Gaiman on 'Stardust', 'Beowulf' and 'Sandman' -

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Gaiman on 'Stardust', 'Beowulf' and 'Sandman'

By Laura Ellison     August 07, 2007

At the Paramount Panel at Comic-Con, visionary graphic novel and comic book writer Neil Gaiman revealed details about the film adaptations of two of his graphic novels, 'Stardust' and 'Beowulf'.

For the segment on 'Stardust', an extended sequence from the film was shown, which featured the evil witch, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, trying to trap and kill the innocent Star, played by Clare Danes.

After the clip, Gaiman and screenwriter Jane Goldman held a Q & A with the audience. Gaiman talked about how they couldn't possibly do a completely faithful adaptation of his book, because the book just isn't "filmic" enough - for instance, if they were strictly faithful, the main hero of the story wouldn't even be born until over a half an hour into the film. And with today's "fast moving" films, that just wouldn't work. Also, Robert De Niro's part in the film was expanded even more when they found out De Niro had been cast, because "he's Robert De Niro - how can you not?"

A fan in the audience asked if we would ever get to see an adaptation of his favorite comic 'Sandman', and Gaiman responded that he's been saying since 1992 that "I'd rather see no 'Sandman' movie made than a bad 'Sandman' movie. But I feel like the time for a 'Sandman' movie is coming soon. We need someone who has the same obsession with the source material as Peter Jackson had with 'Lord of the Rings' or Sam Raimi had with 'Spider-Man'."

The fan responded that if Gaiman would give him five years, he would make the film himself - to which Gaiman responded, "That's what I mean. I'm growing vats of people like you all around the world. Eventually we'll put a bunch of you in a room with knives, and whoever emerges alive will be the winner and can make the 'Sandman' movie." And to that I say: Sharpen those knives, fans!

For the segment on 'Beowulf', a trailer for the new, Robert Zemeckis motion-capture CG adaptation of Gaiman's graphic novel was shown, and I must say, the CG really looks amazing! Even the eyes, which are usually the fakest part of CG people, looked real! There were several times when I had to remind myself that I was not watching the real Angelina Jolie floating around in a cave pool, I was merely watching a CG rendering of her. Wow.

After the trailer, Gaiman and screenwriter Roger Avary discussed the genesis of the story from graphic novel to screen. They talked about how 10 years ago, they sat around throwing out their dream casting choices, never thinking that these people would actually do the film. Obviously, Anthony Hopkins had to play Hrothgar, Angelina Jolie would play Grendel's mother, and Crispin Glover would play Grendel [that last bit of casting got a big cheer from the crowd]. And amazingly, "every single one of our dream casting choices agreed to do the film." So needless to say, they are both quite pleased with this adaptation.


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