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Neil Gaiman’s novel Anansi Boys to get the small screen treatment

Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is being adapted by Amazon Prime Video for television (Ian West/PA)
Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is being adapted by Amazon Prime Video for television (Ian West/PA)

Author Neil Gaiman’s 2005 fantasy novel Anansi Boys is being adapted by Amazon Prime Video for television.

The novel followed the sons of Mr Nancy, an incarnation of West African trickster god Anansi, as they discover one another and embark on an adventure following his death.

The story was developed during conversations between Gaiman and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, with the new adaptation reuniting the pair as executive producers and writers.

Filming will begin later this year (Amazon Prime Video/PA)

Anansi Boys will be a stand-alone story and not a sequel or spin-off to Gaiman’s novel American Gods, despite the character of Mr Nancy appearing in that book, and will begin shooting in Scotland later this year.

A number of Gaiman’s stories have recently been adapted for screen.

Netflix is adapting his cult graphic novel series The Sandman, starring Tom Sturridge and Gwendoline Christie, while a version of his Good Omens novel with Sir Terry Pratchett launched in 2019 with Michael Sheen and David Tennant.

Gaiman said: “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, a (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.”

Coronavirus – Tue Mar 30, 2021
Sir Lenny Henry helped Neil Gaiman develop the story (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Gaiman said they 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.”

Sir Lenny said: “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.”

Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones of Endor Productions and Richard Fee of Red Production Company will also serve as executive producers.

Gaiman and Sir Lenny will write for the series alongside Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith and Racheal Ofori.

Gaiman and Mackinnon will serve as co-showrunners.

The production will be shot at First Stage Studios in Leith, after it was announced that the second series of Good Omens would also be filmed in Scotland.

Isabel Davis, executive director at Screen Scotland, said: “It’s phenomenal that Amazon Studios, Douglas Mackinnon and Neil Gaiman are bringing a second production to Scotland.

“It’s having a transformative impact on the local industry and Screen Scotland has been delighted to work with the production and the team at First Stage Studios to support it coming to Scotland, including sourcing crew, locations, support for traineeships, and identifying new and diverse talent, alongside a world class team from Scotland and beyond.”

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