This is the first installment in a series of columns in which wonderchroma staff cast movies that either haven’t been made or are in the pre-casting stages of development. To suggest a film for Casting Call, email email@example.com.
If someone can take the “unfilmable” Watchmen and turn it into a blockbuster franchise without completely destroying the source material (sorry, SQUID) it stands to reason that just about any comic book is doable. I’m fairly certain graphic geeks will soon see just about every major hero and villain of Marvel and DC lore rendered on the Silver Screen, but I’m feeling especially ambitious. I’d like to see something something darker and more subtle. Something more in the vein of Watchmen. It’s time for The Sandman: The Movie.
Neil Gaiman, the title’s creator, has been on a roll lately. He wrote the books upon which Coraline and Stardust were based. He also penned the scripts for Princess Mononoke and Beowulf – the latter a collaboration with Roger Avary. With so much Hollywood exposure, you would think that a The Sandman movie would be in production by now.
Sadly, the project has been stagnant since the 1990’s, beset by poor scripts and disagreements. Even if The Sandman never sees the light of day, I take solace in at least imagining my dream cast — no pun intended — for the movie:
Destiny – Ben Kingsley
As he is shrouded in all the comics, Destiny’s features are difficult to pin down. But I think Kingsley has enough presence and actorly qualities to make the reserved Destiny memorable.
Death – Mia Kirshner
There are almost too many actresses who could play Death. She is by far the most popular of the Endless, save Dream. There’s actually a movie in development about her. Anyway, I’ve always thought Mia Kirshner looked haunted, which would be perfect for Death.
Dream – Lukas Haas
I know that Johnny Depp is the obvious choice here, so I gave it a lot more though and came up with Haas. His nose isn’t as angular as Dream’s, but everything else about him is very Morpheus. And he isn’t a huge star, so his casting wouldn’t be distracting.
Destruction – Gerard Butler
Butler is easily the biggest name on this list, but I think he would be great as Destruction. Just as long as he didn’t channel Leonidas too strongly. Destruction is jovial in the comics, so Butler’s performance would have to be adjusted with that in mind.
Desire – Tilda Swinton
This was the easiest one. No one looks quite like Tilda Swinton. She has perplexing features that would suit the androgynous Desire. She also emits a sinister, conniving air, which would fit in with a number of Sandman story arcs.
Despair – Fairuza Balk (via Gollum-esque performance capture)
I’ve had a soft spot for Balk ever since The Craft. Her features are intense and vivid. I imagine her face would create a great Despair, though her body would have to be conjured via CGI as Despair was obese and nude in the comics. If they can do Benjamin Button, they can do anything.
Delirium – Olivia Thirlby
As with Death, there are so many options when it comes to Delirium. She is the youngest of the Endless — flighty, spirited and distracted. While I haven’t seen Thirlby in very many movies, she came across memorably in Juno, so I thought it’d be great to spotlight her again here.
If Watchmen proved one thing it’s that even a cast of relative unknowns can work, if the source material is strong enough. With The Sandman, source material isn’t a question. And given the success of Coraline, Stardust and Gaiman’s other Hollywood contributions, you’d have to assume a certain measure of greatness for this story’s adaptation. Add a cast such as the one above and you’ve got film fantasy gold. Just don’t give it the SQUID treatment.
By Efrem Rodriguez