You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

SXSW: Neil Gaiman Talks Casting ‘Good Omens’ Through Email

When it came to getting the television adaptation of “Good Omens” right, author and showrunner Neil Gaiman mentally ran things by the ghost of his novel writing partner Terry Pratchett. Keeping it true to what he and Pratchett would have wanted was a “mad passion project.”

“Normally if you are the writer in television, your control extends up to the moment that you stop typing and you hand the thing over and people will do with it what they want to do with it. The great thing about ‘Good Omens’ was because I made myself showrunner, it meant that the director Douglas [Mackinnon] and I got to work together and nobody go to out vote us and I got to make the thing that I wanted,” Gaiman said at SXSW Saturday.

The series premieres May 31 on Amazon and has an all-star cast that includes Michael Sheen as earth-dwelling angel Aziraphale and David Tennant as his demon counterpart Crowley. Jon Hamm is the angel Gabriel; Benedict Cumberbatch is the voice of Satan; and Frances McDormand plays the voice of God.

Gaiman said that getting his dream cast onboard wasn’t particularly challenging: It only took one email to convince Hamm to take the supporting role, even though the character is not in the book and therefore Hamm did not have the additional source material from which to further flesh out the character that the show’s leads did. Gaiman’s email to convince Hamm, the showrunner said, was “I want it to be you and I know that you loved the book because you told me you loved the book.” Gaiman shared that Hamm only wrote back a one-word email, and it was “yes.”

Gaiman also shared that the role of God was extended to McDormand after she sent him an email, and her affirmative response was communicated back to him the same way, although lengthier than Hamm’s. “She said, ‘Yes, that would impress my family,'” Gaiman revealed.

Gaiman shared some exclusive, first-look footage from the six-episode limited series in Austin, Texas, before being startled by the a throng of nuns, the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, who approached the stage and broke out into song.

Now that “Good Omens” is wrapped and in safe hands, and “American Gods” Season 2 launches Sunday, Mar. 10 on Starz, Gaiman says he plans to get back to writing, picking up a novel he started in 2017 and working on a children’s book, “Pirates Askew,” based on “a few lines of scribbled poetry.”


More TV

  • Hailee SteinfeldTribeca TV Festival 2019 Presents

    Hailee Steinfeld Announces New Single Tied to Apple TV Plus' 'Dickinson'

    Actress, singer and producer Hailee Steinfeld is set to release a new single entitled “Afterlife” on Sept. 19, a track she created for her upcoming Apple TV Plus series,”Dickinson.” “This is a song I’m incredibly proud of, and I feel like after embodying this character, I have a more fearless approach to my writing,” Steinfeld [...]

  • Rachel Bloom

    Rachel Bloom Announces Pregnancy After Emmy Win

    “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom made a special announcement after winning her Emmy for best original music and lyrics — she is pregnant. Bloom announced the news backstage on Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. She joked she had planned to reveal the news on Instagram but that doing it at the Emmys was even [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    TV Review: 'Evil'

    In its pilot installment, CBS’s new drama “Evil” delves into that which may lie beyond the rationally explicable. And the show itself represents something almost supernatural by 2019 standards, too: A well-made hour fueled by chemistry between its leads and a strong idea of itself. On the basis of its debut outing, which screened at [...]

  • Emmy Awards Placeholder

    Creative Arts Emmys: 'Free Solo,' 'Queer Eye' Among Big Winners on Night 1 (Full List)

    “Free Solo,” “Queer Eye,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Saturday Night Live” were among the big winners Saturday after the first night of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. “Free Solo,” the National Geographic feature documentary that already claimed the Oscar earlier this year, lead the field on the [...]

  • Gary Cole, Christina Anthony, Tika Sumpter,

    'Mixed-ish' Team on Why 'All Stories About "Others" Are Necessary'

    The producers and cast of “Mixed-ish” are not out to tell a singular black and white story — but one that showcases and celebrates all shades in between. “It’s important for me across the board in all of my work to talk about ‘otherness’ and identity and real, grounded characters,” showrunner Karin Gist told Variety [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    Comedians Condemn Shane Gillis Over Slurs

    “Saturday Night Live” showrunner Lorne Michaels has yet to comment on the racist and homophobic remarks made by newly hired cast member Shane Gillis, but comedians and actors are expressing their condemnation on social media, some even asking that he be fired from the show.  Footage of Gillis’s podcast, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content