As a co-author of ‘Good Omens,‘ it is no surprise that the deceased author Terry Pratchett would have an influence on the series and now Neil Gaiman and director Douglas Mackinnon share a bit of how his shadow is cast across their entire development. We’ve already heard multiple times from Gaiman that Pratchett had insisted before his death that his co-author and friend make sure that their story was able to make it into a live-action production. As Pratchett’s illness kicked in at a heightened pace, we know that Gaiman went non-stop in trying to get as much as he could do on it even though he knew that his friend would likely not make it to see the finished product.
According to Gaiman “I came back from his funeral and started writing the first episode of Good Omens and trying to convince myself that it was funny, and trying to find the funny in what I was doing, and having a very rough time for that very first draft for the first episode.”
The worst part about making the series for Neil is that the entire novel had been a completely collaborative work between the two:
“There would be two different phenomena going on. One of which was, if I got stuck, which I did from time to time during the writing process, what I had always done before on Good Omens when I was writing it if you get stuck you phone Terry. And either, you send him what you’ve done so far, and you send him up to where you got stuck. And he looks at it and carries on liking it, or he phones you up, and he says, ‘The answer, Grasshopper, is in the way you ask the question.’ And you go,'”Terry, don’t be irritating. Just tell me what you think.'”
For Gaiman, this has meant that while the entire creation of the series has reminded him of his friend, it was the writing process itself which really stuck out for him:
“I couldn’t do that, and I also couldn’t phone him up when I solved the problems and felt very proud of myself and just said something clever,” continued Gaiman. “[Because] the other fun bit [of writing Good Omens] was impressing Terry. When you write a book normally, you have kind of an imaginary audience in your head. When you make a TV show, you have an imaginary audience in your head. When I wrote my bits of Good Omens, the novel I was writing was for a very specific audience of Terry Pratchett. Could I make him laugh? Could I make him say ‘That’s a good book’? That was my standard, and I think his was the same for me.”
Director Douglas Mackinnon also felt Pratchett’s legacy all over the six-episode series which they’ve created:
“I never met Terry, but I felt his presence every day on the set because the thing we were trying to do was honor the book. It was written by the two of them, so we couldn’t do anything else but honor him.”
While we know that the creator will be referenced by both his books and hats making an appearance, one thing Mackinnon didn’t want to know was who wrote what:
“I never asked [Neil] at all who wrote which bits because I didn’t want to get… That’s kind of Neil’s business with Terry, and I didn’t want to get either sentimental for something that I couldn’t … I didn’t want to get confused by that. I just wanted to do the book.”
While the entire book was a collaborative process, the two authors have always been quiet as to who wrote which parts. The only exceptions were that Gaiman wrote about the Four Horsemen as well as the alternate ones while Pratchett had penned the sections on Agnes Nutter and her death:
“When I wrote the script, it was very important to me that I got to dramatize the whole sequence of the death of Agnes Nutter. We had some producers on, early in the show, who didn’t quite get the show. And they were like, ‘This Agnes Nutter Stuff, can we do it with cutouts, or puppets, or just a voiceover [and woodcuts]? And I was like, ‘No, this is Terry’s bit, and if I do it with woodcuts and a voiceover, the ghost of Terry Pratchett will haunt me until I die.’ And, he was a humanist who didn’t even believe in ghosts, so it makes it even worse.”
As one of my all-time favorite works of fiction, I can’t wait to see how this is brought to life under Gaiman’s guiding hand.
Are you excited for ‘Good Omens’ to hit Amazon next year? Do you think that we’ll be in for a real treat when it does? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Source: Den Of Geek