Neil Gaiman needed to approve of this part of Tom Sturridge’s performance

For years, attempts have been made to adapt Neil Gaiman’s comic book series “The Sandman” for film and television and now, more than 30 years later, the 75-issue story is seeing the screen in the Netflix series. The Sandmanstarring Tom Sturridge.

The Sandman It begins in The Dreaming, ruled by The Sandman, the Master of Dreams, or Morpheus, (Tom Sturridge). But when Dream is captured and imprisoned for a century, followed by his raven Jessamy’s captors, that event impacts both the dream world and the waking world. Eventually, Dream escapes, but three items related to his magical powers, his ruby, his sand, and his helm, are stolen from him, which he needs to retrieve to repair the damage that occurred as a result of his capture.

Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman episode 101.  (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman episode 101. (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Gaiman himself has stated that since the launch of the comic series, he has been trying to prevent “bad” adaptations of his work from happening, but when it comes to this approach, in which he also serves as producer and writer, everyone they were on the same page in terms of staying true to the comic, but with a few unexpected departures to keep original fans on their toes.

“I remember when [Allan Heinberg] Y [David S. Goyer] and I sat down, …before we got together to break down the whole series, one of the things we talked about was the fact that on the one hand we really wanted it to be faithful, …’The Sandman’, the fans they had to see it and say, ‘this is Sandman,'” said Neil Gaiman sadly. Yahoo Canada. “But on the other hand, we wanted to give them a reason to watch and we wanted them to have things that they didn’t know how they were going to turn out.”

“We wanted things where the plot could change a little bit between the version in the comics and the version they were going to see on screen to keep them on their toes.”

That was a huge departure from what showrunner Allan Heinberg thought Gaiman’s approach to the project would be when they first met (technically, they met for the second time, after Gaiman signed a comic for Heinberg at a 1996 signing).

“I thought, oh, Neil is going to want to be very protective and do the book as it was written, and… it just wasn’t going to work to do a shot-by-shot, frame-by-frame execution of this thing,” Heinberg said. “I remember immediately talking about the challenge of having your lead be naked, mute, and in a cage for an entire episode, and how we build the audience’s affection for him.”

“At that first dinner we talked about Jessamy as a way to see Dream connect with another creature in his world and Neil was so into the idea and very supportive and we all agreed, oh the fans are going to love it. . this… Suddenly it became very easy and clear that we had the same mission, which was to tell the true heart of the story and to surprise and delight the fans who know it by heart.”

Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman episode 101.  (Courtesy of Netflix)

Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman episode 101. (Courtesy of Netflix)

“I wanted to be able to continue telling a story with my body when I couldn’t speak”

For Tom Sturridge, the fact that Dream is nude and captured, without any dialogue for much of the beginning of the series, emphasized the importance of establishing and embodying the character’s physicality.

“Physicality was so important to me, I was so aware that for the first 45 minutes of the audience experience with him, he would be silent and naked,” Sturridge told Yahoo Canada. “I wanted you to think of him as someone who has been metabolizing dreams for so long that the flesh of him is just gone, and he is just bone and sinew.”

“It was really important to me to find a way to create that with my body, which essentially just takes time, and I had enough time to do it, and then just economy of expression, because I still wanted to be able to tell a story with my body. when I couldn’t speak. So it was really about drawing a line through that section of imprisonment, to decide the power of [looking] into someone’s eyes for the first time, or moving for the first time, or standing up for the first time, and just finding ways to create meaning and movement.”

(L to R) Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, Tom Sturridge as Dream, Cassie Clare as Mazikeen in The Sandman episode 104.  (Courtesy of Netflix)

(L to R) Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, Tom Sturridge as Dream, Cassie Clare as Mazikeen in The Sandman episode 104. (Courtesy of Netflix)

The only aspect of Morpheus creator Neil Gaiman needed to sign

While physicality is an aspect of Dream, when he speaks, the Morpheus dialogue you hear is unlike any other character created.

“[Tom] he was the only one who could say the dialogue and absolutely make you believe,” said Neil Gaiman. “It’s a bit archaic, it’s very formal, it’s always planned in advance as if he’s thought about what he’s going to say.”

“The one thing I would always like to see and approve of, and occasionally change a little bit of, would be Morpheus’ dialogue, because it has very specific rhythms… It doesn’t necessarily come easily to the writers.”

For Tom Sturridge, that was advice he got from Gaiman that really helped him in executing this dialogue.

“What I had with me was advice that Neil gave me, which was that Morpheus has all the thoughts that one could conceive, because he has been around for millennia and therefore when he speaks, he never discovers anything in the moment,” Sturridge revealed. . “He must speak as if he were set in stone, he knows exactly what he is going to say and he has a fearsome clarity.”

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne in The Sandman episode 109.  (Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix)

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne in The Sandman episode 109. (Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix)

Meeting the characters of ‘The Sandman’

While Tom Sturridge certainly guides us through this fantasy world, The Sandman it’s absolutely a cast of characters that really brings out the philosophical and existential questions that run throughout the narrative.

One such character is Lucienne, played by Vivienne Acheampong, head librarian and guardian of The Dreaming, and essentially Dream’s right-hand woman, who is often more trusted by the inhabitants of The Dreaming than the Master of Dreams himself.

“I think what I love about Lucienne is that she’s so compassionate, she’s so loyal, she works hard and takes a step back, takes things in and then says what she has to say,” Acheampong said. Yahoo Canada. “I think she is very protective of The Dreaming, she is very protective of Morpheus, she respects him, she understands that he has a great responsibility on his shoulders, he has all our dreams inside him, all our fears, our thoughts. , our passions, desire for everything, and that is a lot.”

“There is no other character, no other being other than Lucanne, who has spent more time with Dream and if they spend millennia together, they forge something extraordinary,” added Tom Sturridge. “But because they have a hierarchy of their positions, there’s a level of formality and that love has to simmer underneath that.”

Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian in The Sandman episode 102.  (Courtesy of Netflix)

Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian in The Sandman episode 102. (Courtesy of Netflix)

While Dream was captured, the nightmare The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) escapes to the waking world, leaving murder in his wake, proving to be a challenge for Dream.

“As scary as it was, the very concept of playing and embodying a character that would feed and feast on your eyeballs, it was so fascinating to me,” said Holbrook.

Mason Alexander Park as Desire in episode 106 of The Sandman.  (Courtesy of Netflix)

Mason Alexander Park as Desire in episode 106 of The Sandman. (Courtesy of Netflix)

For Mason Alexander Park, who plays Dream’s brother Desire, they tweeted directly at Neil Gaiman to ask who was casting. The Sandmanwanting to be part of this project, in this part in particular.

“Desire is a very attractive individual, on every level, from the aesthetics to the way they are incorporated into the story and act as a foil to Dream,” said Park. “Someone who is deeply loving and deeply complicated, I think Desire, of all the Endless, changes and changes probably the most, as does the concept itself in our own lives.”

“There was something about that malleability and full three-dimensionality that really excited me as an actor, because the colors that I get to paint with over the course of this series are probably more vibrant than any other role I’ve ever had. chance to play… Just reading it, even from a fan’s perspective, but from an actor’s perspective, you just go, ‘Ah, this would be a really delicious and juicy part to bite into.'”

It is certainly understandable that the story of “The Sandman” has proved a challenge for film and television producers to translate to the screen, with its extensive canon of characters and plot complexity. While those who are less familiar with the story will have many doubts, The Sandman it certainly still works on its own to wrap you up in this horrific, mythical world, while letting those larger emotional elements and questions about humanity breathe throughout the story.

The story of “The Sandman” is incredibly beloved and historically highly protected, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let this Netflix adaptation have its own space to expand on that grand narrative. At the very least, it will make you rush to read or reread the comics.

Leave a Comment