Yesterday, we got our first look at Orlando Jones as Anansi the Spider, the resident trickster in “American Gods.” The book, published by author and comics luminary Neil Gaiman in 2001, has endured as a modern fantasy classic, and Gaiman has returned to the world of the book a number of times. The most notable of these was the book’s full fledged sequel, “Anansi Boys,” which was published in 2011.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jones made it clear he was aware of the sequel and the possible spin-off potential. “All I know for sure is that when [showrunners] Michael and Bryan had called me and asked me about playing the character and walked me through what they were thinking, part of the discussion at that time was ‘Anansi Boys,’ and that they wanted to spin it off and pursue that character… If there is a spin-off of any kind, I’d love to do it. I love this character. I love these writers. I’ve been fortunate that this is one of the most exciting and incredible experiences I’ve been able to do as an actor, and I’ll continue for as long as I possibly can.”
Hopefully, Jones has read the book — or at least the readily available synopsis for it. His character Anansi dies before the end of the first chapter. The book is about Anansi’s two sons, the bumbling Fat Charlie and his much cooler brother Spider, reuniting over the death of their father after being separated for over twenty years. This being a Neil Gaiman story, death does not preclude a character from making appearances, but one hopes that an actor as talented and eager as Orlando Jones knows what he is getting himself into.
Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have indicated that they intend to draw from “American Gods,” “Anansi Boys,” the short story “The Monarch of the Glenn” and other works by Neil Gaiman to give their show the mythological depth fans have come to love in Gaiman’s novels.
“American Gods” premieres on Starz on April 30.
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