UPDATED 26/05: Exciting times, even more amazing cast news! We’ve already confirmed the likes of Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie and many more (everything is below) – but now is the rest of the cast, and also Neil Gaiman gives his reasons for who and why they’ve picked them!
Kirby Howell-Baptiste (she/her) is DEATH, Dream’s wiser sister.
Mason Alexander Park (they/them) is DESIRE, Dream’s sibling, and desire personified.
Donna Preston (she/her) is DESPAIR, Dream’s sister, and the twin of Desire.
Jenna Coleman (she/her) is JOHANNA CONSTANTINE, haunted exorcist and Occult Adventuress for Hire.
Niamh Walsh (she/her) is YOUNG ETHEL CRIPPS, a betrayed and determined young woman seeking to survive.
Joely Richardson (she/her) is ETHEL CRIPPS, Master thief and woman of a thousand identities.
David Thewlis (he/him) is JOHN DEE, Ethel’s son. Dangerous, insane and on a quest for truth.
Kyo Ra (she/her) is ROSE WALKER, A young woman on a desperate search for her missing brother. She discovers a connection to Dream that neither of them can escape.
Stephen Fry (he/him) is GILBERT, Debonair protector of Rose Walker.
Razane Jammal (she/her) is LYTA HALL, Rose’s best friend and travel companion.
Sandra James Young (she/her) is UNITY KINCAID, Heiress and mysterious benefactor.
Patton Oswalt (he/him) to voice MATTHEW THE RAVEN, Dream’s trusted emissary. A Raven.
And now, these wonderful words from Mr Gaiman:
I thought it would be fun to tell you about some of them, and the thinking behind them.
DEATH – Dream’s wiser, nicer, and much more sensible sister. Significantly harder to cast than you might imagine (well, than I imagined, anyway). Hundreds of talented women from all around the planet auditioned, and they were brilliant, and none of them were right. Someone who could speak the truth to Dream, on the one hand, but also be the person you’d want to meet when your life was done on the other. And then we saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s (she/her) audition and we knew we had our Death.
DESIRE – Dream’s sibling and everything you want, whatever you want and whoever you are. Desire is also trouble for Dream. Families are complicated. We had barely started looking when Mason Alexander Park (they/them) reached out on Twitter, and threw their hat into the ring. We were thrilled when they got the part.
DESPAIR – Desire’s twin, Dream’s sister. She is the moment when all hope is gone, the bleakest of the Endless. Donna Preston (she/her) will be playing her, and her performance is chilling and sad. You feel her pain.
JOHANNA CONSTANTINE – Eighteenth Century occult adventuress, John Constantine’s great-great-great grandmother. This Sandman character became so popular that she even had her own spin-off series. I created her to fill the role that John Constantine does in the past. When we broke down the first season, given that we knew that we would be encountering Johanna in the past, we wondered what would happen if we met a version of her in the present as well. We tried it and the script was sparkier, feistier, and in some ways even more fun. So having written her, we just had to cast her. Jenna Coleman (she/her) gave us the Johanna of our dreams – tough, brilliant, tricky, haunted and probably doomed.
ETHEL CRIPPS – Roderick Burgess’s love, John Dee’s mother, is a small but vital role in the comics, but she became more important as we told our story. In the 1920s and 30s, she is played by Niamh Walsh (she/her): a betrayed and determined young woman seeking to survive. In the present day, now a woman of a hundred identities and a thousand lies, she’s played by the brilliant Joely Richardson (she/her).
JOHN DEE – Ethel’s son is dangerous. He was driven mad, long ago. Now he’s out and on a quest for Truth that may destroy the world. We needed an actor who could break your heart and keep your sympathy while taking you into the darkest places. We were lucky that David Thewlis (he/him)took the part.
Now we’re shooting The Doll’s House, the second big Sandman storyline. It’s the story of:
ROSE WALKER – a young woman on a desperate search for her missing brother, who finds a family she didn’t know that she had, and a connection to Dream that neither of them can escape. We needed someone young who could make you care as she ventures into some very dangerous places. Boyd Holbrook’s Corinthian is waiting for her, after all. Kyo Ra (she/her) achieves that as Rose.
LYTA HALL – Rose’s friend, a young widow mourning her husband Hector. Rose doesn’t know that Hector has started showing up in Lyta’s dreams, though. Or that strange things are happening. Razane Jammal (she/her)is Lyta, and she’s terrific.
UNITY KINKAID – Heiress, Rose’s mysterious benefactor. She has spent a century asleep. Now she’s awake, having missed out on her life. She’s played by Sandra James Young (she/her).
GILBERT – Rose Walker’s debonair protector. A dab hand with a paradox and a sword cane. Stephen Fry (he/him) is a National Treasure, and we forget sometimes that he’s also a remarkable actor. Seeing him in costume and make up on the dailies made me blink: it was as if the comic had come to life.
MATTHEW – Dream’s trusted emissary. A raven. I expected our animals to be CGI, and was both taken aback and thrilled when the dailies started coming in, and there was Dream talking to… well, a raven. But ravens don’t really talk. The question was, could we find an actor who could make you care about a dead person who was now a bird in the Dreaming – one who isn’t certain what’s going on, or whether any of this is a good idea? And could we find a voice performer who was also the kind of Sandman fan who used to stand in line to get his Sandman comics signed? The answer was, we could if we asked Patton Oswalt (he/him). And Patton was the first person we asked, and the first person we cast, the day before we pitched The Sandman to Netflix.
ORIGINAL POST: After the huge success of the small screen adaptations of Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods and Good Omens, co-written with Terry Pratchett of course, Netflix have picked up his iconic The Sandman works and will be bringing them to life, with a killer cast!
Let’s delve right in… your cast is:
Tom Sturridge (he/him) is Dream of the Endless
Gwendolyn Christie (she/her)is Lucifer
Sanjeev Bhaskar (he/him) and Amid Chaudry (he/him) are Cain and Abel
Charles Dance (he/him) is Roderick Burgess
Vivienne Acheampong (she/her)is Lucienne
Boyd Holbrook (he/him) is The Corinthian.
It feels like there was a time where much of Gaiman’s work wouldn’t come to ‘life’, as it were, but now they’ve got the tech, the vision and the budget (I’d guess) for these unique stories to be developed. The Sandman TV series is be based on his DC comic book, and he’s also involved as a Exec Producer and co-writer, which is great news. Joining him is Allan Heinberg as Showrunner, co-writer and exec Producer, plus David S. Goyer the other co-writer and, yes, exec producer on the project.
The Sandman is described as ‘a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence’, and it’s definitely going to pull you in. Gaiman had this to say:
“For the last thirty-three years, the Sandman characters have breathed and walked around and talked in my head. I’m unbelievably happy that now, finally, they get to step out of my head and into reality. I can’t wait until the people out there get to see what we’ve been seeing as Dream and the rest of them take flesh, and the flesh belongs to some of the finest actors out there. This is astonishing, and I’m so grateful to the actors and to all of The Sandman collaborators — Netflix, Warner Bros., DC, to Allan Heinberg and David Goyer, and the legions of crafters and geniuses on the show — for making the wildest of all my dreams into reality.”