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Amazon orders Anansi Boys TV series

Staff Writer

Amazon Studios has ordered a series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel Anansi Boys.

The six-episode limited series will follow 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.

Anansi Boys is a stand-alone story, not a sequel or spin-off of Gaiman’s novel American Gods. The book’s story was originally developed in conversation between Gaiman and Sir Lenny Henry with the series adaptation reuniting the collaboration between the pair. They will write for the series along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori, with Gaiman and Henry both exec-producing – alongside Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (Red Production Company). Gaiman and Mackinnon will serve as co-showrunners. Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard, Memories of Ptolemy Grey) will direct the pilot. Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) are also directing for the series. Paul Frift will produce.

Said Gaiman: “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.

“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 Video 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 am thrilled that Sir Lenny Henry is one of our executive producers. He was there when it was conceived, he narrated the audiobook and he has kept the heart of the production true.

“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.”

Henry added: “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.”

The show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production Company. With this announcement, Amazon Studios continues its relationship with Gaiman, who has an overall deal with the studio.

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