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The stuff that Dreams are made of
August 15, 2012 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Jill Thompson's concept art for an abandoned Sandman movie.
posted by Artw (54 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
And I have now for the first time performed the nerd achievement of "THEY COULDN'T EVER MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF X!"
posted by Drumhellz at 9:48 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want it. I want it bad.
posted by cmoj at 9:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer: Geekdom’s Power Couple on Sandman Prequel and Kickstarter Success

From Shadow to Wednesday: Casting Thoughts on American Gods
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:57 PM on August 15, 2012


HBO making an American Gods series?? It's...It's beautiful.
posted by Drumhellz at 10:08 PM on August 15, 2012


Jill Thompson's art is always so lovely. This is no exception.
posted by immlass at 10:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate what that inker did to her art during her Sandman run, both artistically and physically.
posted by gentilknight at 10:32 PM on August 15, 2012


From Shadow to Wednesday: Casting Thoughts on American Gods

Admittedly, the first few suggestions underwhelmed me, but then they hit with the one-two punch of Keith David and Matt Frewer. Sold.
posted by mannequito at 10:34 PM on August 15, 2012


I went to film school and didn't then go to LA like the other film school graduates. It was fully ten years before I made any movies. On my own terms, about stuff I wanted to tell the story about.

Articles like this, which I can barely get through, remind me how right my choices were to do so.
posted by jscott at 10:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to that Sandman movie?
posted by Artw at 11:20 PM on August 15, 2012


I don't know what had happened to previous Jill Thompson art I'd seen seen, because I thought it was very meh, despite desperately wanting to see great women represented. THIS is awesome and now I understand. Something must have happened in politics and/or post.
posted by smirkette at 11:27 PM on August 15, 2012


You should check her stuff on Beasts of Burden, it's fantastic.
posted by Artw at 11:28 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've heard so many good things about Sandman that I really wanted to get into it. But I just couldn't get past the art; it just seemed ugly and muddled. /philistine
posted by Jpfed at 11:30 PM on August 15, 2012


The art changed pretty radically throughout the series. A lot of the stuff stands on its own, it is only when taken as a whole that you see many of the more subtle threads.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I started reading Sandman the month the first issue came out, which happened to coincide with the first time I walked into a comic shop. I loved the series, I have the Absolute editions, and think the concept was and remains brilliant. If I were employed at a Hollywood studio as a producer and someone showed me that batch of concept art, as much as I like Jill Thompson's work, I would have wondered what the hell they were trying to pull. It sounds like some of the scripts were better than others, but just looking at those scenes together, leaving aside what I know about Sandman? They do not appear to tell anything like a coherent story, let alone one that belongs in one movie.
posted by cupcakeninja at 2:03 AM on August 16, 2012


HBO! HBO! HBO!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:23 AM on August 16, 2012


The thought of Denis Leary in a Gaiman vehicle? (from the suggested casting link above).......


...........I'll be in my bunk.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:26 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, Jesus God, I never read the summary of the Farmer script before. No no no no no. Even though it wasn't made into a film, just its existence feels like a bullet just whizzed inches from my ear.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:41 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've heard so many good things about Sandman that I really wanted to get into it. But I just couldn't get past the art; it just seemed ugly and muddled. /philistine
Try Dream Hunters or Endless Nights first. Both have beautiful, varied artwork and stand as independent stories. I'm not a fan of the muddy gothic style most of the series had, but there was some wonderful art--The Kindly Ones, The Wake, Ramadan--and the storytelling more than makes up for any artistic stumbling.

Don't start reading Sandman from the first volume, though. It's more of a set of stories than one long, linear story, and it got better as it went along, so it's more enjoyable to jump in after Gaiman found the right voice (somewhere between Dream Country and Season of Mists, IMO).
posted by byanyothername at 4:39 AM on August 16, 2012


ALSO, the linked to artwork is GORGEOUS but kind of shows why the movie never made it; how on earth would all these stories fit together into a coherent 2 - 3 hour whole? Even as a series; there are too many stories, which aren't tied closely enough to be sequels but aren't original enough to be independent. What made Sandman neat was that all kinds of stories could be told through it, but we watched these weirdos' lives develop across those stories.
posted by byanyothername at 4:46 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Roddenberry pitched Star Trek as "Wagon Train in space." I don't see why a Sandman series couldn't work similarly. It's a bedrock trope: the familiar cast experiences novel situations, reacts accordingly. Like dozens of other very successful series including Doctor Who, Voyagers, Stargate SG-1, etc.

Wouldn't that be something.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:55 AM on August 16, 2012


Thank god nothing came of this, I can't imagine a popular property less suited to film language. The soviet film masters could take a decent whack at it but it's a long series of interconnected stories about the nature of storytelling and responsibility in which nothing is solved by violence. Dr. Who? Well there is a lot of Who DNA* in Sandman but I don't see it working, the stories are always more interesting when the title character doesn't show up to fix/ruin everything. It's an anthology series that ties together in the end, there really isn't a single narrative through the thing aside from Morpheus realizing what a jerk he is and Lyta's revenge plot.

American Gods tho? Yeah that's a concept that could use more exploring and the basic premise means you can go anywhere with it, more Gods! More folklore figures! More unnamed gods of the dead living in Las Vegas! I've always thought if the Roman pantheon showed up you could have a lot of fun with the superhuman Demi god offspring they can't stop making.

*I've sometimes got gotten peole to read Sandman by describing it as Fantasy Doctor realizes he's being a jerk to humanity, decides to change in the most convoluted way possible.
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Avary script actually sounds not bad.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:42 AM on August 16, 2012


I saw this earlier, and looking through it, there was clearly concept art from every major storyline, from Preludes and Nocturns through The Wake. Three movies? Three? Impossible. Seasons of Mists is a movie to itself, but not even possibly a first film, with all the exposition needed. I can't imagine cramming all of that into six hours.

As for reading order, I got started late, in the middle of Brief Lives, and was told to check out A Game of You, which is probably the best way to jump in. It's the least Morpheus centric arc of the series, but it's an impeccably told story with beautiful art. I think, after that, if you're not hooked, you won't be. From there, you should probably start at the beginning, though the first arc is kind of chunky, as it supposedly he was still supposed to technically be part of the mainstream D. C. universe. It does set up some important things, but it pretty much is the weakest of the series.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:54 AM on August 16, 2012


Welcome to the cereal convention (?)
posted by stormpooper at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2012


Sandman is very dear to me and I went all tingly when I saw this art yesterday. But it is nigh unfilmable in terms of scope, tone, structure and complexity. A Game of Thrones type series might work but it would have to be done right. Let's see how they do with American Gods, if they actually do it.

Awww man just looking at some of those pictures... might be pulling down my Absolutes yet again tonight.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:48 AM on August 16, 2012


stormpooper

If you don't mind spoiling part of The Doll's House arc of the Sandman, google it.
posted by Hactar at 6:50 AM on August 16, 2012


Nooo don't spoil it just read A Doll's House it is fantastic.
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Right now I'm reading The Wake - I started reading it from the beginning a while ago and I quite like it. Gaiman has done some things I've liked and some things I've hated but this is pretty good.

That said, it's not a movie. It wasn't designed to be a movie, or to be adapted into a movie. It's a series of books, and a pretty great series at that. As a book, you can sit and read it in your big comfy chair and when you think you've spotted something from previously in the story you can flip back and check it out and, you know, generally go at your own meandering pace and soak it in.

I think things can be adapted into film quite successfully if the adaptation adds something. Adapting The Sandman to film would only add the parts your imagination was already filling in; it would remove the need for your imagination at all. It would also remove your ability to go back unless you're watching it alone; film carries you along at so many frames per second as opposed to letting you go how you want. This can be a strength of the medium, but it's less so when trying to shoehorn a story into it that was never designed for that.

Let it be a book, you know? It's a good book. There's nothing wrong with it as a book that a movie would fix.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:53 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can't film it. You could maybe do it as an extended miniseries; I'd bet you could do it in two seasons on HBO, but the budget would be excruciating.

Also, I wouldn't watch it because the Sandman that is in my imagination is a treasure to me. I learned my lesson with Lord of the Rings -- I'll never quite get back the version of it that I knew as a child. (This is also the major reason I didn't watch The Passion of the Christ -- the text is enough, thank you very much: I don't need to imprint myself with Mel Gibson's vision of it.)
posted by gauche at 7:02 AM on August 16, 2012


No Sandman movie is allowed to be made while Johnny Depp still lives. If they make a movie out of any Sandman arc, and Johnny Depp is Morpheus, I will just lie on the floor and scream until my rage is drained enough that I can go on with my life.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:33 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I haven't read "Sandman" (I know, I know) but for any movie made from a graphic novel or comic isn't the graphic novel itself already the concept art?
posted by sourwookie at 7:34 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus, is there anything Jon Peters can't ruin?
posted by brand-gnu at 7:51 AM on August 16, 2012


The message of the Development Hell book does indeed seem to be that Jon Peters is the spawn of Satan.
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on August 16, 2012


Jesus, is there anything Jon Peters can't ruin?

That's the giant-mechanical-spider guy, right?
posted by acb at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2012


Yup. As I say, he's a recurring figure in tales of potentially interesting movies turning into shit.
posted by Artw at 9:56 AM on August 16, 2012


I haven't read "Sandman" (I know, I know) but for any movie made from a graphic novel or comic isn't the graphic novel itself already the concept art?

No.

If you'd read Sandman, you'd know that it had a lot of different artists over its run, and they had very different styles.

But even if it had had a single artist, or a consistent style had been imposed on the artists, concept art would still be relevant. Making a movie is inevitably a re-interpretation -- they're choosing some particular set of conflicts that'll fit in 90-120 minutes, some particular tone, some particular version of the characters and events. That might be a different tone than is most evident in any given issue. And they're probably creating new settings or characters. And they have to think in terms of what will translate to the screen, not what works on the page.

I don't think any movie made from a comic has even tried to be more literal adaptation than Watchmen... and they turned a great graphic novel into a mediocre movie. Any number of times, the same dialogue or action I think worked on the page just didn't work in the movie.
posted by Zed at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2012


>Johnny Depp is Morpheus<

What has been imagined, can not be unimagined. So thanks for that...
posted by twidget at 11:26 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think any movie made from a comic has even tried to be more literal adaptation than Watchmen...

I was sure you were going to say Sin City.
posted by gauche at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2012


Didn't like the comic; didn't see the movie. Maybe it is more literal; dunno.
posted by Zed at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2012


Johnny Depp is Morpheus

Directed by Tim Burton, using his patented technique for turning anything into ooky-kooky-spooky goth-candy.
posted by acb at 12:26 PM on August 16, 2012


Didn't like the comic; didn't see the movie.

If you read the comic then you pretty much saw the movie.

When I talk about the way that adaptations of comics run the risk of removing the need for the viewer to use their imagination, I am pretty much talking about Sin City. It's a competent enough movie but there was no need at all to make it - it's just the comic except the characters move around and you can hear them.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2012


Actually either of the sunken cheek BBC wunderkins could play Dream.
posted by The Whelk at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2012


Dream is a character that, if ever brought to the screen, should be animated and voiced entirely by computer. If there was ever a character that would benefit from the uncanny valley effect, he is it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:59 PM on August 16, 2012


The only proper way to film dream would be to have a different actor/appearance based on who he is interacting with at the time, with maybe the exception of the other Endless. Why have him appear differently to just non-whites and cats? In his interactions with Rose, he should look different than in his interactions with Barbie, Thessaly, Nuala, Matthew, Hob, or anyone else. A point of view, after all.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hail Terminus, he who walks the boundaries.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 PM on August 16, 2012


Dream is a character that, if ever brought to the screen, should be animated and voiced entirely by computer.

I always imagined him being voiced by Andrew Eldritch circa 1985.
posted by acb at 5:16 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Directed by Tim Burton, using his patented technique for turning anything into ooky-kooky-spooky goth-candy.

Not to derail, but I had a horrifying thought a couple weeks ago: if Tim Burton were to make Batman today, does anybody really doubt that he would cast Johnny Depp in the title role?
posted by gauche at 7:06 AM on August 17, 2012


I have to go to my happy place now, Cillian Murphy is waiting there for me.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on August 17, 2012


A sample of Jill's fantasic work on Beasts of Burden. Also, her website. She and Tom Fowler are two of my favorite artists.
posted by whuppy at 8:04 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Johnny Depp is Morpheus

NNNNNNNNNNO. NO NO NO.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH is Morpheus.

not just for the excellent looks and characterization, but also for having the most british name possible on earth
posted by FatherDagon at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's Mr. Bendywine Crumblesnatch to you.

Of course in the end the post transformation dream is payed by Matt Smith.
posted by The Whelk at 12:35 PM on August 17, 2012


but also for having the most british name possible on earth

Colonel John Blashford-Snell
posted by Zed at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2012


Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer: Geekdom’s Power Couple on Sandman Prequel and Kickstarter Success

Amanda Palmer: 'Thank God my best friend's a therapist'
posted by homunculus at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2012


How Did This Made covering Wild Wild West - guest starring Kevin Smith talking a lot about Jon Peters and giant spiders.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2012


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