Thu
Sep 2 2010 11:14am

Warner Bros Making an Attempt at Sandman TV Series

The Heat Vision column over at The Hollywood Reporter reported late yesterday that Warner Bros. is in discussions with its subsidiary company, DC Entertainment to obtain television rights to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic series.

From the article:

Up until a few months ago, DC was in talks with HBO and James Mangold to develop a show minus WBTV’s involvement, but that never coalesced.

Gaiman was not officially involved with the HBO attempt, though he and Mangold held several rounds of talks surrounding characters and story. The author is not involved in the new developments, though since it is early in the process, that may change. In fact, securing Gaiman will prove key for the project to go forward.

io9 reports on the story (along with past efforts to bring the comic to the screen) and offers one simple caveat to a Sandman TV series: Not Without Neil. A sentiment that fans of the comic series would undoubtedly support. (Neil himself has not yet commented.)

Even given the expanded format of a television series, one wonders how Sandman would be handled. The level of detail in the comics is staggering and the structure of the story and art is very deliberate. (Here’s a short primer regarding that.) Duplicating that structure for the screen would be a tremendous task.

Would the entire series be covered? Or would producers pick and choose storylines to fit, say, five to seven seasons? Who would be ageless yet charismatic enough to play Morpheus? What about Death?

A TV series for Sandman, if done right, would be a defining epic for television. The Heat Vision article reports that high on the wish list of potential producers for the series is Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. Would he be able to pull it off? If not him, then who?

29 comments
NormanM
1. NormanM
"Who would be ageless yet charismatic enough to play Morpheus?"

They'd have to be drawing from the same talent pool as Doctor Who, wouldn't they? Actually, thinking about the technical details in terms of Doctor Who makes me less skeptical that they could pull it off, although it will still be a tremendous task.
Matthew B
2. MatthewB
While i love Neil Gaiman's work in both comics and prose, i am less enamored of the movie and tv adaptations that he has been involved in.

My rallying cry for Sandman on TV? Not without Joss!
natalie wilkie
3. tesla314
"ageless yet charismatic"?

Sounds like an excellent characterisation of Bowie, to me.

Being Dream would make a nice bookend to King Jareth.
Chris Greenland
4. greenland
@tesla314. YES. I propose that mankind invent the time machine for the purpose of bringing 70s era Bowie to the present to play Sandman. (Then we can do other cool time stuff. But BOWIE FIRST.)
Roland of Gilead
5. pKp
Also, Sean Penn :
http://whythatsdelightful.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/i-hope-this-film-is-a-comedy-sean-penn/

And Neil is off the Net for the next two weeks, according to his Twitter, so it's not really surprising that we haven't heard about his.
Marcus W
6. toryx
If it's not going to a cable network like HBO or Showtime, I'm not going to watch it. I think Kripke would be a good choice, but I don't want to see what would come out if it was released on a standard network.
NormanM
7. kaeldra
Christina Ricci as Death! She's got that cute heart shaped face and I think fits the genre.
NormanM
8. threeoutside
I think Bowie's definitely Lucifer, sorry.

And I think there should be several actors portraying Dream, just as he changed aspects in the comic series.
Rikka Cordin
11. Rikka
I don't know that someone trying to keep this to a PG-13 rating would do it any justice.... and I shudder thinking of Scyfy-level special effects being applied to our beloved Dream. "Not without Neil" is definitely my rallying cry.
NormanM
12. kluelos
I really don't think Ricci has the chops to play Death. If she does, she hasn't shown them. It's a very complex character and doing an acceptable job surely won't be easy. I also doubt Ricci would stick with the part.

Bowie could do dream, but he could do a lot of characters too, so he might be best kept in reserve until it's decided what story they're going to film. He'd make a fantastic Corinthian, and I think he'd excel as Cain, too.

Much as I like the idea at first, Tennant doesn't really have the gravitas to bring off brooding, solitary, kenigmatic Dream.
Sean McGuire
13. Exorian
Unfortunately, this will never last as a TV show in America. The books are simply too surreal and bizarre in nature to make into a TV show that anyone who isn't a Sandman fan would watch. I mean, I love the Sandman; it's one of my favorite comic series of all time. I'm just afraid this will go the Firefly route if it actually gets made.
Jeff Hentosz
14. Hentosz
What threeoutside @8 said. Lots of actors should play/voice Endless characters. And the episodes should be directed by different people in different styles: filmed, staged and taped, animated -- 2D, CGI , stop motion. I think that's the only way to capture the spirit of the series. And yes, only on premium cable -- unless it's destined to be the first blockbuster web-first series :-D.
NormanM
15. Joseph Crow
Given what Kripke did to Supernatural in the last few seasons, I don't think I want him anywhere near Sandman.
Bruce Cohen
16. SpeakerToManagers
I thought the use of different drawing styles for Dream in different parts of the dramatic arc of the comic was very effective; the same effect could be gotten on TV by using different actors. I see Dream as morphing (sometimes several times in an episode) between young and old, slim and buff (though never stout, I think), the only constants would be dark hair, pale skin, and a voice with the kind of presence that explains the font they lettered his dialog with. Some of the possibilities are: Johnny Depp, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Jude Law, and (I know you'll think I'm nuts for this one) Alan Tudyk.
Bruce Cohen
16. SpeakerToManagers
I thought the use of different drawing styles for Dream in different parts of the dramatic arc of the comic was very effective; the same effect could be gotten on TV by using different actors. I see Dream as morphing (sometimes several times in an episode) between young and old, slim and buff (though never stout, I think), the only constants would be dark hair, pale skin, and a voice with the kind of presence that explains the font they lettered his dialog with. Some of the possibilities are: Johnny Depp, Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Jude Law, and (I know you'll think I'm nuts for this one) Alan Tudyk.
Ashe Armstrong
17. AsheSaoirse
Not even WITH Neil. This is a horrible idea. The Sandman isn't a property that would transfer well to the big or small screens, ever. It's just not. There's too much going on, too many locations that would get butchered in CG, etc. etc. More Sandman should come in a continuation of the series either moving forward or going into Dream's past.
Brit Mandelo
18. BritMandelo
As much as I love Sandman, I winced when I saw this. Just--no. How about a Preacher series, or something, but not Sandman. It's too tied to its existence as literature, literary references, the art itself, all of these very comic-only pieces that I don't see as translatable to the screen. (And definitely not in a show that's considered "watchable" for the average TV audience. Sandman is dense as all hell.)

Agree with @Joseph Crow also. Kripke murdered the last bit of Supernatural so badly that I had to stop watching it, despite the fact that I never expected a whole lot of coherency from, well, Supernatural. That's saying something.
NormanM
19. myst44
i could see jessica alba as death, just because they have similar appearances, and she has enough charm yet subtle or firey when necessary to carry the character.

as for morpheus.. i can only imagine neil gaiman as Dream... i mean who else has that messy hair.
NormanM
20. myst44
i could see jessica alba as death, just because they have similar appearances, and she has enough charm yet subtle or firey when necessary to carry the character.

as for morpheus.. i can only imagine neil gaiman as Dream... i mean who else has that messy hair.
NormanM
21. NatWu
I love Sandman. Didn't get to read it as it was released, but I got all the graphic novels later, plus the Death books. I got the Absolute Sandman as well. I even got the Lucifer series based on that character from the series written by Mike Carey (which, by the way, is an incredibly good series in my opinion). And I don't want to see this on TV. Especially not network TV. And I doubt any kind of live-action could do it justice. Maybe if it was animated, but that might not work either. So, my vote is no. And as for Bowie, no.
Geoff Mulder
22. MONOLITH
Hi Greenland, i second that motion to build a time machine - not for bowie but for JIM MORRISON!! I dont know if he ever actually acted, but he also looks the part and did bowie ever actually "act"...?
Madeline Matz
23. mcmatz
Ellen Page as Death.
She has the right look and acting chops to spare.
If he were decades younger, I'd say Jeremy Irons for Dream, but I like the idea of having different actors and directors.
Maybe have one director film an opening segment for each episode a la the Dave McKean covers.
Please don't anyone say Johnny Depp for Dream.
Ashe Armstrong
24. AsheSaoirse
I'm pretty sure Ellen Page would look utterly horrific as Death and the thought of her playing Death fills me with something akin to vomit. And I swear to god, if anyone says Depp for Dream, I will pray to every forgotten god ever and pray for them to rain down death and hatred upon your face.
NormanM
25. Kushiel
This is heresy, I realize, but an objection to this comic series I've held since 1990 or so is that nearly every storyline built ominously to an enormous anticlimax. "Season of the mists' actually made me angry. Slavish devotion to the books in a television series would magnify this problem quantumly.
Ashe Armstrong
26. AsheSaoirse
@Kushiel
That was always kinda the point of Sandman, though. It wasn't meant to be like everything else and to me, the climax was perfectly inline with what to expect from the world you were dealing with. Especially in Seasons of Mist.
NormanM
27. Mest-up
Neil Gaiman is underwriting Scientology. The Scientologists list Neil Gaiman in the Cornerstone Newsletter along with Mary Gaiman, as contributing $35,000.00 in 2009. Being listed in the Cornerstone Newsletter means you are in good-standing with the cult. In 2010, Mary Gaiman was awarded the "Gold Humanitarian Award" for her contribution of $500,000.00 to Scientology. This is significant because Mary Gaiman continues to be Neil Gaiman’s business partner in The Blank Corporation, which is now Neil Gaiman's Scientology front and how he pays the cult. Gaiman is also the "Vitamin Heir" of Scientology. The Gaiman family owns G&G Vitamins which reaps 6 million a year from selling The Purification Rundown Vitamins. Gaiman's two sisters, Claire Edwards and Lizzie Calciole are not just high-ranking Scientologists, they are the head of RECRUITING and the head of Wealden House, the Scientology stronghold in East Grinstead. These two cannot associate with Neil unless he is in good standing.
NormanM
28. Kushiel
You're not implying that this is going to be like 'Battlefield Earth', are you?
NormanM
30. Geoffrey Mulder
A scientologist! Well, that puts a damper on things...

Ps: Depp for Death!
No, I promise I really am joking

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