Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys to film in Scotland for Amazon
As first confirmed on Production Intelligence in late spring, Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys will film in Scotland at FirstStage Studios later this year as a six-part Amazon series – a continuation of the author’s deal with the streaming studio.
The show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production Company with Lenny Henry on the writing team alongside Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori.
Henry also exec produces with Gaiman, Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor) and Richard Fee (Red). Culpepper will direct the pilot; Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem are also directing for the series. Paul Frift will produce.
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.
Anansi Boys is a standalone 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 Henry with the series adaptation reuniting the collaboration between the pair.
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.”
Mackinnon, currently attached to Amazon’s Good Omens 2, also due to film in Scotland later this year, added : “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.”
The news follows the recent announcement that the second series of Good Omens is also Scotland-bound. 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.”
Gaiman image: Mike Coppola © 2018 Getty Images.
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