"She's going to be scary," says Gaiman.

Anansi Boys

Whoopi Goldberg has been a fan of Neil Gaiman's fantasy works for a long time. The actress hosted a Good Omens panel at New York Comic Con in 2018 and put the author's Anansi Boys novel on her 2021 summer reading list for The View. Now, the EGOT-er is actually joining one of Gaiman's worlds.

Goldberg has boarded the cast of Anansi Boys, the TV series adaptation of Gaiman's acclaimed 2005 book at Amazon. And she's playing a key antagonistic role that Gaiman himself promises is "going to be scary."

Amazon revealed the actors who will portray the pantheon of deities on the show, including Goldberg's Bird Woman, a.k.a. the God of Birds. She is the embodiment of birds, and not just the more beautiful, stately avian animals, but the dangerous ones, as well. Long ago, Anansi, the African trickster God of Stories did her dirty, and now she might finally have her chance to turn the tables.

Whoopi Goldberg and Executive Producer Neil Gaiman
Whoopi Goldberg moderated a 'Good Omens' panel with Neil Gaiman in 2018, which led to her casting in 'Anansi Boys.'
| Credit: Todd Williamson/January Images/Shutterstock

Anansi Boys chronicles the story of Charlie Nancy, who's been stuck with the nickname his father gave him, Fat Charlie, even though he's not fat. When his dad dies, Charlie learns that his parent was actually Anansi and he has a secret brother, Spider, who enters Charlie's life determined to make it more interesting.

Malachi Kirby (Small Axe, Devils) plays both Charlie and Spider, while Da 5 Bloods and The Harder They Fall actor Delroy Lindo plays Anansi. Orlando Jones played Anansi in Starz's American Gods series, and he's been vocal about how the producers did him wrong, but Gaiman and the team on Anansi Boys state this new show, like the book, is technically separate from American Gods.

Gaiman said he imagined Goldberg as Bird Woman when he first conceived Anansi Boys as a book decades ago. "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," he said in a statement. "Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She's going to be scary."

"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 remarked.

The six-episode first season, which is currently filming in Scotland, will take viewers to the U.K., Florida, the Caribbean, and the mythical World Before Time, where the animal gods are from.

Joining Goldberg as fellow deities are Hakeem Kae-Kazim as the dangerous Tiger, Emmanuel Ighodaro as the proud and noble Lion, Cecilia Noble as the old and wise Elephant, Ayanna Witter-Johnson as the beautiful and deadly Snake, and Don Gilet as Monkey with the short attention span. Most of them have one thing in common: they hate Anansi. Except for Monkey, who's kind of terrified of the trickster, and Lion, who just doesn't have time for him.

A premiere date has not been announced for Anansi Boys, but the series will make its debut on Amazon Prime Video.

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