Neil Gaiman‘s comic book series The Sandman has long been one of Hollywood’s white whales — a seemingly unadaptable series following the adventures of the physical embodiment of Dreams that the industry has tried and failed to bring to the big screen for years. But while chatter of the in-development Netflix series has (unsurprisingly) died down, The Sandman will be adapted in another medium for the first time: audiobooks. A Sandman audiobook is set to debut this July, narrated by Gaiman himself and featuring a star-studded cast led by James McAvoy, who takes on the title role of Dream.
Audible announced the first-ever exclusive audio adaptation of Gaiman’s The Sandman, featuring a star-studded cast that, in addition to McAvoy, includes Riz Ahmed, Justin Vivian Bond, Arthur Darvill, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, William Hope, Josie Lawrence, Miriam Margolyes, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, and Michael Sheen.
Dennings will play the fan-favorite character Death, whose depiction as a punk rock goth girl remains one of Gaiman’s most iconic creations, while Sheen plays Lucifer in a fun reversal of his recent angelic Good Omens role.
“A truly exceptional cast of artists will be bringing this cultural phenomenon to life. We are honored to be working alongside Neil Gaiman and DC to create a truly immersive adaptation that we know fans and listeners will love,” David Blum, Editor-in-Chief of Audible Originals, said in a statement.
Here is the synopsis for the first installment of The Sandman audiobook, which adapts volumes 1-3 of the graphic novel series (Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, and Dream Country):
When an occultist attempts to capture the physical embodiment of Death (Dennings) in a bargain for eternal life, he instead mistakenly traps Death’s younger brother Dream (McAvoy), another of the seven god-like siblings known as The Endless who oversee aspects of human existence, including Desire (Bond) and Despair (Margolyes), Destiny, Destruction and Delirium. After seventy years of imprisonment Dream finally escapes, embarking on a quest to reclaim his lost objects of power and rebuild his kingdom, the world of sleep and imagination called The Dreaming. So begins one of the most acclaimed and successful series of graphic novels ever written.
Dirk Maggs, a longtime audio collaborator with Gaiman who has directed acclaimed adaptations of Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens, and Anansi Boys, adapts and directs The Sandman. Gaiman serves as creative director and executive producer on the series. Oscar winner James Hannigan composes the original score for the the multi-part audio drama series, which will be released in installments starting July 15, 2020.
The Sandman is a surreal, unnerving, and often disturbing graphic novel series that remains Gaiman’s crowning achievement. With its unusual narrative structure and dreamlike visuals, no wonder it’s proven so hard for Hollywood to turn it into a live-action series. But an audiobook featuring everyone’s favorite British dreamboats may just be the perfect avenue for the series.
The audiobook is available for pre-order now and will exclusively premiere on Audible.com/TheSandman and will subsequently be released in French, German, Italian, and Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish editions following the July 15 English-language release.
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