How We Would Cast a Neil Gaiman Biopic

Let’s pretend that a biopic of Neil Gaiman’s life is going to be made. It won’t really, at least as far as we know. But it kind of should be, don’t you think? Something tasteful, somewhat metafictional, possibly titled The Dream King?

We think we know who would be perfect for the role of Neil Himself, Amanda Palmer, and select others. Help us fill out the cast and suggest your own!

Benedict Cumberbatch as Young Neil Gaiman

In our biopic, Neil Gaiman can’t possibly be played by just one actor. Who will depict Neil in his scrappy, music-journalist-burgeoning-comics-writer years? Benedict Cumberbatch is the only mop-haired Brit we could think of who could pull off a hungry, somewhat gothed-out young Gaiman. Who solves mysteries.

Alan Rickman as Older Neil Gaiman

Alan Rickman would play Neil Gaiman as he is now (wigs and Snape make-up handy) and, perhaps, as he is in the decades to come. (One could go silver far less prettily than Alan Rickman has.)

Just because this is a biopic doesn’t mean it has to be 100% accurate. We eagerly await the inevitable time travel team-up between Alan Rickman and Benedict Cumberbatch as they try to recover a manuscript stolen by Todd McFarlane.

Zach Galifianakis as Harlan Ellison

If you’ve seen the Harlan Ellison documentary Dreams With Sharp Teeth then you know Gaiman is good buddies with Ellison. If we want to portray Ellison as fun, angry buddy/sidekick to Neil Gaiman, what better person than Zach Galifianakis? He wouldn’t necessarily have a huge role, but because of the source material and the chops of the actor, Ellison/Galifianakis’s role would certainly be made larger than life for comic effect. We’re not saying there would be a plotline similar to The Hangover, though worse things could happen than a bro-comedy featuring just Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman in Vegas. Even if it’s made up.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Tori Amos

Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman can often be found crossing over into each other’s work. Whether it’s Tori as Delirium in Sandman or Neil getting name-checked in a couple of her songs, the two obviously have an interesting creative back-and-forth. We think Bryce Dallas Howard would be perfect to take Tori’s role, perhaps with some audio replacement by Tori Herself should Bryce need some help with any musical performances within the film. And Tori would unquestionably have to go on the soundtrack, along with…

Amanda Palmer as Amanda Palmer

There really isn’t anyone else who could embody this role other than the Actual Amanda Palmer; she’s too much of a performance presence. We also imagine her narrating the movie with her ukelele and voice, in a manner similar to Glenn Yarbrough in the animated Hobbit movie.

We’ll stop there, even though there are so many more people to cast! What of Terry Pratchett and Dave McKean? What of his long time agent Merrilee Heifetz? Or Vertigo Comics editor Karen Berger? Or Alan Moore? How many actual science fiction/fantasy writer cameos could one squeeze in? How many fictional character cameos could one squeeze in? Who could even play Morpheus?

Chime in below with your own ideas! And remember, this is all in good fun.

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Stubby would have a cameo as the magic living rocket that secretly inspired Neil Gaiman to become a writer.


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