It turns out that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods isn’t moving toward the big screen but rather to television.
Deadline reports that HBO is negotiating to develop the award-winning fantasy novel as a series, a project brought to the cable channel by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson, who brought American Gods to the production company, will write the pilot with Gaiman.
Presumably Richardson is the “genius” Gaiman mentioned in late March when he revealed he had sold the rights to the 2001 novel. Richardson, a frequent collaborator of directors Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino, has won two Academy Awards, for JFK and The Aviator.
The author’s fourth novel, American Gods is built on the premise that deities and figures of myth and folklore exist only because people believe in them. It follows an ex-convict named Shadow who, upon early release from prison after his wife is killed in a car crash, is hired to be the bodyguard of a mysterious con man named Wednesday. However, it’s soon revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of All-Father Odin, who’s traveling America recruiting his fellow forgotten deities to wage an epic battle against the new American gods — manifestations of modern life and technology, like Internet, media and credit cards.
The announcement of HBO’s plans comes only days before the premiere of Game of Thrones, the $50-million adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire.