HBO to Adapt Gaiman's American Gods

April 18th, 2011

By Mark Wilson, Guide
April 18, 2011
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This sounds intriguing right out of the gate. HBO has announced that fantasy demigod Neil Gaiman and Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (Shutter Island, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds) will be adapting Gaiman’s Hugo and Stoker Award-winning novel American Gods.

The storyline will be both a joy and a challenge to realize: taking the well-established sci-fi/fantasy premise that gods are literally created and empowered by human belief, the novel sets up a battle royale between increasingly moribund ancient gods, invoked by the faith of bygone civilizations, and modern gods resulting from today’s infatuation with things like consumerism, technology, drugs, and celebrity. The story is told via an ex-convict, Shadow, who befriends a con-man named Mr. Wednesday (who has his own god-war-related agenda).

This will be Richardson’s first scriptwriting gig. But Gaiman has been getting more and more experience in the medium in recent years. After an early effort adapting Beowulf for the 2007 motion-capture film and watching his books Coraline, Stardust, andThe Graveyard Book be developed into films by others, he’s written an episode of the current season of Doctor Who and embarked on a screen adaptation of one of China’s seminal epics, the Monkey King stories, as well as forthcoming projects The Sandman and Death: The High Cost of Living.

The project will be overseen by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. All I can say is: Make it happen, and I’ll be there.