Neil Gaiman seems to be the man of the hour. The acclaimed author has a new book being published this coming February called Norse Mythology. Inspired by Norse myths and legends, Gaiman puts his own lovely spin on the mischievous antics of the Gods. This is not to be overshadowed of course by the world premiere of American Gods during SXSW this March. Starz adapted Gaiman’s hit novel into a much anticipated series starring Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane. To add to Mr. Gaiman’s already full plate is the just announced Good Omens adaption. Amazon plans to create a six-part miniseries based on the novel written by Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. Alas, fans must wait until 2018 before they get to see the forces of good and evil duke it out over the end of days.
This would seem to be a lot of adaptations for one author to have, not forgetting about Coraline and Stardust from years past. However, if you look at Gaiman’s body of work you will see a diversity that spans from comic books, short stories, poetry, and even children’s books. It’s obvious why studios want to go with popular novels over his smaller and lesser known works. But if studios wanted to take a chance on adapting something a little more obscure, we have a few suggestions.
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is a mixture of art and literature done beautifully. With less than a hundred pages, there’s still enough story to pack an emotional punch. Gaiman adds magical touches to a dark tale about vengeance and loss. In my mind, only Peter Dinklage could be cast to play the protagonist in the story. Hollywood make it happen! In 2010 Gaiman famously performed a live reading at the Sydney Opera House with the FourPlay String Quartet, which just so happens to be the published audio book! No word yet about turning it into a feature film, but fingers crossed!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, on the other hand, has been in development since 2013. The only bit of news so far is that Joe Wright will be directing the film adaption. Without a script or casting we can presume this project is still a few years in the future, which is a shame. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was critically acclaimed by critics and since its release has become a fan favorite. The story deals with the difficulties of childhood and growing up, with a right amount of magical realism that only Gaiman can seem to produce. Here’s hoping that this adaption doesn’t end up in development hell.
Which leads me to Sandman. Look up development hell in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Gaiman’s Sandman. Created in 1988 by Gaiman, Sandman is considered by fans to be one of the greatest comic book series ever written. This explains why Warner Bros. wanted to turn it into a film all the way back in the ‘90s. The result being a script that bounced between countless writers and garnered many rewrites. By 2001 Gaiman said he’d “rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie.” Heck, even HBO tried to have a go at adapting the series to no avail! The latest news from the film saw the head writer and lead actor dropping out of the project. Many people would love to see Sandman on the big screen, but at this point it seems to be a herculean challenge. The series deserves the proper care to bring the rich and complex world that Gaiman created to life. I still want to see Sandman adapted in some form within my lifetime, but I hold it such regard that I too would rather see no Sandman than a bad Sandman movie.