Author Neil Gaiman visited podcast Happy Sad Confused and shared that Michael Jackson asked to play Morpheus in The Sandman.
Michael Jackson apparently had dreams to star in a television adaptation of The Sandman. Last Friday (August 26) author Neil Gaiman opened up about Jackson’s acting pitch on Josh Horowitz-hosted podcast Happy Sad Confused. While performing on his legendary HIStory World Tour in 1996, Jackson reportedly sought to portray Morpheus in The Sandman.
“By 1996, I was being taken to Warners, where the then-president of Warner Bros. sat me down and told me that Michael Jackson had phoned him the day before and asked him if he could star as Morpheus in The Sandman,” said Gaiman.
He added, “So, there was a lot of interest in this and they knew that it was one of the Crown Jewels and what did I think? And I was like, ‘Ooh.'”
By 1996, Jackson had starred in 1978 musical The Wiz, followed by ’80s short films Captain EO and Moonwalker. In 2002, Jackson made a surprise appearance in Men in Black II as “Agent J.”
According to CBR, efforts to bring The Sandman to screens began in 1991, but the attempts garnered little publicity until 2013 when Joseph Gordon-Levitt was set to play Morpheus. Ultimately, Gordon-Levitt left the adaptation over creative differences. With 10 episodes, The Sandman premiered August 5 on Netflix, with Morpheus played by Tom Sturridge. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gaiman revealed that he ruined Jon Peters’ movie adaptation of The Sandman by leaking a “really stupid” script to the press.
“I sent the script to Ain’t It Cool News, which back then was read by people. And I thought, I wonder what Ain’t It Cool News will think of the script that they’re going to receive anonymously,” Gaiman said. “And they wrote a fabulous article about how it was the worst script they’d ever been sent. And suddenly the prospect of that film happening went away. And instead Jon Peters turned his attention to ‘Wild Wild West.’”