Neil Gaiman Says Tom Sturridge Beat Over 1000 Others to Play Dream in Sandman

It has taken a long time for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman to be adapted to screen, but as the series premiere moves closer the author and cast took to the stage at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss the show. Appearing on stage with Gaiman were showrunner Allan Heinberg and stars Tom Sturridge, Gwendolin Christie, Jenna Coleman, Mason Alexander Park, Patton Oswalt, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Vivienne Acheampong. Soon after arriving on stage, Gaiman addressed the casting process of certain characters, and revealed that Tom Sturridge was always his choice to play Dream, despite the vast number of auditions held for the role.


The Sandman arrives on Netflix on August 5 after having taken many years to make it to screens. With an ensemble cast and supersized budget, the adaptation has already brought intense online debate among fans of the source material thanks to the casting choices, as you would expect with such a beloved series of stories. One thing that seems to have been accepted without question by many though, is Tom Sturridge’s appearance as Morpheus, and it seems that was never in doubt to Gaiman. He told the room that over 1000 auditions were held for the role, but for him “it was always Tom.”

Tom Sturridge Immersed Himself Into The Sandman During Casting.

While there are many actors who will research a role before going up to audition for it, Tom Sturridge certainly appears to have made sure he fully immersed himself into Gaiman’s work to make sure he was able to fully embody it. He told the audience:

“The only way you can begin to understand [Morpheus] is to subsume yourself in the words and images that Neil [Gaiman] created. So I just spent months, because the casting process was a long one, reading over and over again until it was in my bones and in my blood. I think there is no more honest way to find a character than to try and get into the mind of the man who created it.”

Based on a number of clips shown during the panel, the adaptation of The Sandman is very faithful, as you would expect with Neil Gaiman onboard, and there appears to be no complaints so far about anything that has been revealed in those clips or the subsequent new trailer. It seems that the greatest reason behind The Sandman’s almost seamless transition from page to screen comes, as Gaiman told the room, from him being “incredibly lucky” not to have been forced to change his vision for the series, just as he wasn’t for his graphic novels.

The Sandman brings a huge cast and a lot of expectation with it, especially in light of the recent issues Netflix has had with their spending and dropping subscriber numbers. After it was revealed that the series budget ran to tens of millions per episode, Netflix will be hoping that the arrival of the show will pay off after putting so much into it, and with only two weeks to go until the premiere of The Sandman, we will soon find out which way the gamble has gone.