, Anansi. Fat Charlie also learns that he has a long lost twin brother, Spider, who genetically inherited their father’s powers.
“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 says in a statement.
Gaiman is writing the the 6-part series with actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, who narrates the audiobook of Anansi Boys. In a blog post, the novelist explained how he and Henry began their 25-year long collaboration together.
“Lenny and I went for a walk. Lenny grumbled about horror films. ‘You’ll never get people who look like me starring in horror films,’” he said. ‘We’re the hero’s friend who dies third.’ Gaiman writes. “And I thought and blinked. He was right. ‘I’ll write you a horror movie you could star in.’”
The writer reveals that a “top Hollywood director” offered to buy the rights to the story years ago, but Gaiman declined due to the director’s plan to white-wash all of the characters, saying, “It was going to be done properly or not at all.” Hanelle M. Culpepper, Henry, Hilary Bevan Jones and Richard Fee will executive produce the Anansi Boys adaptation Gaiman envisioned, with Culpepper, Jermain Julien, and Azhur Saleem on as directors. The writing team consists of Gaiman, Henry, Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori.
“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,” Henry says of the long-coming project. “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.”
None of the cast has been revealed yet, but in the blog Gaiman offers this clue:
“One of our cast members was on a public event with me at some point in the last five years. The first thing she said when we met backstage was that her favourite book was the audiobook of Anansi Boys, read by Lenny Henry. And when I told her that there was a part in the book I’d originally written with her in mind, she was overjoyed. So when it became a reality, she was the first person I asked, and the first to agree.”
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