Neil Gaiman Reveals Why He Refused Multiple Sandman Adaptations

Ever since Neil Gaiman's Sandman began publishing as a comic book there's been talks about how they can translate it into another medium. Over the years multiple attempts at adapting the prolific (and dense) source material have come and gone and only this week as the first actual adaptation been released, Netflix's new streaming series (which is getting rave reviews). Speaking in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gaiman opened up about the times he refused previous adaptations of his comic series. In short, he did it because he knew that a bad adaptation could very well happen.

"I had refused to get involved," Gaiman said of previous adaptations, most recently one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached to both direct and star in. "I'd refused to write them; I refused to be the executive producer. I wouldn't do it because I knew that if I did, I would lose the only power that I had, which was to be able to speak out against a bad Sandman movie. Fortunately, Sandman was just too expensive for anybody to justify making. And if you're trying to make a Sandman movie, the first question is, what do you throw out? Because Sandman, by the time it was finished, is 3,000 pages of comic. So what is your movie then?"

Gaiman went on to recall some of the bad adaptations that almost happened, including a version from Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary that was over as soon as he pitched it to the heads of Warner Bros. He also spoke about a version from producer Jon Peters (of Kevin Smith's Superman movie with a giant spider fame), adding: "There was a version of the script, and I'll never forget the first line: 'A-ha, foolish mortals! As if your puny weapons could hurt me, the mighty Lord of Dreams, the Sandman!' And it got worse from there."

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Tom Sturridge leads the all-star cast for the series playing the titular character and Lord of Dreams. He stars alongside Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Asim Chaudhry as Abel, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps, David Thewlis as John Dee, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, Stephen Fry as Gilbert, Patton Oswalt as the voice of Dream's raven Matthew, .and as Dream's siblings, Mason Alexander Park as Desire and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death. The first season of the series is now streaming on Netflix.