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Michael Jackson Begged Warner Bros. to Star in Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’

The King of Pop was hoping to give an "Off the Wall" performance as Morpheus in the sci-fi series.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

MTV News

“The Sandman” almost starred the King of Pop.

Creator Neil Gaiman revealed during Josh Horowitz’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast that Grammy winner Michael Jackson called the then-president of Warner Bros. to ask to star in a 1990s TV adaptation of the comic book series. Jackson was set on playing Morpheus, the role which Tom Sturridge now portrays in the Netflix series.

“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,'” Gaiman shared. “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.'”

Gaiman’s comic book series ran from 1989 to 1996, with TV adaptations circulating as early as 1991. Two-time Emmy nominee Jackson previously starred in “The Wiz,” “Moonwalker,” and “Men in Black II” prior to his death in 2009.

“The Sandman” productions also previously were linked to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, set to play Morpheus in 2013 prior to departing from production due to creative differences.

Gaiman recently opened up to Rolling Stone that he has thwarted past studio attempts to adapt “The Sandman.” Gaiman said that he purposefully leaked a “really stupid” script penned by “Man of Steel” and “A Star Is Born” producer Jon Peters years ago.

“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,'” Gaiman recalled. “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.”

Netflix’s “The Sandman” series, which Gaiman co-created, just topped the streamer’s charts while awaiting a Season 2 series renewal. It turns out waiting over three decades to properly adapt the comic books was worth it.

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