THE SANDMAN Author Neil Gaiman Reveals That Michael Jackson Wanted To Play Morpheus In The '90s

Neil Gaiman has revealed that none other than Michael Jackson, the controversial King of Pop who passed away back in 2009, wanted to play Morpheus in an adaptation of The Sandman back in 1996...

By MarkCassidy - Aug 27, 2022 01:08 PM EST
Filed Under: The Sandman

The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix, but the 11-episode show does not mark the first time an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's seminal comic series has been attempted - far from it.

We've heard about several different movie and TV scripts doing the rounds over the years that never came to fruition for various reasons (mostly, because they weren't very good), with Joseph Gordon Levitt coming fairly close to getting his big-screen take off the ground back in 2013.

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There were much earlier ventures, however, and one of them could have starred Michael Jackson!

During a clip from the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gaiman revealed that after coming in for a meeting with Warner Bros. to discuss the possibility of a Sandman movie back in 1996, he was informed that the "King of Pop" had called the studio and told them he wanted to play Morpheus.

Nothing ever came of it, obviously, but it's a good thing Gaiman controls the rights to his characters!

In a separate interview with Rolling Stone, the writer discusses one particular script from Jon Peters - and yes, this one also had giant mechanical spiders in it - which he describes as "the worst" he's ever read.

"Lucifer, Morpheus, and the Corinthian were identical triplets," Gaiman explained. "They were a family of identical brothers, and it was all a race to see who could get the ruby, the helm, and the bag of sand before midnight on 1999, before the new millennium started, because whoever got it would be the winner. That was the plot. I remember them phoning me up. And I’m normally, I’m polite and nice if you’re on the phone. I try and find positive things to say to people who phone you up. And a guy in Jon Peters’ office phoned me up and he said, 'So Neil, have you had a chance to read the script we sent you?'

And I said, 'Well, yes. Yes, I did. I haven’t read all of it, but I’ve read enough.' He says, 'So, pretty good. Huh?' And I said, 'Well, no. It really isn’t.' He said, 'Oh, come on. There must have been stuff in there you loved.' I said, 'There was nothing in there I loved. There was nothing in there I liked. It was the worst script that I’ve ever read by anybody. It’s not just the worst Sandman script. That was the worst script I’ve ever been sent.' And then there was a pause. He says, 'Oh, come on. That thing where we made the Corinthian the Sandman’s brother, that was good. Huh?' And I said, 'No, that was really stupid.' And he said, 'Oh, well, OK. You can’t win them all.' And I said, 'No, you really can’t.' And I put down the phone and I thought, what do I do now?"

Gaiman ended up leaking the script to Ain't It Cool News in order to ensure that the film never saw the light of day.

Have you guys finished The Sandman yet? If so, what did you think?

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