Neil Gaiman’s fight to cast David Tennant in Good Omens


“But I’ve never seen anything go from zero to 60 in the way that Good Omens did. It came out, and the next day people were already dressing up as the characters.”

Gaiman isn’t being boastful. His TV series adaptation of the 1990 book he and the late Terry Pratchett wrote has become one of Amazon Prime Video’s buzziest shows.

The six-part fantasy-comedy centres on the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and the demon Crowley (David Tennant) as they work together to thwart the looming apocalypse. The two leads’ striking looks have been re-created by fans all over the world.

“The thing that makes me ridiculously happy is getting photos of people dressing up in costume as Good Omens characters — from Ukraine, China and Japan.”

When those fans send the photos to Gaiman, he retweets them from his own Twitter account to his 2.7 million followers. There are also fans who tell him the book and the show have been their salvation.

David Tennant almost didn’t play CrowleySource:Supplied

Cosplayers dressed up as Good Omens characters at New York Comic Con this year. Picture: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Cosplayers dressed up as Good Omens characters at New York Comic Con this year. Picture: Mike Coppola/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But it could’ve all been a very different show. Tennant was almost not the devilish Crowley.

“David and I had never crossed paths before but when I was in the middle of writing a scene in episode three — where I needed Crowley to walk down the church aisle going ‘Ow, ow, ow’ and sort of dancing like a man at the beach while delivering all these lines — I thought, ‘You know, David Tennant could do this’,” Gaiman said.

“I discovered when I was talking to Michael and David that the reason they had never really been in anything together is they would always go up for the same role. Even when I cast them, I had a lot of pushback from various entities all basically saying, ‘Aren’t they too similar?’

“I was trying to go for something that Terry Pratchett and I had talked about a long time ago — which was our perfect dream casting for Crowley and Aziraphale — and we decided it was the late Peter Sellers playing both parts.

“It’s a bit like, well, if I get that fundamental feeling of reflection from the two of them, everything will work. And it worked out so much better than I could ever have dreamt.

“It was easy casting Michael but then casting David was harder because people didn’t quite get it.”

Neil Gaiman is a prolific writer. Picture: Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Neil Gaiman is a prolific writer. Picture: Araya Diaz/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Michael Sheen and David Tennant would often go up against each other for the same roles

Michael Sheen and David Tennant would often go up against each other for the same rolesSource:Supplied

Gaiman said that securing Tennant really came down to the wire.

“It took until the day that we wouldn’t have had David any longer. On that final day, I found the people in charge and said, ‘OK, if you don’t say yes to David today, then tomorrow we lose him and he goes and does another movie and I don’t have a second choice and, honestly, I don’t think you do either.’”

So Gaiman told the powers-that-be that if he didn’t get Tennant, then they might as well “pull the plug on this whole thing”.

The move worked, and when the show premiered fans and critics have heaved praise on Tennant and Sheen’s performances and on-screen chemistry. Gaiman has been vindicated.

“All of the people who were putting up objections back then have come to me at some point since and said, ‘You were right’, which is a lovely thing to hear because you never hear that normally in the real world.”

As for the petition signed by an American Christian organisation demanding Good Omens ’ cancellation, and sent erroneously to Netflix instead of Amazon?

Gaiman is legitimately grateful to the naysayers — he called the global headlines “magic”.

“I thought briefly about sending thank you flowers, or at least some chocolates, but decided they would probably take it the wrong way — they’d take it as sarcasm rather than as honest gratitude.”

Good Omens is yours to own on DVD and BluRay from November 13

Share your TV and movies obsessions | @wenleima





Source link

Related posts

Make a comment