GOOD OMENS: Neil Gaiman & Rob Wilkins Talk Dream Castings & Burning Bentleys
Writer Neil Gaiman and Narrativia MD Rob Wilkins have spoken about their genuine joy in securing their dream cast for the new BBC / Amazon adaptation of Good Omens. The pair appear in a half hour video in which they answer questions posed by attendees of the North American Discworld Convention which has been posted to Vimeo by the Terry Pratchett Estate. Neil and Terry co-authored the 1990 comic novel upon which the six part series has been based, and David Tennant and Michale Sheen have been cast in the lead roles of Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and an angel who join forces to try to prevent the Apocalypse.
The pair also gave a number of updates on the production which begins shooting in just over a fortnight (possible spoilers ahead if you're not familiar with the novel):
The production team jumped through hoops to get David and Michael on board
"To say we wanted them is an understatement," Rob said.
"The pre-eminent Welsh actor of his generation and the pre-eminent Scottish actor of his generation, both having to do English accents!" quipped Neil, who has written the screenplay. He added, "It was important to us tht they were visually reminiscent of each other. David and Michael normally aren't in things together because they go up for the same parts. I love the fact we have them together."
Crowley's burning Bentley will actually be on fire
In these technologically advanced days it would seem that some of the 'impossible to shoot' scenes could be created via CGI, but director Douglas McKinnon assures Neil that Crowley's Bentley will actually be on fire while David Tennant is driving it and he can do it without actually killing anyone.
"If we lose David Tennant driving a burning Bentley, what a way to go...none finer!" said Neil.
Neil's favourite scene that he has written is Madame Tracy's seance
"I had so much fun writing that scene and I'm looking so forward to them shooting it," he said.
There are 211 speaking parts, so cuts have been inevitable
One speaking role has already been cut become part of The Them for logistic and budget reasons
The BBC has insisted that some scenes are changed for Health & Safety reaasons
Apparently children can't be dunked into deep ponds, explained Neil.
Michael Sheen has just been for his costume fitting
Michael has been trying on clothes to 'find Aziraphale' and has now found a costume that makes him happy. He reminded the costume fitter that unlike Crowley, who creates his clothes from nothing, Aziraphale buys his and holds onto them, so he has real Victorian clothes.
The sequel that Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett planned informs the TV series
Neil and Terry discussed a sequel and a film and plotlines feed back into the TV series. There are characters that are not in the book and Neil hints that they could lead to a new TV series
The scene with Crowley and Hastur in the phonelines will now occur in the internet.
There have been technological updates since the novel was published. Crowley also has a mobile phone. He still has an answering machine though. Aziraphale doesn't have a mobile - but then he wouldn't.
Neil Gaiman is making the series for Terry Pratchett
He says he misses his friend and colleague, "I wish so much he was with us. I wish I could show it to him."
Watch the whole Q&A here:
Neil Gaiman and Rob Wilkins in conversation about Good Omens from Terry Pratchett Estate on Vimeo.
Good Omens is a six part comedy fantasy series due to premiere on Amazon Prime in January 2019 with a later broadcast on BBC Two, set on the brink of the Apocalypse. Michael Sheen will star as the somewhat fussy angel and rare-book dealer Aziraphale, and David Tennant will play his opposite number, the fast living demon Crowley, both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and of each other. So it’s really terrible news for both of them that, if Heaven and Hell have their way, the world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis has risen, tempers are flaring. The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse are ready to ride. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist…
Good Omens is being produced by the comedy team at BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial production arm, Narrativia and The Blank Corporation, in association with BBC Worldwide.