The real dream of ‘The Sandman’ was how easy it was to cast

Most directors and producers will be quick to tell you a hard-and-fast rule about any series or feature film: correct casting is half the battle won. Generally speaking, filling in the blanks of a cast as big as that for Netflix’s upcoming The Sandman would be a daunting task for anyone, but the showrunner says that casting the show was an utter dream, thanks to their secret weapon.

Although The Sandman does have a fair share of up and coming talent, like lead Tom Sturridge, who plays the titular Sandman, Boyd Holbrook as series antagonist The Corinthian, and Mason Alexander Park as The Sandman’s sibling Desire, it’s also pulled in a fair share of bigger names, like Game of Thrones vets Charles Dance and Gwendoline Christie, Doctor Who Companion Jenna Coleman, and UK acting stalwarts like Stephen Fry and David Thewlis.

Many if not all of the cast proved to be easy gets due to the project’s biggest gun, author Neil Gaiman. According to showrunner Alan Heinberg, who recently spoke to fans during Netflix’s ‘Sandman’ Cast Panel, veteran talents were lining up for the project on the strength of the material and its author alone. Heinberg told the panel:

“We had the most extraordinary casting directors, Lucinda Syson and Natash Vincent and Mele Nagler at Warner Bros who’s in charge of casting there, and their taste and their instincts were incredible. But mostly I think Neil did the work for us. Once word got out that you know, ‘The Sandman’ this Neil Gaiman property that’s been out for as long as it has and has as many fans as it has, once word got out we had people coming to us saying, ‘May I be in ‘The Sandman?’”

– Alan Heinberg

An added bonus was the fact that the high-profile project let Heinberg and Gaiman practically cast the film via their own internal wish lists, as they did with Coleman, who will be portraying Johanna Constantine in the series. Of course, they had a little help from the global pandemic.  “We were talking about Jenna [Coleman] from the very, very beginning ‘cause Neil and I are huge Jenna Coleman fans,” Heinberg said, “and we got very lucky that the pandemic, you know allowed her the space in her diary to join us.”

The Sandman will debut on August 5 on Netflix.