On the Books Aug. 23: Neil Gaiman's HBO deal for 'American Gods,' Kathryn Stockett's legal battle centers on handwritten note

Neil-Gaiman

Image Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

++ Novelist Neil Gaiman has nabbed a deal with HBO to adapt his most successful novel, American Gods, into series for HBO. Gaiman told a crowd at the Edinburgh International Book Festival that he plans to write the pilot, the finale, and perhaps some episodes in the middle. He joins Sloane Crosley, Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, and Tom Perrotta in the slate of authors recently tapped by HBO to try their hand at writing for television. Echoing Salman Rushdie’s praise of cable television as a storytelling medium, Gaiman said, “I was doing a couple of screenplays, and was incredibly grumpy at the idea of doing 124-page stories with beginnings, middles, and ends and was determined that the novel should be formless and would have lots of ends, and several beginnings, and middles all over the place. So I actually like the idea that HBO are doing it.”

++ As in the best-selling novel and hit film The Help, words are proving unexpectedly powerful in author Kathryn Stockett’s real-life legal battle. Ablene Cooper, an African American housekeeper who works for Stockett’s brother, sued Stockett for allegedly creating a character of her likeness in The Help without her permission. Both sides of the case point to a handwritten letter from Stockett to Cooper. As the Associated Press reports, part of the letter reads, “One of the main characters, and my favorite character, is an African American child carer named Aibileen. Although the spelling is different and the character was born in 1911, I felt I needed to reach out and tell you that the character isn’t based on you in any way.”

Follow Stephan on Twitter: @stepephan


Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • papamidnite

    1ST!!
    I would love to see this become a series on HBO whose tv shows are getting better..Its the right time for it..

  • psyche

    I didn’t realize Gaiman wasn’t directly involved in the adaptation. That definitely makes me a little more excited, especially since HBO said they are stretching out the material to 6 years. Gaiman is likely to have some great ideas to pad it out :)

    • Lucas

      I”m a tad worried about the stretching out bit. I’ll reserve judgement until I see the end result but I do hope that Gaiman is actively involved in how that is planned out. And that it is planned from the start. I would much rather have a tight say 3 season (making it around 30-36 hours) show than a dawdling on and on for 5+ years mess.

  • TVDIVA

    Thsi is why I love HBO! They are looking to authors who write entertaining novels and translating them into scripted series. Unlike prime time channels who are rebooting old series and creating as many reality shows as possible. I cannot wait for this series to debut.

    • Lucas

      Given the crap fest that Alan Ball has turned True Blood into, I wouldn’t start applauding just yet.

      Yes they treat their shows well on the filming etc side, but not all of their showrunners are up to par when it comes to adaptations

      • Marie

        Yes indeedy, Alan Ball has turned this show into another one of his tv turds. Sorry Charlaine Harris, your novels are real page turners, but True Blood I closed the cover on after S3. Too boringly over the top ala Alan Ball’s incessant trip inside his own head’s outre fantasies. Ick.

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  • Used Cisco Reseller

    of course like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth then again I will certainly come again again.

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