Adaptations can be a tricky thing—especially when the source material you’re working with is something like Good Omens. For anyone worried we’d be seeing a complete 180-degree turn from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s vision, David Tennant is here to put your mind at ease. The apocalypse is still pretty funny.
In an interview with The Herald Scotland, Tennant talked about coming to terms with what exactly the 1990 novel Good Omens is about—not just in subject, but also in tone. A comedy about the Antichrist bringing about the End Times is not exactly a straightforward subject to cover. In adapting a novel like that for the big screen, you run the risk of going too dark and missing the satirical nuance. A good comparison would be Keanu Reeves’ 2005 film Constantine, which was an okay movie but failed to portray the complexity of John Constantine as a character. Come on, Constantine is supposed to be funny! (At least we’ve got Matt Ryan’s Constantine on Legends of Tomorrow now.)
However, Tennant said writer and showrunner Gaiman has been working hard to stick to the tone and intention of his and Pratchett’s work (part of Gaiman fulfilling a posthumous request from Pratchett that he write all six episodes of the Amazon miniseries).
“It’s quite hard tonally to get a grip on what Good Omens is, because it’s this very unique world that comes from Terry and Neil’s novel—and from the scripts, which Neil has adapted pretty faithfully from that novel,” Tennant said. “I think it’s quite unlike anything I’ve ever been in before and possibly anything many people have seen before. It’s like a sort of fairy tale with a kind of very real world setting. It’s a farce and it’s also deeply serious. It’s all things at once and not quite any one of them.”
That said, there are some things Gaiman is having to add to the show that weren’t in the original novel. Gaiman recently shared on Twitter that he’s writing “on-set texts for prophecies we only allude to in the book, so we can shoot them,” including the one about Newt and Anathema having sex (he said he’s “still blushing” from that one).
But of course, Gaiman is still making an effort to not only stay true to the story he and Pratchett originally made but also the heart of his friend and collaborator, who died in 2015. When someone on Twitter mentioned how Pratchett probably would’ve written the “gold dust” prophecy and how they missed his voice, here’s how Gaiman replied:
Good Omens premieres on Amazon and the BBC in 2019.