SDCC 2022 Interview: The Sandman

For fans of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed DC Comics saga, Netflix’s The Sandman is a literal dream come true. Gaiman serves as executive producer of The Sandman along with Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel), bringing to life the dark supernatural fantasy about Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge), the master of the dreaming realm.

Season 1 of Netflix’s The Sandman adapts the first two volumes of Gaiman’s graphic novels, Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. The Sandman premiered its full trailer at San Diego Comic Con 2022 during its Hall H panel, and hopes are high that it will be a big enough hit on Netflix to allow the rest of the story to be adapted into future seasons so that Dream’s complete story can be awning.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

Related: The Sandman: Where Else You’ve Seen The Cast

Screen Rant had the opportunity to interview the cast, including Tom Sturridge (Dream), Jenna Coleman (Johanna Constantine), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Death), Boyd Holbrook (The Corinthian), Mason Alexander Park (Desire), and Vanesu Samunyai (Rose Walker ). watch The Sandman Videos below and read selected quotes from the interviews!

You are Dream of the Endless. What is the best part of playing the Master of Dreams?

Tom Sturridge: Wow. The best part is to be inside the Dreaming. I love The Sandman so much. I am, first and foremost, a fan. I read all 2000 pages cover-to-cover maybe twelve times before we started making it. What I wanted to do more than anything was step into that world, into the world of Neil [Gaiman’s] imagination and to meet all of those incredible characters that he’s created. And to feel them breathe on my face, and to touch the sets and rooms and palaces, and to be a part of it.

Dream, of course, is an anthropomorphic personification. How did you find a way into making that character human and finding the humanity in him?

Tom Sturridge: I think a really important part of the story of our season is his discovery of that humanity. I think he doesn’t necessarily begin the way that he ends. It’s a quest. He is powerless at the beginning and he requires the help of humans to regain that power. In doing so, he listens to them. His sister Death also educates him on how extraordinary it is to try and feel [for] someone who isn’t you. And I think that’s the birth of her empathy from her.

You’re no stranger to fantasy franchises, with Doctor Who. What is the best part of being part of Neil Gaiman’s universe?

Jenna Coleman: Because it’s so unique. And it’s got the kind of sense of theater as an actor. There’s no limits. There’s no kind of creative boundaries, especially in production design. It’s such a unique tone.

You play Johanna Constantine. Other than gender and pronunciation, how is Johanna different from John Constantine?

Jenna Coleman: Allan Heinberg was very keen on [how] this is Johanna Constantine upgraded. This is now Johanna Constantine who is exorcist to the royal family. She’s earning money, she’s doing well for herself. She’s at the top of her game. But in terms of essence, [she’s a] roguish, dry cynic, but really this kind of wounded lone warrior. The essence is very much there. We’re just meeting her at a different time.

You play The Corinthians. The character is familiar to those who’ve read the comics but how would you describe him?

Boyd Holbrook: I would say The Corinthians is the creation of your worst nightmare in the Dreaming world. And the patron of saints to the serial killers out in the waking life.

The Corinthian has an iconic look: He has teeth for eyes. How did you do that? How was that filmed?

Boyd Holbrook: At the beginning, when we first started talking about this, I was a little concerned as a lot of acting is done through the eyes. The soul is lying in your eyes. Allan Heinberg and I had a lot of conversations about that, but he really put me at ease because there’s so many other things going on with The Corinthian.

It became, not a handicap, but an impediment that he has. But it’s almost a sensory thing as well. It was a lot of playing in darkness, a lot of finding your way. I got given a character that I’ve never been able to play before, who was just a fun time to play.

You are Death. Is Death a dream role for you? (See what I did there?)

Kirby Howell-Baptiste: Ah, I love what you did. Death is absolutely a dream role for me. I was a huge fan of the comics and Death, in particular, was a character that really stood out to me. When I read the comics 8 years ago, I don’t think I ever imagined that I would be playing this role. So, for me, it’s an absolute dream come true.

You and Tom Sturridge play brother and sister. How did you find Dream and Death’s sibling dynamic? It’s so lovely on screen.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste: Thank you. Well, Tom and I, we spent a lot of time literally walking and talking and discussing from the smallest things to the absolute biggest questions in the universe. We kind of did that on and off camera. For the most part, just him and I, and so we bonded very quickly. We connected, we spoke all the time. It’d be just literally him and I in the green room, so we had nothing to do but get to know each other. And I think we really did build a sibling-like relationship.

In the comics, Lucien is one of my favorite characters. You play Lucienne. How did you make the character your own?

Vivienne Acheampong: The original source material is just incredible, so you’ve got this amazing resource. Then you’ve got Allan Heinberg’s incredible script. They’re working together. And with Neil and Allan, it was so collaborative that I and all the cast were able to bring our own interpretations; breathe into it, experience it. Yeah, it was great. It’s just an adaptation; another version of Lucien.

Lucienne is very loyal to Dream, but he can be a tough boss. Sometimes a terrible boss. Can you talk a bit about Lucienne’s relationship with her to Dream, and how they change throughout the episodes?

Vivienne Acheampong: As you said, she is loyal. Sometimes, probably, to a fault. [Lucienne] presided over the Dreaming whilst he was captured, and I think that she is his moral compass in some ways. Because he’s very brooding; this dark, difficult figure. Sometimes, she’s the one who has to make him take stock and think.

Throughout the series, we do see a bit of friction between them. Because, as we’ve said, he was the boss. People have said she’s the real boss, but I’m just repeating what people are saying. So, there’s a bit of friction between them. But I think that, essentially, there is a love and a bond there. And essentially, she wants to protect Dream and the Dreaming. That is essentially her goal.

You play Desire. Is being Desire as much fun as it looks? It seems like you have the best time.

Mason Alexander Park: I really do. I get a lot of good, fun opportunities to just be a bit of everything, which I love. Desire is so well-rounded when you think about it in context, as to how Desire plays into the human experience. It is so many good things; so many bad things. Desperation and need and also love. It’s exciting to be able to play with all of those textures, and I think that’s what makes him a really fun character to play on screen. ‘Cause I get to just kind of get to do everything.

You are part of the Endless, a large family of supernatural anthropomorphic personifications. Dream and Death have a very close relationship that we see in episode 6. But you are kind of the opposite of that. What is Desire’s problem with Dream?


Mason Alexander Park: Well, that’s something people are going to have to watch the show to find out. Or if you know the comics, most people who’ve read them understand where the animosity sort of began. We’ve been alive since the beginning of time, essentially, so there’s a lot of time for siblings to sort of rub up against each other. Neil once described Dream to me as “Desire’s stuffy older brother.” They don’t always see eye-to-eye. It was fun to bring that relationship to life, especially in the later parts of the season.

There are really fun scenes that are directly lifted from the panels of the comics that are iconic to me as a fan. They dive into the history of the lore between Dream and Desire that I hope people will be excited by and want to learn more [about], because there’s so many more comics. Sandman: Overture really is more about the story of Dream and Desire and their relationship. I hope we get the chance to adapt as many of those issues as we possibly can so that people get the full scope of what actually happens between these two individuals.

How would you describe the character of Rose Walker, who’s such an important character in the comics?

Vanesu Samunyai: I would describe her as, I suppose, a butterfly. She evolves over this season, and she starts off pretty shy. I think, in the beginning, she doesn’t really prioritize herself. She’s got a lot of responsibilities now, and she’s got a lot of weight on her shoulders. Throughout the season, throughout the events she goes through, she evolves. She becomes stronger, and tougher, and she gets what she wants.

Is there a particular moment or episode that you’re really excited for everyone to see?

Vanesu Samunyai: Yes, I am excited for the convention. I’m excited for what happens at the convention, and some new twists that we’ve brought along.

The Cereal Convention, of course.

Vanesu Samunyai: Yes yes. Cereal. All types of cereal.

The Sandman Synopsis


The Sandman Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death and Tom Sturridge as Dream walking together

A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic–and human–mistakes he’s made during its vast existence.

Check out our other SDCC 2022 interviews with the casts of Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power as well.


Next: Netflix’s The Sandman Already Looks Better Than You Expected

The Sandman premieres August 5 on Netflix.

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