Anansi Boys is coming to Amazon. Prime Video announced Wednesday that it had ordered a six-episode limited series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2005 fantasy novel, about Charlie Nancy and the mysterious Spider, twin brothers and sons of the West African trickster god Anansi, who went by the name Mr. Nancy during his time on Earth. Mr. Nancy is a shared character with Gaiman’s American Gods, previously adapted as a series on Starz and Prime Video. But Amazon notes that Anansi Boys will be a standalone story and won’t be a spin-off or sequel to American Gods.
Gaiman will serve as writer, co-showrunner, and executive producer on Amazon’s Anansi Boys adaptation, part of his overall deal at Amazon Studios. Gaiman’s co-writers include Sir Lenny Henry, Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Douglas Mackinnon (Good Omens) will co-showrun with Gaiman. Hanelle M. Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard) will direct the first episode of Anansi Boys. Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) will direct other episodes.
Henry, Mackinnon, Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (Red Production Company) are fellow executive producers. Paul Frift will produce. Anansi Boys will be a production of Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production Company. Filming on the six-part Anansi Boys will begin in Scotland later in 2021.
I’ve been hinting for, well, over a year now, that there are two big TV shows I’m making. Last month, we announced Good Omens 2.
Here’s a clue to what the other one might be… pic.twitter.com/0x4HaZWS9s
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 21, 2021
In a prepared statement, 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, 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. It was my first number one NYT Bestseller, and went on to become a beloved and award-winning book.
“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.
“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.”
Mackinnon said: “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. 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 said: “There’s nothing quite like Anansi Boys, a compelling and contemporary story wrapped in unique and powerful mythology from the Black diaspora. I’m both excited and honoured 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.”
Here’s the official synopsis for Anansi Boys from Amazon:
Based on Gaiman’s novel of the same name, Anansi Boys follows 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.
Prime Video has not set a release date for Anansi Boys.