Neil Gaiman Writing 'Anansi Boys' Movie, Explains Why 'American Gods' Won't Happen

Neil GaimanAs if writing Batman, adventuring in China, and working with The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer isn't enough to keep him busy, Neil Gaiman recently told MTV about another project currently on his plate: writing the film adaptation of his best-selling novel "Anansi Boys." Of course, that's probably why he confessed to us that he was a bit, well... late... on the script.

So, when was it due?

"Don't ask," he smiled. "This is the first draft that I submit before I get notes from Warner Bros."

Gaiman already has a director and a star interested in the project -- and that's why it's happening. The not-yet-named director and star were on a publicity tour last December, stuck at an airport, and they picked up the book to read on a plane. "By the time they got off the phone, they were phoning my agent for the rights," Gaiman said.

Though "Anansi Boys" is far less dense than its predecessor, "American Gods," it's still a little difficult to condense ("That's why I'm late," Gaiman joked).

"If I were making 'American Gods,' which I'm not, I'd probably want to do it as a HBO miniseries or something because I don't know if you really can squeeze it into a film," he said. "I keep getting phone calls from eminent directors and producers saying, 'We've read 'American Gods,' it would make an amazing movie, how would you squeeze it into film shape?' And if I could have squeezed it into film shape, I would have written it as a film script! It's huge, and it's meant to be huge."

"Anansi Boys" is far more manageable, Gaiman said, "because it's more or less movie-shaped."

"I think 'Anansi Boys' will turn quite comfortably into a film once it's there," he said. "And yes, stuff will get left out, and stuff will be compressed, but I still think it's going to work."

Though a star who he will not yet name is interested, there remains the question -- should Fat Charlie and Spider be played by the same person?

"It would actually be more fun for an actor," Gaiman said. And the differences between the characters could be addressed by putting one "in a fat suit." ("And anyway," Gaiman said in his character's defense, "Fat Charlie isn't really fat. He's just a bit chunky.")

Who would you want to see play Fat Charlie and/or Spider? What about Mr. Nancy?