Looking to build on the slate of compelling original programming they already have at their disposal, HBO is currently in talks to acquire Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel American Gods. Deadline reports that HBO would like to develop the fantasy tome into a series after having been presented with the material by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Word has it that Hanks and Goetzman were initially made aware of the property by Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (The Aviator) who, as it were, will most likely co-write the pilot alongside Gaiman.
Briefly, American Gods documents the struggle between two sets of gods: the mythological ones who have garnered their power via society’s willingness to believe in them and a contemporary set made up of technology, celebrities, drugs, and the like. For more on the project, hit the jump to read a full synopsis of Gaiman’s novel.
Here’s a synopsis for American Gods [from Amazon]:
Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman’s tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: “gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon.” They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can’t turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss’s recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday’s adversary, Mr. World.
At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow’s poignant personal moments and the tale’s affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale’s wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia.