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SYFY WIRE The Sandman

WIRE Buzz: Netflix's Sandman shooting; Eva Longoria boards Timur Bekmambetov sci-fi; Batman

By Jacob Oller
Neil Gaiman

The Sandman series adaptation on its way to Netflix has had fans on the edge of their seats as they wait for a first look at the ambitious, delayed project. Now they've gotten the first in what is sure to be a series of positive announcements: production has begun on the show in the U.K. And this isn't from some no-name source, it's from the source author himself, Neil Gaiman.

Gaiman, posting about the adaptation of his beloved comic documenting the interconnected adventures of Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman, gave fans an inside look at the production process in two tweets — one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Take a look:

"I'm just about to watch the first day's 'dailies' from Sandman, and realised that the people reading Sandman now are the last ones to get to read it in a world where there's been no Sandman adaptation, where you can't see it on a screen," the author wrote. "I heard the groaning hinges of the world."

The key element here is that Gaiman is actually getting a look at the first time his Sandman work has been adaptated to the screen thanks to enough production work being done for daily footage to be sent his way. Clarifying, Gaiman wrote that, "Oh, we started shooting on Thursday [October 15]. Dr John Hathaway has brought a book from the museum in which he works, to Roderick Burgess."

A small nod to the plot's instigating factor before doubling down on a promise: fans will get some solid casting information soon from the highly-anticipated Netflix series.

Next, the man behind films like Unfriended is getting back in the genre mix with an ambitious untitled sci-fi film — and the cast list is getting more exciting by the day.

Deadline reports that Timur Bekmambetov is producing a new film "in the vein of District 9" dealing with privacy issues through a sci-fi lens. Now Eva Longoria and Ice Cube have joined the cast, and the film will be directed by Rich Lee. The film has a script from Kenneth Golde. Aside from these details, the plot is still a closely kept secret — though it's a Universal project greenlit after Bekmambetov signed a package deal with the studio this summer.

The production, which is set to start this month, looks to be fully remote: actors and crew all work separately, keeping costs low and COVID-19 at bay. How that will actually look and work remains to be seen, but fans should see it sooner rather than later.

Finally, The Batman and Baby Yoda will end up having something in common...besides driving genre fans wild.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Reeves' upcoming Batman film is using some of the same VFX production techniques as Disney+'s Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. That live-action show works with an LED wall that can adjust effects in real-time during filming, effectively creating realistic effect-driven backgrounds without post-production CGI. The Batman DP Greig Fraser is a Mando vet and also shot Rogue One, so he's used to some of this cutting-edge tech from Industrial Light & Magic.

For their Bruce Wayne story, the production had an LED wall built around practical sets so that virtual production could be done in certain scenes - presumably using the same Unreal engine tech used by Mando and The Lion King. Perhaps the Gotham cityscape, a terrifying hideout, or another location where the surroundings need to be big and flashy would benefit from this technique, though ILM chief creative officer Rob Bredow wasn't divulging specifics.

Fans will just need to wait until The Batman hits theaters on March 4, 2022.