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WIRE Buzz: Sandman audio drama dreams up James McAvoy-led cast; Alex Rider novels spy Amazon series

By Josh Weiss
James McAvoy Sandman

Audible has announced the cast for its upcoming audio drama adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics and the voice ensemble is — ahem — the stuff that dreams are made of.

James McAvoy (Dark Phoenix) is leading the pack as Dream, the story's titular character who belongs to a race of god-like entities known as "The Endless," who oversee different aspects of human existence. After being trapped by an occultist for seven decades, Dream escapes and embarks on a journey to reclaim his once-great kingdom of sleep.

Riz Ahmed (The Corinthian), Justin Vivian Bond (Desire), Arthur Darvill (William Shakespeare), Kat Dennings (Death), Taron Egerton (John Constantine), William Hope (Doctor Destiny), Josie Lawrence, Miriam Margolyes (Despair), Samantha Morton (Urania Blackwell), Bebe Neuwirth (The Siamese Cat), Andy Serkis (Matthew the Raven), and Michael Sheen (Lucifer) co-star. Naturally, Gaiman is taking up the role of narrator. For the entire cast list, click here.

Sandman Audible cast

"A truly exceptional cast of artists will be bringing this cultural phenomenon to life. We are honored to be working alongside Neil Gaiman and DC to create a truly immersive adaptation that we know fans and listeners will love," David Blum, Editor-in-Chief of Audible Originals said in a statement.

McAvoy and Sheen are both Gaiman vets. The former voiced Richard Mayhew in a radio adaptation of Neverwhere, while the former played Aziraphale in Amazon's Good Omens miniseries.

The first entry in the multi-part audio drama premieres Wednesday, July 15. It adapts the volumes 1-3 of the original graphic novels published by Vertigo: Preludes & NocturnesThe Doll’s House, and Dream Country.

Following in the footsteps of the Czech Republic and New Zealand, the United Kingdom is now ready to resume film and television productions within its borders, Deadline reports.

This, of course, is huge news for productions like The Batman, Season 2 of The Witcher, and Disney's live-action Little Mermaid remake. All of these projects (and more) were put on indefinite hold once the pandemic shut everything down back in March. No word yet on when they might restart shooting, but as the U.K. eases restrictions, they could soon be allowed to return if they choose to do so.

The Batman

“The government is working closely with the screen sector to understand how different types of productions can comply with social distancing guidelines, and give confidence to people in the TV and film industries that there are safe ways in which they can return to work," a spokesperson for the country's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement to Deadline.

Of course, strict measures must be taken like mandatory "coronavirus safety training" before any shooting takes place, as well as the hiring of a COVID-19 supervisor "who has the authority to stop work if it becomes unsafe." For the full list of the U.K.'s coronavirus safety guidelines, click here.

Amazon is getting into the spy game, having purchased the UK rights to Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novels, Deadline has also confirmed.

The acquisition includes Guy Burt's television adaptation, which stars Otto Farrant as the titular about a boy who becomes embroiled in the world of espionage after learning that his uncle was a spy for the British government. Amazon will debut the first eight-episode season Thursday, June 4.

“We know that there is huge anticipation for this TV series imagining of an iconic book franchise, so we’re delighted to have secured this show exclusively for Prime members in the UK," Chris Bird, head of Amazon content in the EU, said in a statement published by Deadline.

“At a time when the world is looking for heroes, who better to come to our aid than Alex Rider?” added Wayne Garvie, Sony Pictures Television’s president of international production.

There's no word on when American audiences will get to see the show.