Whoopi Goldberg has been tapped to play the menacing Bird Woman opposite Malachi Kirby and Delroy Lindo in Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman’s series adaptation for Prime Video.
Based on Gaiman’s fantasy novel, the six-episode series is set throughout contemporary London and follows a cast of characters in an epic story that stretches from the UK to Florida, the Caribbean and the mythical World Before Time. Kirby stars in the leading roles of Fat Charlie and Spider. The series is filming in Scotland and will premiere on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.
2021-22 Amazon Prime Video Pilots & Series Orders
Per Amazon Studios’ descriptions: Anansi Boys follows Charlie Nancy (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: the trickster God of Stories (Delroy Lindo). And he learns that he has a brother. Now that brother, Spider (also Kirby), is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting but making it a lot more dangerous instead.
Goldberg’s 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. Long ago Anansi did her wrong. Now might be her chance to turn the tables.
“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,” said Goldberg.
“When I first conceived Anansi Boys decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman,” said co-showrunner, writer and executive producer 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 favorite books. Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”
Amazon Studios also announced the key cast in roles that make up the pantheon of animal gods from the World Before Time. They include:
Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Hotel Rwanda) as Tiger. He’s still angry with Anansi for stealing the stories, for making fun of him and for coming out on top. Tiger — the name of any Big Cat in the Caribbean — is a dangerous enemy to Anansi and all his bloodline.
Emmanuel Ighodaro (The Queen and I) as Lion. He’s proud and noble and has no time for Anansi.
Cecilia Noble (The Lady in the Van) as Elephant. She’s old and wise, and hates Anansi.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson (The Collaboration) as Snake. She’s beautiful and deadly and hates Anansi.
Don Gilet (Sherwood) 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.
Gaiman, Henry, Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (RED Production Company) are executive producers. Gaiman and Henry write for the series along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Gaiman and Mackinnon serve as co-showrunners. Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey) also directs the pilot. Paul Frift serves as producer.
The show is produced by Amazon Studios, where Gaiman is under an overall deal, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production company.
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