Kirby will play the dual lead roles of both Charlie Nancy and his brother, Spider. The series follows Charlie, a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father, Mr. Nancy. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that his father was Anansi: trickster god of stories. And he learns that he has a brother. Now his brother, Spider, is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting but making it a lot more dangerous.
It was previously announced that Delroy Lindo would star as Anansi/Mr. Nancy. Although the character also appears in the series adaptation of Gaiman’s novel “American Gods” at Starz, “Anansi Boys” is a standalone story with no connection to the other show.
The character of Charles Nancy, sometimes known as Fat Charlie (it was his father’s nickname for him – he’s not fat), is described as awkward, stressed, engaged to be married, and working at a job he hates for a man he hates. He is as normal as it is possible to be – at least until he learns that his father was a god, and that he has a magical brother he does not know about. Spider is that brother. Described as cocky, self-assured, magical, superpowered, utterly amoral, and perhaps a bit of a monster.
“Malachi Kirby is an actor of astonishing sensitivity, charm, and power,” Gaiman said. “We needed somebody who could bring us the humanity of Charlie and the godly dangerousness of Spider; who could play two very different characters and who could in many ways carry the show. We found Malachi, and I am so thrilled that we did. He’s astonishing.”
Kirby won the BAFTA for best supporting actor for his role in Steve McQueen’s Amazon/BBC series “Small Axe.” He also recently wrapped filming on Season 2 of the Sky Atlantic/CW series “Devils” and the feature “My Name Is Leon.” He is known for starring in the History Channel remake of “Roots” in 2016 in the lead role of Kunta Kinte. That same year, he starred in the third season of “Black Mirror” in the episode “Men Against Fire.” His other TV credits include “My Murder” and “Dr. Who.”
He is repped by Identity Agency Group and UTA.
Amazon has given “Anansi Boys” series a six-episode order with plans in place to begin shooting in Scotland later this year. Gaiman, Sir Lenny Henry, Douglas Mackinnon, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones, and Richard Fee serve as executive producers. Gaiman and Henry are also writers on the series, as the original story for the book was developed by the pair. Other writers include Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Gaiman and Mackinnon will serve as co-showrunners. Culpepper will direct the pilot. Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem will also direct episodes of the series. Paul Frift will produce.
The show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production company. Gaiman currently has an overall deal with Amazon.