Since it was announced that Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone Company was working with HBO to develop American Gods as a six-season series of 10 to 12 episodes, possibly premiering in 2013, fans of the best-selling Neil Gaiman novel have been all abuzz. So, when I had a few minutes to chat with HBO Co-President Richard Plepler and President of Programming Michael Lombardo, following the executive session for the network at the TCA Press Tour, of course I asked them to update the status of that development and confirm whether or not they were actually going ahead with what seems like such a huge commitment. While they clearly haven’t made any promises, they both said that it is in the very early stages of development and that they haven’t even seen a script yet. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Neil Gaiman is a brilliant storyteller, whether it’s in books, graphic novels, scripts or just in speaking to an audience. He has been one of my favorite writers from the moment I was first introduced to his work, and he has been a huge inspiration on my own writing and life, in general. So, when it was announced earlier this month that Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions was set to produce an open-ended series of American Gods, based on Gaiman’s award-winning novel, for the fearless cable network HBO (to debut in 2013 at the earliest), and that Gaiman himself was on board as an executive producer and writer, I certainly got very excited.
Now in its 10th anniversary, a special hardcover edition of American Gods has been released and Gaiman is currently on tour promoting it. Instead of the typical book signing, where fans wait in line for hours and barely have time to say more than a passing greeting, the acclaimed and much-loved writer instead sells pre-signed books and uses the time to chat about everything from where his ideas come from to his writing process to what he’s currently working on. Hosted by Patton Oswalt, who is a self-admitted Gaiman fanboy, and including a reading with him, the author and actress Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams), the conversation included the things that Gaiman wants to make sure are in the television adaptation of American Gods, what supplemental material he would like to include with the series, the story he’s looking to write for a Ray Bradbury tribute, how much it meant to him to be able to write an episode of Doctor Who, how China has inspired him to do some projects related to the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, his next children’s book, Chu’s Day, and his latest venture, writing his first musical with Stephin Merritt. Check out the highlights from his June 28th book appearance in Los Angeles after the jump.
HBO started kicking the tires of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods back in April as a possible series to be produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, with Gaiman on board as writer and executive producer. Goetzman revealed details this weekend to THR: Playtone is planning six season of 10-12 hourlong episodes with a budget of $35-40 million each season. American Gods will premiere in 2013 at the earliest.
That’s a lot of money for a weekly series — minimally $3 million per episode, more than most broadcast shows. Playtone is used to the Daddy Warbucks treatment from HBO — the network reportedly budgeted The Pacific around $225 million (over $20 million per hour). But Goetzman promises they’ll put the money to good use:
“There are some crazy things in [American Gods]. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”
Hit the jump for a synopsis of the crazy things in Gaiman’s novel after the break.
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.