Neil Gaiman fans will be excited by the news that his hugely succesful and much-loved 2001 novel American Gods has been greenlighted for a TV adaptation by the American network Starz (makers of both Spartacus and Outlander).
The show is being cast now (there’s already a twitter campaign by fans #castingshadow ), and will be developed by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Smallville, Sex and the CIty, Heroes). Gaiman will also be involved (the producers are hoping he will script a full episode), and it appears that elements of the companion novel Anansi Boys will also be incorporated.
Talking about the deal, Gaiman said:
“What I love most about the team whom I trust to take it out to the world, is that they are the same kind of fanatics that American Gods has attracted since the start. I haven’t actually checked Bryan Fuller or Michael Green for quote tattoos, but I would not be surprised if they have them. The people at Fremantle are the kinds of people who have copies of American Gods in the bottom of their backpacks after going around the world, and who press them on their friends. And the team at Starz has been quite certain that they wanted to give Shadow, Wednesday and Laura a home since they first heard that the book was out there. I can’t wait to see what they do to bring the story to the widest possible audience able to cope with it.”
American Gods was already optioned by HBO back in 2011, but after a number of years of development, the project floundered. Speaking about the failure of the project HBO’s Michael Lombardo said “I think we’re all huge fans of the book, and I think the script just didn’t — we couldn’t craft the script as good as we needed it to be. I think we knew going in that it would be a challenge; every good book is a challenge to adapt it and find the level you need for it. The bar is high now for great dramas. And to find that bar — we tried. So it was a huge disappointment […] We tried three different writers, we put a lot of effort into it. Some things just don’t happen. We have to trust at the end of the day, if you don’t have a star with a great script, you’re just not going to go through with it.”
Things look more positive this time around, and Starz are looking to launch the show in late 2016.