It’s taken decades for Neil Gaiman’s beloved “The Sandman” graphic novels to reach screens with the release of the Netflix series over the summer. But one possible earlier version would’ve been quite different from what fans are seeing today.
According to Gaiman, Michael Jackson once pitched himself in the lead role of Morpheus (a.k.a. Dream).
“By 1996, I was being taken 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 the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “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?”
Gaiman apparently didn’t think much of it, based on the sound and cringe he offered after sharing the anecdote:
It’s not clear if Jackson pictured himself in a TV series or a film adaptation. But like most other attempts at bringing the iconic series to the screen, those discussions in the 1990s ultimately went nowhere.
That changed ― finally ― in August, when fans got their long-awaited series on Netflix featuring Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as fan-favorite Death and a cast that also includes Boyd Holbrook, Vivienne Acheampong, David Thewlis, Jenna Coleman and Gwendoline Christie.
Based on the reactions from critics and fans, it was worth the wait: “The Sandman” sports a dreamy 87 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
See more of Gaiman’s discussion with Josh Horowitz of “Happy, Sad, Confused,” including many of the other false starts on “The Sandman’s” journey to the screen, below:
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