When news broke last week that Amazon is adapting Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, the author said in a blog post that “thrilling” casting announcements would start soon. And he wasn’t kidding: Variety reports that Delroy Lindo will play Mr. Nancy in the series.
Mr. Nancy is the estranged father of Charlie Nancy, the novel’s protagonist, who believes his father is just an embarrassing old man. After the elder Nancy dies, Charlie discovers there was a lot more to him: Mr. Nancy was also Anansi, a trickster and god of stories. What’s more, Charlie has a brother, Spider, whose appearance wreaks havoc on Charlie’s life.
A version of Mr. Nancy appeared in Gaiman’s American Gods and was played in that TV adaptation by Orlando Jones, but Anansi Boys is not a sequel, and Gaiman has said he had the idea for Anansi Boys before American Gods. The character in Anansi Boys is older, and the scope of the story is smaller and more intimate than Gods.
Mr. Nancy’s presence in the story is somewhat short-lived, but casting such a well-known actor in the role might suggest that he plays a larger role in the adaptation. As Gaiman said in a statement, Delroy Lindo is “a giant of stage and screen.” He’s appeared in films from Malcolm X to A Life Less Ordinary; was a force of nature in last year’s Da 5 Bloods (pictured above); and is soon to be see in Netflix’s The Harder They Fall.
Amazon has ordered Anansi Boys straight to series; it will have six episodes and begin filming later this year. No release date has been announced.