The Sandman: Neil Gaiman Reveals Michael Jackson Wanted to Star in Adaptation

Netflix recently released the first season of their live-action adaptation of DC Comics and Vertigo's The Sandman. It's the first live-action adaptation to get past the development stage, with several versions to be shelved or canceled including one that would have started Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It turns out that a major star wanted to play Morpheus back in 1996. During a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman revealed that legendary pop singer Michael Jackson called Warner Bros. and let them know that he wanted to play the character.

"By 1996, I was being taken to Warners, where the then-president of Warner Bros. sat me down and told me that Michael Jackson had phoned him the day before and asked him if he could star as Morpheus in The Sandman," Gaiman told EW. "So, there was a lot of interest in this and they knew that it was one of the Crown Jewels and what did I think? And I was like, 'Ooh.'"

Previously, Gaiman revealed while talking with Entertainment Weekly why he refused to come aboard previous Sandman projects.

"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."

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.

What would you have thought about Michael Jackson in the role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or by hitting our writer up @NateBrail on Twitter!

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