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The Sandman premiere: Neil Gaiman reveals the secrets of the adaptation

Neil Gaiman didn’t have to do that. He could have left alone enough. 30 years after successfully stopping every “bad” attempt to adapt his bestselling Vertigo graphic novel series “The Sandman,” Gaiman could have decided to let the dreams of an adaptation of “The Sandman” die with the bestselling nightmare The Last Attempt: a feature film starring Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Warner Bros. New Line, which collapsed in 2016.

The live TV series “The Sandman”, produced by Warner Bros., has just been released. and DC Entertainment, which was ordered to premiere on Netflix in June 2019, finally on Friday. So why did Gaiman try again?

It’s the only question we can ask in many ways,” said Gaiman, executive producer and writer on the series, along with David Goyer and presenter Alan Heinberg (“Grey’s Anatomy”). “And curiously, when David Goyer, Alan and I sat down to dinner together, the night before this was shown on Netflix and the World, that was our question. Why are we doing this? And why are we doing this now? Especially for me, three decades after ‘Sandman’ adaptations were banned.” By hook or by crook, by fair or foul means, I’ve banned and suspended many bad ‘Sandman’ movies. Go and Google Ain’t It Cool News text description of Jon Peters’ version of ‘Sandman’ [developed in 1996]and, on page five, Morpheus says to the police coming to arrest him, “As if your emaciated weapons could hurt me, great lord of dreams, hypnotist.” And it gets worse from there.”

Tom Sturridge as the dreamer in “The Sandman”
Courtesy of NETFLIX

In his extended analysis of why he decided to reawaken the idea with the 10-episode first season of Netflix’s “The Sandman,” which follows his first two (out of 10) graphic novels about the adventures of Dream (Tom Sturridge), aka Morpheus, aka In the name of The Sandman, Gaiman—the author of other beloved titles like “American Gods” and “Good Omens,” which have also been adapted for Starz and Amazon, respectively—provided an in-depth 3D answer, which we’ve included in full here:

For me, I’d go in part, and it’s going to happen. A “hypnotic” adaptation will occur. If you look at the backbone of DC Comics’ giant Taschen history, he weighed about 15 pounds, and on the side are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Morpheus, Sandman, their faces staring at you. And everyone knew that this was the unadapted crown jewel. And 30 years later, “Sandman” is perhaps at this point the only best-selling series of graphic novels ever published in the United States. You know it will happen. So in part, it’s an acceptance that, well, if it’s going to happen, why not make it good?

“Sandman” as a graphic novel series, as a cartoon, I had to say things to the world that I believed in. It was stuff about inclusivity. They were things about humanity. There were things about humanity in common. There were things about dreams and things about death. There were words of condolence and there were words of warning. And at the time when I said it, it was important and it felt right and I felt right to say it; Including, you have your story and your story is important, including, you will get a lifetime. And these are the things I wanted to say. And I don’t feel that any of these things are any less important or less relevant now. And in fact, in the kind of weird world where I feel sometimes people are splitting up and forming into smaller and smaller groups and coming closer and seeing anyone on the other side as the enemy, that people need to be reminded that standing next to them is a person with a thousand worlds and every world is a door and through Every door is somewhere you’ve never dreamed of before. And people are cooler under the surface than you can imagine. And I wanted to remind people of that.

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Vivian Achempong as Lucien in The Sandman
Lawrence Senderwich/Netflix

And the third thing after that, which is, after I made a ‘good omen’, I felt like I knew how to do it. When American Gods was made, I was an executive producer, which meant I had to provide feedback – which was ignored. But that’s fine. I was so part of the thing that after I made a ‘good omen’, I suddenly felt like I was no longer a bullshit. I’ve already done it, I’ve done this. So when I say to people, “Can we do this?” And they’d say, “No, we can’t do that. It’s going to cost a lot of money.” I’ll say, “No, no, no. I did it. I really know all we need is a wall for that to happen.” So knowing that I had the skill set to direct and work with this thing, and that I wouldn’t be afraid, but I really loved doing it, was also the other part of that for me.

Towards the end of Gaiman’s decades-long battle against bad adaptations of “The Sandman,” the “Batman Begins” and “Foundation” writer became interested in trying what he hoped would be the only non-bad version in Gaiman’s (and fans’) eyes. To reduce the risk, Goyer insisted on Warner Bros. Gaiman to be an active producer and co-writer on the pilot.

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Gwendolyn Christie as Lucifer Morningstar in The Sandman
Lawrence Senderwich/Netflix

Sources say Goyer was also adamant that “The Sleeping Man” would not be “overwhelmed” and that it “remains weird”, and both Goyer and Gaiman have rejected any attempts to make it a “formula”. Finally, in June 2019, Goyer and Gaiman’s dream became a reality and Warner Bros. In search of a show director to handle the day-to-day organization and execution of a TV series adaptation of “The Sandman”. Enter Shondaland alum Heinberg.

“It was a very strange circumstance. Timing was everything with this,” Heinberg said. “My three-year contract with ABC Studios was expiring the moment I was meeting with Warner Bros. about the possibility of doing something with them. And every time I’ve met them over the past 25 years, I’ve always been asked, ‘When are you doing ‘The Sandman’? And at that moment they said, ‘We’re actually taking her out to the signs with Neil and David. Do you know David Goyer? And I said, ‘Yes, I’ve known David Goyer for years.’ Does David write it? And they said, “No, David is the executive producer, but he’s doing the ‘inception’ job.” We’re actually looking for a writer. We all looked at each other and Susan Rovner said, “Let me get back to you.” By the time I got into my car, David Goyer was calling B on my cell phone saying, “Are you kidding me?” And I said, “Listen, if you and Neil already have a plan and you don’t want me to do it…” And David said, “Damn you, you do this. I call Neil. And that’s what happened.”

But Heinberg wasn’t actually on the plane right away because in his words, he didn’t “want to be the man who destroyed the Sandman.”

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Boyd Holbrook as Corinthian in The Sandman
Liam Daniel / Netflix

“[I told Goyer,] If Neil wanted to make a plate-by-plate version of this, I don’t know how to do it. I’ve been working with Shonda Rhimes for the past 15 years. I write relationship drama. “It will take some adaptation,” Heinberg said. “And David said, ‘Yes, and that’s why we need You are. And Neil knows it. And you’ll see when you guys talk. And sure enough, in that first meeting, Neil brought up the big problem, which was, ‘Well, our captain is naked and silent and in a cage to the whole pilot. What are we going to do about the public falling in love with him? “And I said, OK, he got it. Here’s the big problem and he really wants to solve it at our first dinner. And then 24 hours later, we’d put it on broadcasts.”

Pause, as Gaiman has an entry here that industry insiders are likely to find amusing: “Actually, because you diverse, I’ll footnote here: Alan tells people, and I tell people, because it’s a lot easier that way to say, “And 24 hours later, we were promoting.” this is not true. Dinner was on a Friday night. The stadium was Monday morning. However, during Saturday and then Sunday, something impossible happened, which was Alan’s contract [with Warner Bros.] It was written, agreed upon and signed. just because you diverseJust because you understand that the true art form of Hollywood is the contract, I want to tell you that the impossible has been done. The contract was signed before Alan came to the meeting on Monday morning.”

After “Neil Gaiman’s strength pushed her through,” according to Heinberg, it’s time to step up. The winning bidder in what sources say was an expensive auction was Netflix – a streaming device filled with “The Sandman” fans who were more than willing to take on the challenge of becoming the home of the long-awaited “The Sandman.” Sandman adaptation.

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Jenna Coleman as Joanna Constantin and Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman
Liam Daniel / Netflix

“It came from Warner Brothers and DC several years ago. I was running the genre team at the time,” said Peter Friedlander, president of the US and Canada series. [now CEO of Warner Bros. TV Studios] Here he was supervising the drama team. And I remember well when we got a call about “Sandman” and I had other people on my team who were just die-hard IP fans and had posters on their character wall like Death. So when the call came in, it was real excitement, people jumped at the opportunity. We actually went to Warner to hear the presentation from Neil Gaiman, David Goyer, Allan Heinberg and the whole team there. It was a very special show. I think we all knew this was something we’d be glad to have on Netflix. And I’ve heard of various modifications over the years, “It’s going to be made, right?” And I felt the timing was finally right. The way they wanted to tell the story, I really think the technology was in place where they could use visual effects to tell the story they wanted through the medium. The stars have finally aligned to bring ‘Sandman’ to the masses in this way.”

What happened next was three years of writing, casting, filming and editing for the large-scale series, which alongside Sturridge stars Gwendolyn Christie as Lucifer, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven, and Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Jenna Coleman as Joanna Constantin, David Thewlis as John Dee, Kirby Howell Baptiste as Sister of Death’s Dream and Mason Alexander Park as Death’s Brother, Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead. If you know you know – and if you don’t, don’t worry, because the “The Sandman” team is very excited to introduce you to these characters and this world as Gaiman built it, while maintaining the core identity of the comics.

(Pictured above: Tom Sturridge as Dream and Kirby Hoyle Baptiste as Death in Netflix’s The Sandman.)

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