And I’m all right with that!
In an intriguing move, Deadline is reporting that HBO has acquired the adaptation rights for American Gods by Neil Gaiman and is already developing the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel.
Playtone, the production company co-owned by actor Tom Hanks, brought the property to HBO.
As a Gaiman fan, this excites me. American Gods is one of my favorite novels of all time. It is dark and sophisticated, slowly methodical but extremely intelligent, a masterwork of language and pointed literary merit. The tale of Shadow, ex-con and the lynch pin in a growing war between real gods—a war that can feature even more battles than in the actual novel—is ripe for an HBO series adaptation.
Undoubtedly this deal happening is at least partially due to the sudden mounting buzz for the HBO fantasy adaptation Game of Thrones. Studio executives may come and go and few have real vision—sorry, it’s true—but they are rarely stupid. Hollywood has seen the reverberating public interest being shown for Game of Thrones and executives are once again being quick to pick up various fantasy properties like they were after Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring released on the silver screen. I’ve seen this first hand. Several of my author friends have all had renewed interest in their fantasy work over the last month or two when it had been dead for several years due to terrible fantasy film flops.
It appears as though the real game of thrones is taking place in Hollywood. Right now. Who will snag what properties? And can they turn those properties into viable works of live action art?
The sad thing, in my opinion, is this: The purchasing of rights from writers doesn’t equal a made product. 99.9% of these properties that sell won’t be greenlit into production. Studio executives are like orcs who, after catching a manling, don’t know what to do with the man flesh. They sit there puzzled, trying to figure it out, until the man wises up and runs back home.
Just like writer rights.
Hollywood, a word of advice from a fantasy connoisseur in the mood for multiple, well-done adaptations:
Do it faithfully. Do it with talented people who have a passionate understanding of the original source. Do that, and your pockets will be lined with gold, paid for by all us geeks out here.
I look forward to seeing what Neil Gaiman has to say on these HBO developments and how his role as co-writer for the American Gods pilot will come together. HBO seems to attract great talent and their history showcases their willingness to spend money on projects. Let’s hope both happen here.
Time for a re-read of American Gods, methinks.
After A Game of Thrones!