Whoopi Goldberg is set to play Bird Woman in the upcoming Amazon series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Anansi Boys.”
The series follows Charlie Nancy (Malachi Kirby)—sometimes known as Fat Charlie (it was his father’s nickname for him; he’s not fat)—a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father (Delroy Lindo). But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that he was Anansi: Trickster God of stories. And he learns that he has a brother. Now that brother, Spider (also played by Kirby), is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting—but making it a lot more dangerous instead.
“I have been a fan of this book for a very long time and when Neil Gaiman told me it was being brought to the screen, I did everything I could to be part of it to help make people aware of Anansi and all his magic,” Goldberg said.
Bird Woman is the God of Birds and a key antagonist in the series. She’s the embodiment of birds. Not just beautiful stately birds in flight. Anyone who’s had a close encounter with a seagull knows that some birds are more dangerous than others, and Bird Woman is the most dangerous of them all. Long ago Anansi did her wrong. Now may be her chance to turn the tables.
In addition, the following actors have been cast as other animal gods from the World Before Time:
Hakeem Kae-Kazim has been cast as Tiger. He’s still angry with Anansi for stealing the stories, for making fun of him, and for coming out on top. Tiger (it’s the name of any Big Cat in the Caribbean) is a dangerous enemy to Anansi and all his bloodline.
Emmanuel Ighodaro will play Lion. He’s proud and noble and has no time for Anansi.
Cecilia Noble has been cast as Elephant. She’s old and wise, and hates Anansi.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson will play Snake. She’s beautiful and deadly and hates Anansi.
Don Gilet will play Monkey. He’s terrified of Anansi, keen on food—particularly fruit—and has the attention span of, well, a monkey.
“When I first conceived ‘Anansi Boys,’ decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman,” Gaiman said. “I wasn’t able to meet her until 2018, when she interviewed me with some of the ‘Good Omens’ team at New York Comic Con. At which point she mentioned that she had just finished listening to Sir Lenny Henry’s reading of ‘Anansi Boys,’ and that it was one of her favourite books. Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”
Other previously announced cast members in “Anansi Boys” include Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as Rosie Noah, Grace Saif as Detective Constable Daisy Day, Jason Watkins as Grahame Coats, Fiona Shaw as Maeve Livingstone, CCH Pounder as Mrs. Higgler, L. Scott Caldwell as Mrs. Dunwiddy, Joy Richardson as Mrs. Bustamonte, and Lachele Carl as Miss Noles.
“Anansi Boys” has a six-episode order at Amazon. Gaiman serves as writer, executive producer, and co-showrunner on the series. Henry is also a writer on the show along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Douglas Mackinnon is executive producer and co-showrunner. Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones of Endor Productions, and Richard Fee of RED Production Company are also executive producers. Culpepper is the director of the first episode. Paul Frift produces. The show is produced by Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production company
It is currently in production in Scotland.