Amazon Studios is adapting Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys as a six-episode limited series.
Set to roll out on Amazon Prime Video’s global footprint, the show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions and RED Production Company. It begins filming in Scotland later this year.
The author, who has an overall deal with Amazon Studios, will executive produce alongside Sir Lenny Henry, Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (Red Production Company). Gaiman and Mackinnon will serve as co-showrunners.
The novel follows a young man who discovers that his father was Anansi—trickster god of stories—and that he has a brother. Scripts are being penned by Gaiman and Henry along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith and Racheal Ofori.
“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,” said Gaiman. “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 New York Times bestseller, and went on to become a beloved and award-winning book.”
Gaiman continued, “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 noted, “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.”
“There’s nothing quite like Anansi Boys—a compelling and contemporary story wrapped in unique and powerful mythology from the Black diaspora,” said Culpepper. “I’m both excited and honored 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.”
Vernon Sanders, co-head of television at Amazon Studios, noted, “No one can weave a story of fantasy, humor and deep emotion quite like Neil Gaiman, and Anansi Boys is a funny, weird, wonderful ride.”