HBO Picks Up Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’

The acclaimed novelist will co-write the pilot episode with Robert Richardson.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Although Neil Gaiman has written an episode for the new season of "Doctor Who," he may be spending a lot more time writing for TV in the near future.

Deadline is reporting that HBO is in negotiations to bring Gaiman's 2001 novel "American Gods" to life as a live action TV series. The potential series will be produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone partners.

The project was first brought to Playtone by Robert Richardson, a highly respected cinematographer who has worked on numerous films including "Kill Bill," "Shutter Island" in addition to winning Academy Awards for "The Aviator" and "JFK." Richardson will co-write the pilot episode with Gaiman.

"American Gods" follows a ex-con named Shadow who comes to work for "Mr. Wednesday," a mysterious man who turns out to be one of the Gods from the older pantheons who is bent on recruiting forces to take on a new breed of modern day Gods; whose forms and powers are dictated by America's obsessions with celebrity, technology and drugs. The novel was extremely well received by fans and critics, picking up the Hugo Award and the Stoker in addition to several other honors.

Gaiman is primarily known for his groundbreaking run on the "Sandman" comic book series, but he also has previous TV experience through the BBC miniseries "Neverwhere" and an episode of "Babylon 5." In film, Gaiman has written the screenplays for "MirrorMask," "Beowulf" and contributed to adaptations of his novels "Stardust" and "Coraline."

Playtone has a long history with HBO, having collaborated on the recently finished series "Big Love," as well as "Band of Brothers," "From The Earth To The Moon," "John Adams" and "The Pacific."

While "American Gods" would be the third fantasy/genre series on HBO if it gets picked up, it may also be the perfect tonic for the network after losing out on "The Walking Dead" to AMC.