Dream Casting, Sandman Casting Call Part 1: In which I explain why I hope the Sandman movie never gets made, and then decide to assemble my dream cast anyway.

September 18th, 2010 by

Anyone I’ve ever spoken to that has read Sandman, says the same thing.  That it should never be made into a movie, because it couldn’t possibly be done right.  Yet it has been in development, at one studio or another, for at least ten years.  The reason for this is that it is a beloved property, that many consider comic books first masterpiece.  So why don’t it’s many fans (me included) want to see it filmed?

To start off with it, it is seemingly impossible to film.  The story is long, taking ten years, and seventy-five issues to tell, not including spin offs, and follow ups.  Trying to compress that into a single, or even several two hour movies, would be very difficult.  Beyond that, it is a story that jumps around in time, and space, and worlds (Faerie, other planets, heaven, hell, and most often dreams).  It often requires a strong background in history, mythology, religion, and DC comics, to fully understand.  And it sports a cast of characters that number in the hundreds, many of whom are important, to the tale as a whole, and absolutely essential to their small part of the story.  In short it is a story that has already been told, in the best way it could be.

Still in the right hands it could be done.  There could be someone out there, talented enough to simplfy that complex narrative into something satisfying, that still holds the charm and beauty of the original.  And we would all still have the comics for when we wanted the real thing.

The bigger issue in my mind, is how integral to the story, the art is.  Not just because, it being a comic, all the action is drawn, but because of how the various artists chose to interpret it.  The artist usually changed every time a new story arc started.  Which meant the characters often looked different each time you saw them.  Which gave the reader a fresh perspective on them.  Many of the characters appearance changed according to whom they were speaking to, or where they were, at any given time.  Which could get very confusing, if it was attempted on film.

The main reason I don’t want it filmed, is because I love it so much.  Anything short of brilliant would be heartbreaking.  And there is so much potential for failure.  I have often said if it was made into a movie, I’d boycott it , just to spare myself the agony of seeing what was done with something I hold so dear.  That is a lie, though.  I would absolutely see it.

Partly because I want to support, Neil Gaiman and all the artists that worked on it, by paying for a ticket, and hoping a little of the money gets back to them, after the theater, the studio, the director, the cast and crew, all get their cut.  Mainly, on the off chance, that somehow it turns out like that other beloved franchise, that people claimed was utterly unfilmable, Lord of the Rings.  Even though those films were not a direct page by page adaptation of the books, most fans agree that Peter Jackson got it right nevertheless.  And it caused many people to buy and read the books, that likely would not have otherwise.  If the Sandman movie did the same for the comics, more the better.

No, I could not resist seeing it.  Although I am totally one of those assholes, who would complain loudly afterward, if it was bad.  Actually, I doubt I could wait until the end, I would likely  jump to my feet, screaming “No! No! No!” the second the credits read, “and Jennifer Lopez* as Death.” And I would keep screaming the whole two hours, or until I was asked to leave.  I’m not proud of it, but it would happen.

I am also the type of person who loves coming up with fantasy casts, for movies that haven’t been made yet.  I seriously once stayed up most of the night, coming up with the ideal cast for a production of Pride and Prejudice, as done by a mix of humans and Muppets.

Which brings me to the point of this long winded post.  I have decided to do a series of posts, in which I pretend that by some twist of fate, I am a bigwig, hotshot casting director, who has been tasked with putting together the cast for the hypothetical Sandmam movie.  I will do individual  posts for each of the major characters, and subsequent posts will have two or three of minor characters lumped together.  We will see how far I get, before running out of steam.  I will try to avoid divulging too many details of the character’s fates, for anyone reading who has not yet read Sandman, but still may.  And if you like comics at all, I suggest giving it a try.

My pick for the person to play Morpheous, will be coming either later today or tomorrow.  I will choose my directer right now.  The only director I think could do the project justice, would actually be the combined forces of Guillermo del Toro, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, and Alfonso Cuaron.

*I actually don’t universally hate Jennifer Lopez.  She was very good in Out of Sight.  She just should under no circumstances be cast as Death.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Dream Casting, Sandman Casting Call Part 1: In which I explain why I hope the Sandman movie never gets made, and then decide to assemble my dream cast anyway.”

  1. Florence Says:

    I am rapt- can’t wait to read this series of posts!

    I wholeheartedly agree with your objections, but I also could not resist. I love the image of bring dragged out of the theater : )

  2. Eibhlinn Says:

    I love movies and I love TV as much as I love books, simply because I just love fiction, regardless of medium. So I would love to see an attempt at bringing the Sandman to the screen, even if it would represent a huge challenge.
    My opinion is that there is no way this could ever be a movie. Not even a series of movies. There’s just two much material. The world is too huge to fit. However, I do believe this could make a great TV series. And I’d trust HBO with almost any material. They would put the right care and means into it.
    What they cannot do is restitute the Sandman exactly. So what I’d like to see them do is adopt Gaiman’s world, storylines, characters and themes but visually make it entirely their own.

Leave a Reply