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Following the success of Good Omens (recently renewed for a second season), Amazon Studios has decided to tackle another Neil Gaiman property: the award-winning Anansi Boys. The six-episode limited series plans to kick off production in Scotland later this year.
Published in 2005, the novel of the same name is slightly related to American Gods, in that it centers around Charlie Nancy the son of trickster and storytelling deity, Anansi. Following the death of his father, Charlie finds his life totally upended by his long lost and magically-powered brother, Spider.
"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," Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios, said in a statement.
"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," Gaiman added. "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."
Executive producers Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (Red Production Company) voiced their excitement over the adaptation, writing: "Anansi Boys has all of Neil's trademark wit, mischief and heart, and is bursting with joy. We feel very lucky to have the backing of Amazon Studios and such a strong creative team to do justice to Neil's epic vision."
Check out some teaser artwork below:
According to Amazon's wide press blast, Anansi Boys is a standalone story — not a sequel or spinoff to American Gods, which enjoyed its own small screen adaptation over at Starz for a total of three seasons. Orlando Jones played Anansi (known as "Mr. Nancy") on the show before he was fired in December of 2019.
Gaiman will executive-produce and co-showrun the limited series with Douglas Mackinnon. Sir Lenny Henry, who helped inspire the novel via a conversation with Gaiman more than a decade ago, executive produces alongside Hanelle M. Culpepper, Jones, and Fee. In addition, Gaiman will lead the writers' room of 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 said. "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."
“I’m thrilled that we get to take the story of Anansi Boys from page to screen with the creative powers of Neil and Lenny, as well as an extraordinary group of other writers, directors, and a cast and crew of so many diverse perspectives alongside us," Mackinnon continued. "We’ll be shooting in brand-new studios in Scotland where we’ll have the most cutting-edge CGI technology in the world to make all the magic and wonder of Anansi Boys come to life.”
Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard) is set to direct the pilot, while Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) will divvy up the remaining five episodes.
"There's nothing quite like Anansi Boys — a compelling and contemporary story wrapped in unique and powerful mythology from the Black diaspora," Culpepper said. "I'm both excited and honored to be working with legends like Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry, along with the rest of the incredible Anansi team, using new technology and new studios to create a great show in ways that couldn't have been done before now. This is a dream project for me as a director."