This year, Neil Gaiman’s comic book series “The Sandman” was finally adapted on screen in Netflix’s popular television series. But this is far from the first time that Hollywood tried to put the sprawling fantasy world to film.
In fact, Gaiman declined several movie offers for “The Sandman” throughout the last three decades, but the author recently revealed that he went as far as to sabotage an idea from “Wild Wild West” and “A Star Is Born” producer Jon Peters by leaking the script to the press.
“It was the worst script that I’ve ever read by anybody,” Gaiman said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“A guy in Jon Peters’ office phoned me up and he said, ‘So Neil, have you had a chance to read the script we sent you?’ And I said, ‘Well, yes. Yes, I did. I haven’t read all of it, but I’ve read enough.’ He says, ‘So, pretty good. Huh?’ And I said, ‘Well, no. It really isn’t.’ He said, ‘Oh, come on. There must have been stuff in there you loved.’ I said, ‘There was nothing in there I loved. There was nothing in there I liked. It was the worst script that I’ve ever read by anybody. It’s not just the worst Sandman script. That was the worst script I’ve ever been sent.’”
Gaiman added: “I’m not sure if it would’ve been an action movie or quite what it would’ve been. It was a mess. It never got better than a mess.”
Detailing the “really stupid” ideas in Peters’ script, Gaiman explained: “It had giant mechanical spiders in it… Lucifer, Morpheus and the Corinthian were identical triplets. They were a family of identical brothers, and it was all a race to see who could get the ruby, the helm and the bag of sand before midnight on 1999, before the new millennium started, because whoever got it would be the winner. That was the plot.”
In order to kill the movie before it moved any further, Gaiman says he anonymously leaked the 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. 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.'”
Peters is the chairman of Peters Entertainment and is best known for producing both the 1976 and 2018 versions of “A Star Is Born,” as well as “Man of Steel,” “Ali” and “Innerspace.” Variety reached out to Peters for comment.
“The Sandman” has sat atop Netflix’s Global Top 10 list for three consecutive weeks and is awaiting a possible Season 2 renewal.