Whoopi Goldberg Will Play The 'Scary' God Of Birds In Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys Series

The latest Neil Gaiman book adaptation has a new cast member. Today Amazon Studios announced that the upcoming series "Anansi Boys" has cast Academy Award-and Emmy-winner Whoopi Goldberg ("The View," "Star Trek: Picard") as the Bird Woman. Not only that, but we have more casting news for some of the main roles in the series, including the gods from the World Before Time. The series is currently shooting in Scotland, and will premiere on Prime Video.

The series will be six episodes long and stars Malachi Kirby in the lead roles of Fat Charlie and Spider, his brother. The story is set in London in the present day, but will visit Florida, the Caribbean, and the World Before Time. (Do not get this confused with "The Land Before Time," which features adorable dinosaurs.)

Bird Woman is described as the "embodiment of birds," including the dangerous ones. Anansi, who is the father of Fat Charlie and Spider, did something to her that upset her long ago, and now she wants revenge. Anansi is the Trickster God of stories and will be played by Delroy Lindo. In the "American Gods" series, another Gaiman adaptation that aired on Starz, the role was played by Orlando Jones. 

'She's going to be scary'

The rest of the cast includes Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Tiger, who is upset with Anansi for stealing his stories and treating him badly. He's an antagonist for the series as Bird Woman is. The press release notes that any big cat in the Caribbean is called a tiger. Cecilia Noble is the old and wise elephant and doesn't like Anansi, who clearly has to work on his interpersonal skills. Ayanna Witter-Johnson will play Snake, who also hates the Trickster God. She's "beautiful and deadly." Don Gilet will play Monkey, who is really into food, especially fruit, is afraid of Anansi, and has a short attention span. 

Here is the synopsis for Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys:"

Anansi Boys 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. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that he was Anansi: Trickster God of stories (played by Delroy Lindo). 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.

Sounds like fate is a little bit responsible for this casting

Gaiman, who is working as a writer, executive producer, and co-showrunner for "Anansi Boys," said of the casting of Goldberg that it was a lucky break. He explained in a statement:

"When I first conceived Anansi Boys, decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman. 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."

That's pretty great. Goldberg said she "did everything I could to be a part of it to help make people aware of Anansi and all his magic." It sounds like the perfect match. The rest of the cast includes previously announced actors 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.

Gaiman, Lenny Henry, Douglas Mackinnon (who also serves as co-showrunner), Hanelle M. Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones for Endor Productions, and Richard Fee for RED Production Company will executive produce "Anansi Boys," with Gaiman and Henry writing the series with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Culpepper ("Star Trek: Picard") will direct the pilot. Paul Frift will produce. Gaiman has an overall deal with Amazon Studios, and his other series "Good Omens" season 2 has just finished shooting.