Veteran actress Whoopi Goldberg is set to play Bird Woman in the upcoming Amazon series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’. Also joining her are two Nigerian actors – or actors of Nigerian descent – namely Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who has been cast as Tiger, still angry with Anansi for stealing the stories, for making fun of him, and for coming out on top; Emmanuel Ighodaro will play Lion, described as proud and noble, and someone who has no time for Anansi.
The series follows Charlie Nancy (Malachi Kirby)—sometimes known as Fat Charlie —a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father (Delroy Lindo). But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that he was Anansi: Trickster God of stories. 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.
“I have been a fan of this book for a very long time 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 said.
Bird Woman is the God of Birds and a key antagonist in the series. She’s 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. Long ago Anansi did her wrong. Now may be her chance to turn the tables.
In addition, the following actors have been cast as other animal gods from the World Before Time: Cecilia Noble has been cast as Elephant. She’s old and wise, and hates Anansi; Ayanna Witter-Johnson will play Snake. She’s beautiful and deadly and hates Anansi; Don Gilet will play Monkey. He’s terrified of Anansi, keen on food—particularly fruit—and has the attention span of, well, a monkey.
“When I first conceived ‘Anansi Boys,’ decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman,” Gaiman said. “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 favorite books. Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”
‘Anansi Boys’ has a six-episode order at Amazon. Gaiman serves as writer, executive producer, and co-showrunner on the series. Henry is also a writer on the show along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori.
– By Justina Terhember
‘Spider-Man Noir’ live-action series in the works at Amazon
A Spider-Man Noir live-action series is in the works at Amazon, GeekAfrique has learned via a Variety report. The untitled series will follow an older, grizzled superhero in 1930s New York City. An individual with knowledge of the project says that the show will be set in its own universe and the main character will not be Peter Parker.
This is the second known project based on the Sony-controlled Marvel characters at Amazon Prime Video and MGM+. It was previously announced that Amazon was moving forward with the series ‘Silk: Spider Society’ from showrunner Angela Kang, with several other shows in the works. It is unknown at this time which other Marvel characters will be featured in the other Amazon shows, though Sony currently controls over 900 such characters associated with the Spider-Man franchise.
The Spider-Man Noir comics originally debuted in 2009 as part of the Marvel Noir universe. That version of the iconic superhero lives in New York during the Great Depression. He is bitten by a spider hidden inside a stolen artifact, causing him to have visions of a spider-god who grants him superpowers. Nicolas Cage voiced the character in ‘Into the Spider-Verse’.
The Amazon show will be the first live-action iteration of Spider-Man Noir.
Sony has released multiple Spider-Man live-action films in the past and currently works with Marvel Studios on the rebooted film franchise starring Tom Holland via Columbia Pictures. Sony is also behind ‘Into the Spider-Verse’, which won the Academy Award for best animated film in 2019. Two sequels to that film are currently in the works, with the first — ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ — due out in June 2023.
‘Spartacus’ sequel series in the works
A sequel to hit historical drama series ‘Spartacus’ is in development, with Steven S. DeKnight, who created the original series, serving as showrunner and executive producer. ‘Spartacus’ was inspired by the story of the gladiator of the same name who incited a massive slave rebellion against Rome in the year 73 BC. Per the logline, the sequel series will be set after the defeat of Spartacus and his revolution, depicting “a new tale of treachery, deceit and blood unfolding beneath the foreboding shadow of Rome.”
The original show debuted in 2010, with Season 1 carrying the title ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’. Starz then debuted a prequel limited series, ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ in 2011, before producing two more seasons of the flagship titled ‘Vengeance’ (2012) and ‘War of the Damned’ (2013).
The sequel series will be produced by Lionsgate Television.
‘God of War’ live-action TV series ordered at Amazon
A live-action adaptation of PlayStation’s hit video game franchise ‘God of War’ has been ordered to series at Amazon’s Prime Video, with ‘Wheel of Time’ boss Rafe Judkins set as showrunner. Based on the massively popular 2018 video game, the show follows Kratos, the God of War, who, after exiling himself from his blood-soaked past in ancient Greece, hangs up his weapons forever in the Norse realm of Midgard, per Amazon’s description. When his beloved wife dies, Kratos sets off on a dangerous journey with his estranged son Atreus to spread her ashes from the highest peak — his wife’s final wish. Kratos soon realizes the journey is an epic quest in disguise, one which will test the bonds between father and son, and force Kratos to battle new gods and monsters for the fate of the world.
“‘God of War’ is a compelling, character-driven franchise that we believe will captivate our global customers as much with its expansive and immersive worlds as its rich storytelling,” Vernon Sanders, head of global television at Amazon Studios, said. “We are honored to share in the adventure of exploring the God of War mythology in such a momentous way with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, and Santa Monica Studio.”
The ‘God of War’ TV series marks the latest show based on a video game that is either in the works or in production, including Amazon’s ‘Fallout’ adaptation from ‘Westworld’ creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ (based on another PlayStation property), Paramount+’s ‘Halo’, the Anthony Mackie-led ‘Twisted Metal’ at Peacock, among others.
“We are so proud and excited to be working with our friends at Amazon Studios and our partners at PlayStation Productions to adapt this beautiful and heart-breaking game into a premium live-action series,” Katherine Pope, president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, said.”
A sequel to the 2018 ‘God of War’ game, titled ‘God of War: Ragnarok’, was just released last month. At last week’s Game Awards, it won for best narrative, action/adventure game, score/music, audio design, performance for Kratos actor Christopher Judge and innovation in accessibility.