Neil Gaiman says Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s performance as Death in the upcoming Sandman adaptation is enough to change the minds of anyone in doubt.
The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman believes that fans who are upset about Death’s appearance in the television series will be changing their minds.
Speaking to Total Film, Gaiman discussed the online pushback against Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s casting as Death in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of his iconic comics. Gaiman said, “The thing that got me grumpiest was when people on Twitter would go, ‘This is not the gamine-esque, white, goth-y Death that I’ve had in my head for all these years, why are you betraying us?”
“But watch 1,000 Death auditions. Hundreds of the actors we saw were gamine-esque, some white-skinned,” Gaiman continued. “It’s the Endless – we did color-blind casting, because why wouldn’t you? The comics establish that the characters look like whatever we want them to look like. Anyway, Kirby’s amazing. And I think that people who have been grumbling that she doesn’t look like Death are going to not be grumbling [any more] once they see her be Death.”
The Sandman was first published in 1989 by Vertigo, a division of DC Comics. The series followed the exploits of Dream, aka Morpheus, one of the seven immortal Endless. Along with his siblings Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium (formerly known as Delight), the titular Lord of Dreams has seen thousands of years go by and touched just as many lives along the way. Fans were given their first glimpse of Howell-Baptiste as Death alongside Tom Sturridge’s Morpheus in the show’s first trailer and official images.
Apart from the complaints that Gaiman referenced, the series has for the most part been lauded for its casting. The Sandman has signed Hollywood icon Mark Hamill on to voice comic book fan favorite Merv Pumpkinhead in the live-action adaptation. Doctor Who actor Jenna Coleman is also slated to make her debut as Johanna Constantine in the series, also taking on the dual role of Lady Johanna’s modern descendant, Joanna.
Gaiman recently commented on the concerns he had in bringing such a beloved albeit fantastical universe to life, saying, “It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favorite comic was Howard the Duck.” He continued, “I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then [the film] came out. Howard the Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman, and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.”
The Sandman premieres on Netflix on Aug. 5.
Source: Total Film
John Dodge has been an avid consumer of comic books and nerd culture for as long as he can remember. An expert on competitive gaming and obscure kids shows from the 80’s and 90’s, John has far too many opinions about Beetleborgs for someone in their thirties. You can find him occasionally discussing them over on Twitter at @JohnJDodge.