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Neil Gaiman: Michael Jackson Wanted to Play Morpheus in The Sandman

A live-action adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s legendary The Sandman comic has been something that companies have been attempting for a long time. At one point in the 90s, according to Gaiman, even the King of Pop wanted to get in on the series.

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Speaking during a recent appearance on a live episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, Gaiman recalled the early days of trying to get the comic adapted. Specifically, Gaiman mentions a time in 1996 when he was brought into a meeting with the then-president of Warner Bros., who said that Michael Jackson had called and been interested in playing the lead role of Morpheus/Dream, the personification of dreams and nightmares and ruler of the Dreaming.

“By 1996, I was being taken to Warners, where the then-president of Warner Bros. sat me down and told me that Michael Jackson had phoned him the day before and asked him if he could star as Morpheus in The Sandman,” Gaiman said. “So, there was a lot of interest in this and they knew that it was one of the Crown Jewels and what did I think? And I was like, ‘Ooh.'”

Of course, judging by Gaiman’s reaction in the video, it seems as if he might not have been fully up for that idea. Regardless, the project ended up not going through, with The Sandman not being adapted into a series until 2022 when the series premiered on Netflix.

During its short time on the streaming platform, The Sandman has reportedly been one of the biggest and most successful titles for the company, although a second season has not been announced as of yet.

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The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge (Sweetbitter) as Dream, the Lord of the Dreaming, Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) as Lucifer, the ruler of Hell, Vivienne Acheampong (The Witches) as Lucienne, the chief librarian and trusted guardian of Dream’s realm, Boyd Holbrook (Logan) as The Corinthian, an escaped nightmare who wishes to taste all that the world has in store, Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) as Roderick Burgess, a charlatan, blackmailer, and magician, and Asim Chaudhry (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Yesterday) as Abel and Cain, the first victim and the first predator, who are residents and loyal subjects of the Dream Realm.


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