Whoopi Goldberg lands major role in TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys

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Whoopi Goldberg has been cast as Bird Woman in the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2005 fantasy novel Anansi Boys.

The American actress, 66, will star opposite Malachi Kirby and Delroy Lindo in the six-episode series from Amazon Studios.

The story follows the sons of Mr Nancy, an incarnation of West African trickster god Anansi, as they discover one another and embark on an adventure.

British Blacklist lunch – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Malachi Kirby (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Lindo plays Anansi while Kirby takes on the role of both sons – Fat Charlie and Spider.

The narrative will travel from contemporary London to Florida, the Caribbean and the mythical World Before Time, which is described as “a place of incredible beauty, magic and danger”.

One of the key antagonists, Goldberg’s Bird Woman is the embodiment of all birds, from stately breeds to aggressive seagulls, and was wronged by Anansi long ago.

She said: “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.”

Desert Island Discs – Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman (Ian West/PA)

Gaiman, who is also showrunner and executive producer, said: “When I first conceived Anansi Boys, decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman.

“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 favourite books.

“Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”

The cast of animal gods from the World Before Time includes Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Tiger, Emmanuel Ighodaro as Lion and Cecilia Noble as Elephant.

The World Before Time is one of the locations brought to life at FirstStage Studios in Leith, Scotland, with the help of a new LED volume stage.

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