Starz has a new hit TV series on its hands, with the fantasy novel series adaptation Outlander; the network aims to replicate that success when it brings the world of Neil Gaiman's American Gods from the page to small screen. Gaiman's work of modern Americana fantasy is a best-seller that's won multiple prestigious awards (including the Hugo and Nebula); it also has a sequel novel in development by the author and shares characters in common with Gaiman's Anansi Boys novel and the novella "Monarch of the Glen" (which revolves around the protagonist of American Gods, Shadow).
That is to say, there's a reasonable amount of source material - and critically-acclaimed source material at that - for American Gods co-showrunners Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Heroes) to draw inspiration from as they get the series underway. Fuller sat down recently to speak with Crave Online about the American Gods show, offering an update on the expected production timeline, how the show is being shaped, and how involved Gaiman is with its development.
Fuller is juggling his time between getting American Gods off the ground and overseeing pre-production on Hannibal season three (which will air in 2015), but he informed Crave Online that "we are breaking the third episode" of American Gods right now. Furthermore, if everything goes according to plan, filming on Gods' first season will commence around "mid-to-late 2015," which means that it's unlikely to air earlier than 2016.
American Gods follows Shadow, a man who's fresh out of prison when he agrees to take a job as the bodyguard for a mysterious fellow who calls himself Mr. Wednesday - a fellow who, it turns out, is traveling across America in order to rally the Old Gods for a battle with the New Gods of the world (technology, and so forth). Here is how Fuller described the TV series version of American Gods, while he cited Game of Thrones for a comparison (he was following Crave Online's lead, mind you).
“It’s basically the following the events of the books but expanding those events, and expanding the point of view to go above and beyond Shadow and Wednesday. In that way, as with ‘Game of Thrones,’ there are dozens of characters that you’re tracking through the events and that’s probably the biggest similarities between the worlds, in that there’s a wide variety of characters at play.”
Anansi Boys revolves around the two sons of a human incarnation of the West African god Anansi - who features in the storyline for American Gods - and thus, it's feasible that Fuller and Green could incorporate elements of that novel into the American Gods TV series, as a means of "expanding the point of view" of the show (in the manner that Fuller mentioned). Fuller also believes that, since Anansi Boys is seemingly based in the same world as the American Gods novel, that means "we would be allowed to use those [characters] as well."
Gaiman has already publicly given Fuller and Green his blessing for them to adapt American Gods into a TV show, but he's also actively participating in the process as an executive producer - much as he's been working as a creative consultant on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's developing Sandman movie, based on Gaiman's acclaimed comic book series. Fuller offered the following insight to Crave Online, regarding just how involved Gaiman actually is with the small screen take on American Gods:
“Neil’s executive producing and he’s very involved. He’s given birth to the baby, raised to the baby, and now Michael Green and I are marrying the baby. [...] So the relationship is similar in that way, where he is absolutely integral to the process and also very excited just to see it coming together in the fashion that it is.”
Gaiman, in addition to being a lauded author, is also an experienced film screenwriter (MirrorMask, Beowulf) and has scripted episode for such geek favorite series as Babylon 5 and, more recently, Doctor Who. We've always anticipated that he would follow in the footsteps of George R.R. Martin - who occasionally scripts episodes of Game of Thrones (based on his "A Song of Ice and Fire" books) while also producing the show - and write for the American Gods TV show too.
As Fuller jokingly (... well, probably jokingly) put it, "He'd better. He'd god damn better well."
We'll continue to keep you up to speed on development of American Gods.
Source: Crave Online
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