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To celebrate its 42nd anniversary this weekend, the Forbidden Planet book store chain held a virtual convention of sorts, facilitating interviews with some of pop culture's top-leading tastemakers. Watching through the collection of digital conversations, SYFY WIRE discovered several interesting news updates from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Duncan Jones, and Simon Pegg.
Let's start with Gaiman, who discussed his hands-on involvement with Netflix's upcoming adaptation of his Sandman comic book series published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics.
"I'm an executive producer, but am really involved and working a lot," he said. "American Gods [on Starz] always wound up, for whatever reasons, with me at arm's length — often wanting to be more involved and giving notes and things, but not actually in the trenches. Pretty much off to one side with other people making it and me going, 'Well, yes' or me going, 'You know, I wouldn't have done it like that.' Sandman is not that."
While Gaiman won't be wearing all the hats as he did as showrunner for Amazon's Good Omens, he's still "working very closely" with Sandman's showrunner, Allan Heinberg, and co-executive producer David S. Goyer. "We co-wrote the pilot, and then after that it's basically been Allan working with writers and then me working with Allan on the scripts," Gaiman said. "Right now, not a day goes by that I don't see a dozen casting videos."
Due to the global health crisis, casting is taking place virtually, although the writer did say he's seen auditions for the roles of Squatterbloat, Choronzon, and Triple Goddess. "I'm loving it," he added. "I get to see these amazing actors playing the parts and putting it together. We've got a director starting, I think August the 17th, and very, very soon, we'll be shooting — assuming the world doesn't go into another lockdown or something."
Next on the docket we've got director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), who confirmed that his next movie will be an adaptation of the 2000 AD comic Rogue Trooper. Like most of the entertainment industry, Jones (who is the son of the late David Bowie) is on pause amid the pandemic.
"The project is really ready to go," he said. "Obviously, what's going on in the world, the virus has had an impact on how and when we get things shooting. We're basically trying to work out the lay of the land right now. Edgar Wright's a buddy of mine, I've been talking to him a little bit about what's getting shot where and how they're shooting things. Because they're setting up a whole bunch of new rules and things like that to try and create as safe an environment as possible."
He added that his wife is a cancer survivor and, therefore, immunocompromised.
"We need to make sure that whatever it is I do next and when I do it, I don't get sick, because I don't want to get her sick," Jones explained. "I've gotta be really, really careful. We're being maybe more cautious than most, but it's the right thing for my family. So we'll wait until we know exactly how we can do this and keep everybody safe."
"It was such a nice little touch to get in there and play Hughie's dad, who is now obviously in hiding. He's in Witness Protection," Pegg, who was the visual influence for Hughie in the comics, said. "He may come back, I'm not sure, but the whole circularity of that was another joyful event in my life."
The actor is also happy that someone (Jack Quaid, to be exact) was finally cast as Hughie. "I'm glad that he now has that mantle," Pegg said. "I can finally let it go [and] people can stop saying, 'When are you gonna play Wee Hughie?' Because that was starting to get tiring."
When asked about future projects, Pegg let slip that Truth Seekers (a "paranormal investigation comedy" series that stars himself and Nick Frost) will premiere on Amazon in October. "I think it's October," he said.
In addition, the actor is writing a secret project ("a big sort of event piece of TV") with musician Crispian Mills. "I can't wait to be able to talk about [it]. I can't yet, sadly," he added. "But as soon as it comes out, then I won't be talking about anything else. I'm cryptically working on that at the moment."
Season 2 of The Boys premieres this coming Friday, Sept. 4. The first three episodes will drop at once, while the subsequent five installments are released on a weekly basis.