“There was nothing in there I loved. There was nothing in there I liked,” Gaiman recalled. “It was the worst script that I’ve ever read by anybody.”
The comic book creator revealed to Rolling Stone that “Man of Steel” and “A Star Is Born” producer John Peters sent a script to adapt the graphic novel years ago. Gaiman hated it so much that he leaked the “really stupid” script to the press to ensure it never got made.
“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.”
But Gaiman couldn’t help but remember some of the more outrageous details from Peters’ script, all of which proved to be bad omens for the adaptation. “It had giant mechanical spiders in it,” the “Good Omen” creator noted. “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.”
Gaiman then anonymously sent the script to Ain’t It Cool News (“back then it was read by people”).
“I thought, I wonder what Ain’t It Cool News will think of the script that they’re going to receive anonymously,” Gaiman explained. “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.’”
Gaiman, who co-created the Netflix series, told IndieWire that he looked at films like “A Matter of Life And Death” to incorporate practical effects to balance CGI.
“You would be amazed at how much of it is not CGI. You would be amazed at how many of the things we built and they’re there,” Gaiman said. “And it was impossible to build it and we still built it because that was the look and the feel that we wanted.”
He added, “We built this thing that grows around you but that is always completely of its time. It’s not for me a matter of, well, how panel-for-panel, how accurate comics can we get? Because weirdly if we do it with heart and we do it with attention to detail and we do it with love, the comics panels are there.”