HBO has expressed interest in adapting the novel American Gods from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman.
It looks as though HBO is seriously broadening their horizons. No longer content to merely dabble in the intricate details of street-level character studies, the premium channel’s recent acquisitions suggest it is ready to tackle large-scale stories on par with summer blockbusters.
First will come this Sunday’s highly anticipated premiere of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones, but soon after, HBO may be looking to develop another fantasy series based on Gaiman’s American Gods.
According to Deadline, renowned cinematographer Robert Richardson (Hugo Cabret, Inglorious Bastards, Shutter Island) first brought the material to Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone with the intention that he and Gaiman would collaborate to script the potential series. Playtone then brought American Gods to HBO, with whom the production company has a rich, almost exclusive history. Together the two have produced such programs as Band of Brothers, The Pacific, John Adams and the upcoming Lizzy Borden mini-series starring Chloe Sevigny.
American Gods centers on the concept that belief allows ancient beings, creatures and myths to actually exist, but because of modern man’s obsession with (and worship of) celebrity, technology and media, the power that fed these beings has diminished, and given rise to a collection of "new gods" that are more aligned with the thinking of modern man.
In the story, an ex-convict named Shadow is asked to be the bodyguard for an aging con man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. Taking the position, Shadow finds himself venturing across America, meeting an eclectic array of characters that seem to know Mr. Wednesday is anything but what he seems. Eventually, it is revealed to Shadow that Mr. Wednesday is a very old god, in the midst of recruiting an army to stand against these new so-called deities.
Many a fan has long dreamed of seeing Gaiman’s work thrust upon the screen. As of late, adaptations of the author’s work - like Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust and the CGI animated film Coraline - have been heaped with praise. Meanwhile, high hopes remain for Neil Jordan’s vision of Gaiman’s 2009 novel The Graveyard Book. However, it is his legendary work on the Vertigo series Sandman that has remained the Holy Grail of adaptations for Gaiman fans worldwide, but details on that remain scarce.
However, the unexpected involvement of a name like Richardson’s fills the project with both questions and excitement - not unlike the recent announcement that visual effects guru Tim Miller would be the director of choice for the feature film starring Marvel’s merc with a mouth: Deadpool. Hopefully, film and television fans will remain optimistic regarding the purported genius inside these heretofore-untapped creative resources.
American Gods is rife with possibilities for either a mini-series or a lengthier ongoing program. While it is uncertain which avenue HBO will take, the likelihood that it will be the highly profitable series route – similar to Game of Thrones – is very good, indeed.
We will be sure to update you as American Gods' journey to becoming an HBO series unfolds.