When you’ve seen as many rejections as The Sandman faced and waited a further 30 years for something to hit Hollywood, you’re not just going to jump at any old nonsense handed to you—that has been one thing that has made the current The Sandman series on Netflix so worthwhile.
As Neil Gaiman has previously said, of the many failed efforts that went before the current Netflix hit: “All of them failed because trying to make 3,000 pages into a two-hour film is frankly going to fail.”
Adding: “When we did our pitch, they were saying the one unique selling point that we have is we have Neil Gaman, and none of the previous adaptations did,” Gaiman said. Now, he is vindicated given that the show is currently the most watched in the world.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Gaiman claims he once leaked a script in an act of sabotage. “I haven’t read that whole script, [but] I’ve read as much of the script as I could take,” he said of the project producer Jon Peters sent him.
Adding: “And I’m not sure if it would’ve been an action movie or quite what it would’ve been. It was a mess. It never got better than a mess. It had giant mechanical spiders in it.”
Further explaining how mutated his creation had become: “Lucifer, Morpheus, and the Corinthian were identical triplets. 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.”
When Peters approached him for his verdict, he was told in no uncertain terms: “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.”
However, he remained perturbed by the fact that Peters still might want to make it from a commercial point of view, so Gaiman claims he anonymously sent it to Ain’t It Cool News, and “they wrote a fabulous article about how it was the worst script they’d ever been sent. And suddenly the prospect of that film happening went away.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Peters went onto the Wild Wild West and Gaiman got back to his novels, until now…