Back in April, we got word that Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel “American Gods” was being developed as an HBO television series by Tom Hanks’ production studio Playtone — the same production house that developed “Band of Brothers” for the network.
This week marked the ten-year anniversary of “American Gods” hitting shelves, so when Gaiman dropped by the newsroom to talk about the new, “author’s preferred text” edition of the book, we also managed to get in a few questions about the much-anticipated HBO series.
“From my perspective, I’m worrying about it one episode at a time, one season at a time,” said Gaiman when asked about a recent report that suggested “American Gods” will be a six-season series, with 10-12 hour-long episodes each season and a $35-40 million budget.
For those unfamiliar with “American Gods,” the book follows an ex-convict named Shadow whose cross-country journey with a mysterious stranger puts him right in the middle of a war between the old gods of myth and the new, modern pantheon of gods.
“The overall plan right now is that the first season would essentially be the first book, with a few interesting divergences,” Gaiman said of the television series. “You don’t want people who’ve read the book to be able to go, ’I know everything that’s going to be happening here.’ [They will] know a lot more than anybody who’s starting from here, but we will do things that will surprise [them] too.”
“After that, there was always so much more plot for ’American Gods’ on what happens to Shadow, and what happens in the fallout of the events of ’American Gods,’ so we’re just going to follow it along,” he added.
Of course, since that only covers the first season, it’s only natural to wonder where the rest of the series would find its source material. Given that one of his “American Gods” characters plays a prominent role in another of Gaiman’s novels, “Anansi Boys,” it seemed reasonable that the series could look there for its next story arc.
Not so, said Gaiman.
“People always say ’Anansi Boys’ is the sequel to ’American Gods,’ but no, it isn’t,” he said. “If you’re going to get specific, while I was writing ’American Gods,’ I borrowed a character from a book I hadn’t written yet. I had this character, Mr. Nancy, in this story called ’Anansi Boys’ that I hadn’t yet written, but I was going to some day. I just borrowed him and put him in ’American Gods’ because he fit.”
“’Anansi Boys’ is its own thing,” he continued. “It was bought as a movie, but I think now it’s looking now more like it’s going to be a television series in its own right. It will be a TV miniseries if it happens, like the ’Good Omens’ TV miniseries that we’re currently working on, with four one-hour episodes.”
The “American Gods” television series is expected to premiere in 2013 at the earliest, but keep an eye on MTV Movies Blog for more details as they develop.
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