While an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman looks to be stuck in dreamland at the moment, there appears to be another of the fan-favourite writer’s works that will be hitting the screen instead. Gaiman had firmly established himself as a comic book visionary in the 1980’s, but it was his 1990 collaboration with legendary late fantasy author Terry Pratchett that saw him dip into the world of novels for the first time. Good Omens was a huge hit for the pair, earning numerous awards nominations and hundreds of thousands of fans.
And talks of an adaptation of the novel have been making the rounds for ages, with Terry Gilliam set at one stage to direct a feature film version starring Johnny Depp and Robin Williams. Terry Jones also attempted a TV series adaptation, and Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna even formed a production company which was supposed to create a 13-part series from the novel. BBC Radio 4 eventually put out a radio play adaptation but all other attempts pretty much went nowhere.
Besides for voice cameos he and Pratchett did for the BBC Radio 4 production, Gaiman himself has never really been involved with any of these aborted adaptations though, claiming that he would only do it if both he and Pratchett could work on it together. Unfortunately, Pratchett spent several years battling a rare form of Alzheimer’s and when he eventually succumbed to the disease last year, it seemed that that ship had sailed for good, as Gaiman’s explained at a memorial for the beloved Pratchett (via Guardian).
“Absolutely not,” Gaiman recalled replying, to laughter. “Terry and I had a deal that we would only work on Good Omens things together,” he explained. “Everything that was ever written – bookmarks and tiny little things – we would always collaborate, everything was a collaboration. So, obviously, no.”
But now plans have changed, as Gaiman went on to explain that he recently received a letter from Pratchett – who left instructions that it only be delivered posthumously – in which the late author informed Gaiman that he gives his blessing and wants him to do the adaptation himself.
“At that point, I think I said, ‘You bastard, yes,’” Gaiman recalled, to cheers.
For the uninformed, the comedy fantasy novel is a humorous apocalyptic tale following “Crowley the demon and Aziraphale the angel teaming up to deal with the Antichrist – who is, owing to a muddled baby swap, a schoolboy growing up in modern, rural England.” It’s still too early to reveal any casting, or whether Gaiman would be taking the story in any new directions – though judging by his reverence for Pratchett that is unlikely – he did coyly reveal that this adaptation will be a six-part television series.
Along with the Good Omens announcement, also revealed at the memorial was the fact that screenwriter Terry Rossio would be penning a feature film adaptation of Pratchett’s fourth “Discworld” novel, Mort, which was the first in the series to focus on fan-favourite character Death. As the screenwriter of such huge hits as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the National Treasure series, the Zorro series, Shrek and more, Rossio is officially the 2nd most successful screenwriter of all time in terms of box office receipts. While feature film adaptations of Pratchett’s works have been done before, this will undoubtedly be the most high profile.
PS: Yes, I am aware that we referenced four different Terry’s in this article, so try not to get too confused.
Last Updated: April 19, 2016