Written back in 1990, the bestselling fantasy comedy novel Good Omens from Neil Gaiman and the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett has gone on to become a true classic of the genre over the years. The laugh out loud funny, imaginative tale of an angel and demon working together to save the world when the Antichrist is born always had obvious potential for an adaptation as well, with Terry Gilliam trying to make a movie out of it in the early 00s with Johnny Depp and Robin Williams set to star.
Unfortunately, that never really went anywhere, but once Gaiman took matters into his own hands, things finally got going and though it didn’t make it to the silver screen, Good Omens has instead landed on television as a brilliant miniseries over at Amazon Prime. So far, it’s gone down extremely well with fans and while a follow-up unfortunately seems unlikely, there’s still much to enjoy in the batch of episodes we do have – including Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice role as Satan.
Yes, the Sherlock star voices the devil himself and in a recent interview with Variety, Gaiman explained why they just had to have him on board.
“It was from the point of view of going, ‘OK you’re in a show in which Frances McDormand is God. And we need somebody who can act — who is not going to be just blown off the screen by the idea of Frances McDormand. I was sitting there going, ‘Who has the who has the vocal range?’”
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After seeing a recent performance of Cumberbatch’s, Gaiman knew he was their man and told Variety that he was always his first choice.
“I just watched him act and went, ‘This is magic. This is absolutely amazing,’” he says. “And so when I started thinking, ‘Okay, who can I find? Who could give me this performance in a small enough space?’, Benedict was simply my first choice.”
“A soon as Benedict started making the lines his own, the whole thing came to life. Suddenly, it was no longer a monster movie,” he says. “Suddenly, it felt like ‘Good Omens’ again. You had somebody who might be 500-foot high, that was basically an absent father unable to deal with a rebellious kid.”
While Cumberbatch may not have a huge role in the series, he does indeed make his presence felt and Gaiman and his team were certainly smart to rope him in for Good Omens. After all, he’s one of the many, many enjoyable elements of the production – along with Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s bromance as the angel and demon trying to avert Armageddon – and if you haven’t checked it out already, we highly recommend you set aside some time and dive into the wacky and weird world Gaiman and Pratchett created all those years ago.