Tucked away just after an update on the long-gestating TV adaptation of his novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman revealed on his blog this week that one of his lesser known novels, Anansi Boys, is also to be adapted for the screen, with a TV miniseries destined for the BBC. The miniseries is to be put together by British production company RED – and that’s basically all that anyone knows about.
That may be all the news for the moment, but you can be sure that this show is going to attract some major attention as it gets closer to its airdate, and an American broadcast is almost a certainty too. Why’s that? Because adaptations of Gaiman’s work can be pretty big business. The aforementioned American Gods TV show, long under production at HBO but now unattached to any channel, was major news when it was first announced. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is currently behind a film adaptation of Gaiman’s iconic Sandman series of graphic novels.
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Looking back a bit, Gaiman’s Stardust saw a successful film boasting Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer in its cast, while Coraline was brought to life in stop-motion by acclaimed director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas). Anansi Boys won’t be his first link with the BBC either; Gaiman’s written two critically acclaimed episodes of Doctor Who, and his novel Neverwhere actually began life as a BBC miniseries in 1996, and was last year turned into a radio play for BBC Radio 4, boasting an astonishing cast — James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Head, Christopher Lee and more brought the radio serial to critical acclaim.
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Securing Anansi Boys is a bit of a coup for the BBC then. Expect an all-star cast, strong production values, and an American broadcast for certain. For those unaware, the story follows ‘Fat Charlie’, who discovers that not only was his late father an incarnation of the African spider god Anansi, but that he has a semi-divine brother too. It’s a bit bonkers, really, but should be a great fit for a miniseries – and hopefully a big hit for the BBC.
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