If Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, ever makes it to the big screen, Neil Gaiman has some casting suggestions.
The Sandman writer has been talking about his creation a lot lately, thanks to the publication of a new prequel story, Sandman: Overture, with art by acclaimed Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III. At a recent DC Comics event celebrating the comic's 25th anniversary, Gaiman was again asked to discuss the long history of failed Sandman film adaptations, which range from the bizarre to the terrible to the promising but ultimately unsuccessful. There's even been talk of a TV adaptation of the beloved comic series, though we haven't heard much about it lately. Gaiman ran through the whole history of Sandman almost-on-film, and even offered a sample from one of the least successful screenplay efforts.
"On the other hand, that 1998 script, which began, his first line was, 'As if your puny weapons could harm me, the mighty lord of dreams, The Sandman,' and then he attempts to throw a punch and fly -- and falls down. And it just got worse from there," Gaiman said. "I'm glad that never got made. That could have been a Howard The Duck if it had been."
When it comes to the future of Sandman on film, though, Gaiman's come around to the idea that it's bound to happen eventually, because a filmmaker who truly loves the source material will make it happen.
"What I've been saying for the last five or ten years is that sooner or later someone is going to come along for whom The Sandman is as important as Spider-Man was to Sam Raimi, or Lord Of The Rings was to Peter Jackson," Gaiman said. "It's these people who, their point of view is, they were put on this Earth to make this thing. And they will make it. All I hope is -- I think it's inevitable, is where I'm going with this. I hope it's good."
As for who might play the mighty Dream of the Endless, Gaiman dropped two names, and if you're a fan of English actors these days, you might have been thinking of them too.
"I would absolutely watch the HBO Sandman. On the other hand, I would happily watch Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch as the Dream Lord in the movie," Gaiman said. "Or somebody else, who's yet to graduate -- as long as they've got good cheekbones!"
When you open a Sandman comic and see that eerie white text in the black word balloons of Morpheus, it's easy to think of the dialogue being read in Cumberbatch's haunting voice, but it's also easy to imagine Hiddleston putting a little mischievous twinkle in Dream's eye. What do you think? If a Sandman movie ever does happen, who'd be your pick to play Morpheus?
And if you're a Sandman fan, be sure to head over to Comic Book Resources to read their full recap of the event, including a discussion of which of Dream's siblings might yet appear in Overture.