If you haven’t already heard, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys is in the works with Amazon Studios and it’s just been announced that none other than Whoopi Goldberg will be starring in the six-episode series, playing the animal god Bird Woman! She stars alongside Malachi Kirby’s leading roles of Fat Charlie and Spider.
“I have been a fan of this book for a very long time,” Whoopi Goldberg said, “and when Neil Gaiman told me it was being brought to the screen, I did everything I could to be part of it to help make people aware of Anansi and all his magic.”
Goldberg’s role of Bird Woman is the embodiment of birds. Not just beautiful stately birds in flight. Anyone who’s had a close encounter with a seagull knows that some birds are more dangerous than others, and Bird Woman is the most dangerous of them all.
“When I first conceived Anansi Boys, decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman,” added co-showrunner, writer, and executive producer Neil Gaiman. “I wasn’t able to meet her until 2018, when she interviewed me with some of the Good Omens team at New York Comic Con. At which point she mentioned that she had just finished listening to Sir Lenny Henry’s reading of Anansi Boys, and that it was one of her favourite books. Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”
Anansi Boys is set throughout contemporary London and follows an exciting cast of characters in an epic story that stretches from the UK to Florida, the Caribbean, and the mythical World Before Time. The story follows Charlie Nancy (Malachi Kirby)—sometimes known as Fat Charlie (it was his father’s nickname for him; he’s not fat)—a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that he was Anansi: Trickster God of stories (played by Delroy Lindo). And he learns that he has a brother. Now that brother, Spider (also played by Kirby), is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting—but making it a lot more dangerous instead.
This latest casting announcement comes alongside further announcements for the full pantheon of gods who make up the mythical World Before Time — a place that isn’t a place, where the animals who are gods still walk. A place of incredible beauty, magic, and danger. The casting for the other gods include…
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as as Tiger. He’s still angry with Anansi for stealing the stories, for making fun of him, and for coming out on top. Tiger (it’s the name of any Big Cat in the Caribbean) is a dangerous enemy to Anansi and all his bloodline.
- Emmanuel Ighodaro as Lion. He’s proud and noble and has no time for Anansi.
- Cecilia Noble as Elephant. She’s old and wise and hates Anansi.
- Ayanna Witter-Johnson as Snake. She’s beautiful and deadly and hates Anansi.
- Don Gilet as Monkey. He’s terrified of Anansi, keen on food—particularly fruit—and has the attention span of, well, a monkey…
In addition to Kirby and Lindo, previously announced cast includes Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as Rosie Noah, Grace Saif as Detective Constable Daisy Day, Jason Watkins as Grahame Coats, Fiona Shaw as Maeve Livingstone, CCH Pounder as Mrs. Higgler, L. Scott Caldwell as Mrs. Dunwiddy, Joy Richardson as Mrs. Bustamonte, and Lachele Carl as Miss Noles.
Anansi Boys is currently filming in Scotland and will premiere on Prime Video. Main image credit: Timothy White.