Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) and Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Coraline) sound like a match made in writing heaven. Both have made strong names for themselves in the entertainment and literary industries - becoming well-known for playing around heavily in fantastical, surreal worlds. Fuller with shows like Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me and Gaiman with basically everything he's ever written.
The two have been collaborating together for over the past year or so to develop a TV adaptation of Gaiman's critically acclaimed novel, American Gods, for Starz - with Fuller and Michael Greene (Heroes, Smallville) at the helm of the adaptation. There's not been much to report about the project in the first half of 2015, but a recent update from Fuller himself suggests fans might not have to wait much longer for bigger announcements concerning the series.
In a recent interview with Den of Geek, Fuller confirmed that the first two American Gods episode scripts for the series have been completed, along with some detailed illustrations to help give the producers an idea of how the show's world will look. The showrunner also confirmed that one one mystery actor for a key role; no offers have been made as of yet, but when Starz pulls "the final trigger" - the creative team may already have a number of actors lined up for several roles.
Here's a quote from Fuller, on that matter:
Neil [Gaiman’s] plan—and Neil’s very internet savvy—what Neil would like to do is cast Laura and Shadow and Wednesday and Mad Sweeney and Bilquis, because Bilquis will be a major character in the show, and the Technical Boy and then trot them all out on-stage at a Comic-Con coming up. That’s his plan. He’s saying "I don’t want to make any casting announcements, I want to announce the cast in full when they walk out on stage at a Comic-Con."
It sounds like the adaptation is still very early-on into the process though, as Fuller revealed that they are hoping for a early 2016 start date, and then a later 2016 release. As for all the fans out there as well who are hoping the adaptation will keep the same diverse cast of characters as the book - Fuller has heard you and fortunately, agrees. The Hannibal showrunner confirmed that they are indeed planning on casting the same race and genders for the roles as they are in the book:
One of the things I’m most excited about for American Gods is the diversity in the cast because there’s such a wide range of ethnic Gods in the world. Right now, we’re imagining two white roles and everybody else is non-white, so my goal, Michael’s goal, certainly Neil’s goal has been to have a very ethnically diverse cast. That’s important to all of us.
Also now, we can cite Empire and we can cite The Walking Dead as being primarily non-white in their casting, and they’re the two biggest shows in the world right now, so that has to say something. We have to be moving forward with a representation that is accurate to the world.
For those of you not familiar with American Gods, here is the official synopsis for the novel:
"A storm is coming . . .
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path."
Unlike Lucifer - another Gaiman adaptation set to be released this year - it sounds like Fuller and Greene are going as far out of their ways as possible to make sure the American Gods series is a faithful adaptation of the source material. That should comfort any fans who might have begun to worry about the adaptation these past few months.
When it comes to a TV writer that could adapt a Neil Gaiman property though - it's hard to think of a better fit than Fuller. Aside from his obvious similarities with Gaiman from a genre standpoint - he has one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television at the moment in Hannibal and has proven he's always able to provide quality television, in a unique and engrossing way. That suggests Fuller has the ability to create one of the best Gaiman adaptations to date - a feat many writers and studios have struggled with in the past.
American Gods is currently in development at Starz.
Source: Den of Geek
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