This evening at the Empire Awards in London’s Camden Roundhouse we spoke to a host of actors, directors and writers, there to celebrate a fine year in film and television. As well as Gareth Edwards’ tale of fear and relief at getting George Lucas’s approval for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Anya Taylor-Joy’s story of how M. Night Shyamalan kept the secret ending to Split hidden from the cast during filming, we spoke to literary magician Neil Gaiman about the forthcoming TV series American Gods.

The Starz TV series (airing on Amazon here in the UK) will commence its eight episode first season on the last day of April. Gaiman dons his executive producer trousers along with Craig Cegielski, Stefanie Berk, Thom Beers and showrunners Bryan and Michael Green.

Back in 2014 we spoke to Bryan Fuller about the show. At that point he was just setting out on the grand task of adaptation.

“[The] tone and spirit of the show is so much fun. Maybe it’s because I am getting to work with Michael and Neil Gaiman but we’re having such a ball with it.

One of the things really fun for us is to expand beyond the walls of the book.”

American GodsThis was a part of the adaptation process that came up in our time with the acclaimed author this evening. Clearly very excited to have one of his seminal works on a new stage (the long-awaited Sandman movie adaptation toils slowly in development hell once again) Gaiman talked about his feelings having seen the first series.

“It’s eight episodes, the first season, and it’s astonishing. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as showrunners have done this remarkable job of taking just the beginning of the novel and they’ve opened it up. It’s so powerful.”

With some authors understandably precious about adaptations of their work (E.L. James and J.K. Rowling are two such recent examples), Gaiman also talked about the perils and pleasures of seeing his work cast through new eyes.

“I’ve loved seeing it. One of the things that’s been fascinating for me. On the one hand every now and then they would propose doing something or a scene, and it’s like – ‘No, I would throw myself in front of a bus if you do that…’ and on the other hand they’ll come up with ideas and [I would say] “I would never have thought of that – I think that’s amazing…’

My favourite episode is an episode with nothing that I wrote in.”

We eagerly await the launch of American Gods, with our gaze turning towards the Starz at the end of April. Not long now…