Sandman’s Kat Dennings explains how Neil Gaiman told her to play death


Neil Gaiman fans The sand man graphic novels have patiently waited for decades to see if the genre’s sprawling and extensive work would spring from the pages into, well, more. This dream, of course, was a double-edged sword, and I wondered if the lack of adaptation was probably for the best. After all, the dark fantasy saga (which jumps through time and space and brings together dozens of characters, some fleeting, in the process) seems to be woefully difficult to adapt. Gaiman opened up about the sentiment after a few abbreviated Hollywood attempts as proclaim that “I’d rather not see a Sandman movie than a bad Sandman movie.”

Well, we haven’t had a movie and probably never will have a movie. This is a very good thing, and even better: Audible recognized this The sand man Would fare well as a reading filled with a star-studded cast. James McAvoy makes headlines as Morpheus, the god of dreams, Michael Sheen appears as Lucifer. Brian Cox is Augustus, and there’s also Riz Ahmed, Samantha Morton, Andy Serkis and many more to name them here. And in the unforgettable role of Death – the cheerful gothic lady tasked with telling people it’s time for them to move to another realm – is none other than Kat Dennings. The MCU actress (she played Darcy Lewis in Thor and WandaVision, and we’ll likely see her in another Marvel project) here stretches beyond the confines of her usual roles. As Death, she’s both silly and somber, and it’s hard to imagine a better voice for the role alongside McAvoy’s dismal take on Morpheus and the rest of his Endless siblings.

DC Comics / Vertigo

This project is not to be confused with the upcoming Netflix TV series (which will feature Patton Oswalt as Raven) which is currently in production. In contrast, the Audible Original is already on its way after last year’s debut installment encapsulated the first three graphic novels (Preludes and Nocturnes, The doll’s house, and Dreamland). Act 2 (with Season of Mists, A game of you, Fables and reflections) will debut on September 22, and Death has a lot more on his plate for this bundle of tales. Kat Dennings was kind enough to talk about The sand man and his Marvel adventures too.

I am selfishly happy that The sand man must not incorporate Covid. Death is already busy enough at his job without a pandemic.

Yeah, well, she’s definitely an interesting character because she’s got the hardest job, but she’s the most powerful of them all. What I really liked about playing with her is that she is kind of that cheerful, bubbly personality, which goes straight against all the dark things that are demanded of her. So it’s really fun to play and a really twisted mindset to get into. And it’s even more true in Act 2. Act 1 had a lot of these scenes, but Act 2 touches even more than that.

The funny thing is, she has the hardest job but always puts family first.

[Laugh] Yes you are right! She does. She tries to confuse everyone and get them to calm down and pay attention to what we’re doing. I love him, and I appreciate him so much.

She has a lot more to do during this act, doesn’t she?

Well, for anyone with some familiarity with graphic novels, they know they cross time, space, and God, whatever you can imagine. So, it’s hard to explain, but I will say she has some really fun family interactions. You meet more of The Endless in Act 2, and I really enjoyed portraying this kind of ordinary sibling banter between these extraordinary and immortal beings. It was a really fun element, so you can definitely expect more of that.

People have taken great comfort in Neil’s stories for decades. And The sand man came at a very strange time for us in this world.

Oh yes.

How did you expect the Original Audible would be received right now when life can feel like a nightmare?

Oh, you’re right about that!

Unfortunately, yes, but I hope we all wake up eventually.

You know, I think there is an element of nostalgia to the people with these graphic novels and who grew up reading them and loved them for so long, so it’s amazing. I’m very guilty of nostalgia myself, especially when I’m going through a tough time, nostalgia is a very nice place for me anyway. I found myself revisiting stuff I loved as a kid. Like, oh my god.

Well, now you have to tell me where the nostalgia has taken you lately.

Well, Labyrinth and Dark crystal, things I haven’t seen in a while. To revisit them, there is this visceral experience that I think about just about everyone. A journey through time, a warm experience when you remember where you were the first time you watched them? So I think that’s one item, and the other thing is, it’s an audible original, which means you don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t have to leave your home. You can stay at home and experience this long journey with many other people. So it’s a shared experience (which is very difficult to have with other people now, obviously because of what we’re all going through right now), but you’re in the comfort of your home, and I say ” long “in a good way. It takes time to get out of it, and it’s very heartwarming. So that’s the nostalgia thing, but it’s also very exciting because even fans of the graphic novel will be amazed at the actors’ one-on-one shots on stages or whatever.

When I told Neil about Act 1 he told me he watched you in so many things including 2 broken girls and thought, “She’s good, but they only ask her to do one of the hundred things she can do.”


And he liked it with Death, you can do all of those things.

This is so cute.

So how did you do these hundred things? It sounds intimidating.

It’s true ! I remember asking Neil at the beginning of this, “Like what should I do?” How do you want me to play it? Because it was his invention, and he just said, “Be yourself.” [Laughs]

No creepy way! It is incredible on several fronts.

And that’s how I play Death, but what he meant was that after knowing me for so many years, I think what he was saying was that I I have a kind of paradox in my personality. I can be very dark and mopey and so on, but I also have a very bubbly and happy side. I think maybe that’s why he thought of me for this character, but he wanted me to keep his shiny side in the foreground because we know what’s going on in scenes, and sometimes, play. exactly what is happening does not. exactly serve the emotions. And sometimes playing a bit against what’s going on in those scenes is a little more effective than just being obvious. And I’m not saying I’m a world-class actor, but for that sort of thing it’s very effective, so I kept it at the forefront of my mind.

The sand man is not your first comic book release. How deep do you usually dive into the source material?

It depends on who I play. In my case, Darcy Lewis is a new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She’s in the comics now, but she wasn’t when I first arrived. So I didn’t have a lot of research to do, which was a relief because, as you know, playing a beloved character comes with a lot of expectations. So I had an easy ride there, but in general I try not to, well, I’m going to familiarize myself with some things in a scene so I seem like I know what I’m talking about. . But for me, I like to reduce the pressure on myself if possible, and also, I like to think about “what does this character actually know? And I’m just going to try to stick with that. It’s a lazy way to do it, but it works for me.

Nerd fandom can be intense. How do you deal with this and how much attention do you pay to it, especially with people so invested in WandaVision?

I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of not paying too much attention, but in a positive way to WandaVision, I feel like the response to the whole series, and in particular to my character, has been positive, and I never really expect that stuff because I’m very critical of myself, as are all the cast, but it was so wonderful to have such a warm response from people. Once I saw how nice people were, I took a little dip on Twitter.

People were so excited to see Darcy and loved his team of comedy buddies at the end.

I was like, “This is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life, and also, I can’t read anymore!” You don’t want to read bad things about yourself, but you also don’t want to read too many good things about yourself, just because it’s a slippery slope and kind of a bad idea. But I have certainly seen the positive comments, and enjoyed it so many.

Last question hour. If you could put Death and Darcy in different projects, be it a TV show or a movie, where would you want them to go?

Oh wow, this is a tough order! I would like the character of Death to enter Daddy’s Girls.

My god, I wasn’t expecting that answer, with Betty White and all.

You can just imagine the hijinks. I think it’s the height of comedy. And Darcy, oh boy. Well now she’s Dr Darcy Lewis so she could get into some kind of [laughs]… it is complicated ! I don’t know where Darcy could go, really anywhere at this point.

Let’s just throw it in NCIS.

Yeah ! It can go directly to a procedure. CSI in space. And that ? Or she could go in, oh my god, what’s a good space show?

Everything for humanity, may be.

My God, I’m so late. Let’s just put it in CSI.

Thanks for answering this weird question.

Oh, I love this question, thank you!

Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman: Act II” will debut September 22 on Audible.

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