Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Fan Casting for the Black Nerd when Mutants aren’t Enough

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Some of us Blerds had our proverbial wigs pushed back a few months ago when author extraordinaire Neil Gaiman casually leaked his excitement about the progress my longtime Bae Joseph Gordon-Levitt and BAFTA-Award winning screenwriter Jack Thorne (Skins, The Scouting Book for Boys) were making on the film adaptation of Gaiman’s classic DC/Vertigo comic series, The Sandman. Not a whole heck of a lot is known about their plans thus far, but a lot of us have been working this out in our heads since AOL chat rooms and 8 ball jackets.

JGL? For your consideration…

The Endless

Dream (Morpheus): Matt Smith

The Doctor of Dreams and Fezzes.
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Honorable Mentions: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Whishaw
Key words here? DEM FEELS. Go with me on this, y’all. Morpheus is more powerful than any god and the king of dreams and imagination. Having been imprisoned for decades, newly freed Dream is suddenly introspective and tackling the guilt that comes along with having a rather douchey past. He’s sullen, self-obsessed, petty, and TRYING. We already know Smith looks great with ample amounts of floppy hair, but it’s the ability to capture the same sense of tortured atonement that Dream struggles with (as well as a quick and brutal temper) that seals the deal for me. And yes, of course JGL is a very, VERY close second.

Death: Tatiana Maslany

Don't piss her off.
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Honorable Mentions: Natalie Portman & Rosario Dawson
It’s important to remember that while Death is…well…Death…she’s not frightening. She’s perky, she’s witty, and she’s likable. Manslany (Orphan Black) has proved time and time again that she’s capable of both the cheer and layered emotional complexities necessary to pull off this role, not to mention how amazing she looks in smudged black eyeliner.

Delirium: Mia Wasikowska

Shhhh...listen to the colors.
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Honorable Mentions: Karen Gillan, Saoirse Ronan, Elle Fanning
Listen, Delirium (formally Delight) isn’t “crazy”. She’s purposefully detached. She is arguably the wisest of The Endless despite being the youngest, and she knows things that even Destiny doesn’t. Any actress who brings Delirium to life has to be able to tip toe that fine line between “Squirrel!” and “I’m not paying attention to this conversation because I already know what’s going to happen and no one here is going to like it.”

Desire: (Tie) Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, Neil Patrick Harris, Jordan Gavaris
Despair: Fairuza Balk
Honorable Mention: Gwendoline Christie

Just so we're clear, Desire is Prince.
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Ouch...
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Okay, so casting the twins was difficult. In Despair’s case, Fairuza has -always- been my top choice, but Christie (GoT‘s Brienne of Tarth) does such a tremendous job of carrying herself like a walking apology that I’m willing to entertain her as a pretty legit alternative. With Desire, it’s straight up impossible to cast only one person because in my head they would be played by a different actor/actress in every scene. The role requires equal parts nuance and androgyny, which is why Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller immediately came to mind. Neil Patrick-Harris has the chops AND the legs, and Orphan Black‘s Jordan Gavaris has got one heck of a pout and some serious charisma. I’d be happy with any, or all, of these folks.

Destruction: Aaron Eckhart

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Honorable Mention: Idris Elba, Jeffrey Wright
Barrel-chested thespian Brian Blessed was Gaiman’s inspiration for Destruction, and his first pick to play the character on screen. I’m going to stray from that thought (sorry, Neil), and say that what Eckhart lacks in size he makes up for in carriage and resemblance to the original character. He even has a smile that says, “Screw my realm! I’m all about creation these days, B! Now get these (terrible) poems!” . While Jeffrey Wright is even less qualified size-wise,  he’s one of my favorite actors and could play the heck out of the role in an understated yet completely pitch-perfect way, making this a tough choice.

Destiny: Michael Shannon

No neck breaking involved, Bro. You're safe here.
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Honorable Mention: Lee Pace
Eh. Destiny isn’t the most personable of the siblings, but he still requires strong casting. Perpetually stoic and somber, the eldest of the group is blind yet “sees all”. The most important characteristics needed are presence and voice, and I think Shannon would be a great pick for the brother that no one exactly wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving dinner because omg DOWNER BROTHER IS A DOWNER.

—–

Sandman runs deep, y’all. That is -only- The Endless. There are so many fully fleshed out and delicious characters that this could very well be a two or three part fan cast.
It -won’t- be, but I’m saying. Don’t let me get in my zone.
*sighs*
I’m definitely in my zone.

Stay tuned for part two!

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  • tbudday

    I am half way through the Absolute Edition of Sandman right now. I agree with these and am compiling my own list in my head right now… can we please go farther…. the minor characters too….PLEASE???

  • Scott Woods

    This is a great cast you got here. And DOABLE. Kudos!

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