By Derek Munyon
Arts & Entertainment Editor
The next few years are going to be a treat for fans of British fantasy author Neil Gaiman, as a slew of shows based on his work are set to hit TV and movie screens.
Gaiman’s popular novel about battling deities, “American Gods,” has been green-lit by premium cable channel Starz and has a projected release date of late 2016. The novel tells the story of a convict named Shadow who gets swept up in a battle between the old gods, which include such entities as Odin, African spider god Anansi, and the Egyptian god Thoth; and the new gods of America.
The show is likely to expand past just the book to include its companion novel, “Anansi Boys,” and new, original material, with Gaiman’s blessing.
“American Gods” is being run by Bryan Fuller, who is known for creating other acclaimed, if short lived, TV series such as “Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “Dead Like Me,” and “Wonderfalls.” Michael Green, who was responsible for the TV show “Kings” and was a writer on the superhero bomb “Green Lantern” will also be producing the series.
Gaiman’s work is also being put into an anthology series called “Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories.” It will be a four-part compilation of the author’s short stories that is being directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who were responsible for the film “20,000 Days on Earth.”
The show will air on the UK station Sky Arts, so there’s no saying when American audiences may get a chance to see the show.
The series will feature a single ensemble cast that will play through all of the shorts. There’s no confirmation yet who will be in the cast or which stories will be shot.
However Gaiman has a wealth of short stories to choose from that have been collected in the volumes “Angels and Visitations,” “Smoke and Mirrors,” “Fragile Things” and “Trigger Warning.”
One of Gaiman’s more popular short stories “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” is already being developed into a film with Elle Fanning and Nichole Kidman.
Another of the author’s work, “Fortunately, The Milk,” about a father’s adventure across time and space to get milk for his children is also being turned into a film by Johnny Depp and director Edgar Wright, who is known for films “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “The World’s End” and “Scott Pil-grim vs. The World.”
News is still going around that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is continuing to adapt Gaiman’s stunning comic series “Sandman” into a film as well. Production is moving slowly however, so whether it will ever escape the dreaded “Production Hell” is yet to be seen.
With so many adaptations, it’s safe to say that it is a great time to be a fan of Neil Gaiman.