Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys Is Heading to Amazon as a Limited Series
The tale of Mr. Nancy continues ... in a way.
The Anansi Boys live-action series is finally happening! After being in development for years, the book centered around American Gods’ Mr. Nancy’s family is getting the love, time, and dedication it deserves. The 2005 novel as an actual onscreen production has been on Gaiman’s mind since 2014, when he announced updates on American Gods and an Anansi Boys adaptation by BBC Radio. But this is the first time we’ve had concrete news of a proper series adaptation for the Anansi Boys.
Gaiman, who has an overall deal with Amazon, just saw the renewal of Good Omens, which was a surprise to many since they’re entering uncharted territory. But it’s nice to see that Amazon is working with Gaiman on various pieces of his work, especially Anansi Boys. And what makes this series unique? Well, it’s because of how it connects the worlds Gaiman has created and how it tells the story of Mr. Nancy/Anansi and how his death leads to a dramatic shift in the life of his sons.
Charlie Nancy, our lead and the kid of Mr. Nancy/Anansi, never knew that his estranged father was a trickster god. Even worse, he never knew that he had a brother named Spider. And their father’s death shoves these two brothers together, making their lives infinitely more interesting than they were before—also more dangerous than before, because Mr. Nancy/Anansi’s legacy isn’t an easy one in this thrilling, funny, and complex story about what life is like for those left behind after a death.
The one caveat that I’m sad about is that Orlando Jones, who played Mr. Nancy/Anansi on American Gods, will not be part of this Amazon production. Jones was a fan favorite who gave riveting performance after riveting performance during this tenure on the show. And his big sweeping speeches were magical moments infused with raw anger that I’ve never seen expressed in such a manner. Basically, Jones owned this character and then some, and his firing for not falling into line with what Starz wanted to do still rubs me the wrong way.
“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,” Gaiman said in a statement Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “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 followed that by saying, “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. 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.”
Gaiman will reunite with the director of Good Omens Douglas Mackinnon for Anansi Boys. They will act as co-showrunners. Lenny Harry, who voiced Spider and Anansi in the BBC radio production has joined the show as a writer alongside Arvind Ethen David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Gaiman, Henry, Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones, and Richard Fee will be set as executive producers. And Amazon Studios, the Black Corp., Endro Productions, and RED production will produce the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
(image: Neilson Barnard/Getty)
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