Matthew Vaughn Dreams of ‘Sandman’ on HBO

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 16th, 2013 at 12:04 am,

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman spans 75 issues and countless worlds, following the life and times (if either could be said to apply) of Dream of The Endless. Mostly. There are also issues like A Dream of a Thousand Cats in which the Sandman appears only briefly to drive home one of the central ideas of the series, but which is otherwise a complete departure from the story. As I’m sure fans of Gaiman’s work would agree, these tangents and explorations of the different corners of Gaiman’s worlds are in large part what make them so enthralling (see also: American Gods). The landscapes of his novels and comics are broad and rich, and have the potential to translate beautifully to film.

Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn thinks so, too. Back in January, he talked to the good folks over at CBR about a Sandman film, relating the scope of the project to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most recently, he spoke to MTV News about taking the project in a different, extremely more awesome direction.

“[Neil and I] talked about it. I think as a movie it’s virtually impossible to make properly. I think it would make an amazing HBO series, you know, where you can just really create that world. You know, it’s so much.There’s too much to get into an hour and a half, two hours.”

Personally, every time I hear of a great comic or novel property being appropriated for the screen (the way Bill Willingham’s Fables was by ABC, for example) my first thought is “Please be for HBO.”  After Deadwood, Rome, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and True Blood, the network has proven an affinity for stylized and genre specific shows.  More so than any other network I can think of, HBO properties are treated with intelligence and respect and are backed up by creative teams of the highest standard. It’s not just TV, after all.  Sandman could easily generate nine or ten seasons of television which, with a loyal audience, could be incredibly lucrative. It would require a lot of faith and dedication on the part of investors, though, and the production would have to be handled carefully lest it go the way of Rome- brilliant, but ultimately too costly.

the endless Matthew Vaughn Dreams of Sandman on HBO

And you thought the Sopranos had problems.

Still, the fact that Vaughn, who has been doing just fine for himself in the motion picture biz, is excited about tackling a television project of this size- that he even recognized that the property would do better in that format- makes me one happy camper.  He’s realized what plenty of us have long known to be true: Comic books are episodic, and are best presented that way.  HBO allows its shows the freedom to be faithful adaptations. If Sandman belongs anywhere, it’s there.

Source: MTV News

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  1. If HBO did a Game of Thrones AND Sandman I think that puts them about one strike away from being the true geek overlords. I mean, SyFy wouldn't even get a look in (because they changed their name and now it is stupid).

  2. Why can't it just remain a book or a graphic novel in this case? I'm sorry, I think Vaughn is a good director, but no one will ever be able to capture what Neil Gaiman put on those pages. Seriously, I hope they never make it into a show/film/play or whatever. I've read all the series multiple times and it just won't translate well. The subtlety of certain moments in the series, the horror of others, all would be lost in translation or it will end up feeling flat like Watchmen did.

  3. I'm a big believer in book > movie. No book, comic or otherwise, can ever be fully captured on screen, but I do believe the stories in them can be told in a way that is relevant and faithful, and the characters in them can be given different but still-valuable life. As my friend David has to constantly remind me (with regard to the pending Cowboy Bebop movie adaptation), a movie- even a lousy one- doesn't detract from or void the original work. While I would rather see American Gods as an HBO series, something with a single finite story line instead of the ten story lines that could take multiple seasons to tackle, each, in Sandman, I still think the project could be really interesting and quite beautiful and imaginative.

  4. Yeah. I hope they know it, too. For I want moar. Moooaaar.

  5. It's a tough translation to big screen but I think it can be done in a decent and dark way.

  6. Been saying this for years – tried to get an animated version rolling – was working with Radical Axis studios (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Squidbillies, etc.) but the project proved to be too massive and would end up cutting my development team out of the actual production – still, it would have been worth it just to get to see it done right. Great thing about doing an animated version 1. The scope is no longer cost prohibitive and one can adhere closely to the original material and 2. Different artists could be asked to design different styles of animation for the different storylines the way the graphic novels were done. I had permission from a 30 year veteran dark-underground band to utilise their music for the title sequence we came up with. It was looking optimistic until the massive scope of the thing shut it down. If anyone has the capability to make a pitch utilizing the same technique they used for “The Watchmen Moving Comic” then I say go to the head of DC comics and do it!

  7. You say HBO is the best… what about Showtime and what it's done with Dexter? I reckon it could do well on Showtime as well!

  8. I've been a fan of Gaiman's Sandman for nearly 20 years and I always wondered what it would be like on the screen. It makes me nervous, but interested. Good article – and love the Sopranos Picture Reference.

  9. I think motion comics are an interesting notion and can be done well. I like the Watchmen Motion comic, did not like Astonishing X-Men motion comic, although I think that was largely based on the female voice talent not remotely matching what I'd heard in my head or thought suited the characters Cassiday had drawn. Also, if you can't get Steve Blum in the studio to do Wolverine, just…. don't use Wolverine. That man is. Well.

    I get all flustered when I talk about Steve Blum. Anyway.

    To be truthful, I would prefer most of my favorite properties be adapted using animation. Traditional, 2-D, cell animation. Sandman in particular would be GORGEOUS if adapted that way. But it's hard to sell animation to an American audience if it isn't for children, a comedy, or costs less than $250 million to make.

  10. Now, not having Showtime, it's hard for me to comment. I have seen Dexter, because my roommate is addicted, and I agree that show is excellent. I also love The Tudors!

    But have you seen Spartacus?

    HBO has so many home runs that I feel like my natural instinct is to wish a property like Sandman or Fables or Preacher their way out of a desire for it to have the highest possible chance of success, I guess.

  11. There is always that fluster of nervous dismay, the “please don't screw this up please oh please oh please” feeling, but in this instance that's somewhat assuaged by what feels like the right people being involved and having the right idea of where the project needs to go.

    And thank you!

  12. Just so! Tough, but worth the effort, certainly.

  13. Yes, it was what we were trying to do for a pitch only – just to show DC how well the actual books themselves would translate onto the screen, without a whole lot of from-scratch development. It's a fine balance between those who see slavish adherence to the source material, and those who see any deviation as blasphemy. The idea was to utilize a different style of animation for each story arc. We had the scripts typed out for the entire series, the artwork broken down into component parts, local voiceover actors doing the parts, and the arcs broken down into series. The plan would have been to utilise a different style of full 2D “cell” animation. We were told that a half hour animation of the Simpsons cost about 1 million dollars and we were only going to have about 18 episodes per season. That's 18 to 36 million per series at the most which is only a third of the proposed costs for a live action Sandman movie – part of it's development hell. It would do incredibly well nestled amongst such gems as Ghost in the Shell on the Adult Swim lineup.

  14. Yes, it was what we were trying to do for a pitch only – just to show DC how well the actual books themselves would translate onto the screen, without a whole lot of from-scratch development. It's a fine balance between those who see slavish adherence to the source material, and those who see any deviation as blasphemy. The idea was to utilize a different style of animation for each story arc. We had the scripts typed out for the entire series, the artwork broken down into component parts, local voiceover actors doing the parts, and the arcs broken down into series. The plan would have been to utilise a different style of full 2D “cell” animation. We were told that a half hour animation of the Simpsons cost about 1 million dollars and we were only going to have about 18 episodes per season. That's 18 to 36 million per series at the most which is only a third of the proposed costs for a live action Sandman movie – part of it's development hell. It would do incredibly well nestled amongst such gems as Ghost in the Shell on the Adult Swim lineup.

  15. cute guy…

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