“I guess you must be wondering why I called you all here today,” Destiny told her ethereal siblings, Death, Desire, Dream, Despair and Delirium. “There are things to discuss, there is something I have to say.”

This disturbing reunion is the first time the family of supernatural beings known as “The Endless” have reunited in over a century, and the encounter sets the stage for what is to come. The Sandman: Act II – The second part of Audible by Neil Gaiman Sand seller series.

Based on the DC graphic novels of the same name, the Audible Original version of the series was adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs, with Neil Gaiman executive producer and lending his vocal talents as a narrator.

The Sandman: Act II features a cast of stars like no other, including Brian Cox (Troy, Succession), Kat Dennings (Thor, Nick and Norah’s Endless Reading List), John Lithgow (Dexter, The Crown), Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Westworld), Bill Nighy (Love in fact, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Kristen Schaal (Gravity Falls, Toy Story 3), Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, War for the Planet of the Apes) and Michael Sheen (Masters of sex, good omens).

James mcavoy (X-Men, Split) plays the series’ main character, the Sandman, also known as Morpheus, Lord of Dreams – often referred to as Dream.

“All conscious beings dream in one form or another, and the reason we dream is because of Morpheus,” McAvoy said. News week in an exclusive interview. “Morpheus is the king, the janitor, the guardian and the defender of the realm of dreams.”

The first act of The sand man came out last summer and was praised by critics around the world and took # 1 on the New York Times List of the best audio fiction sellers for much of the year. The series also recorded a record number of pre-orders and has the distinction of being the best-selling Original Audible in company history.

James McAvoy attends the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. The Scottish actor’s recent project is the audio series of “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman.
Getty Images

The graphic novels on which the audio series is based have received similar praise, with Los Angeles Times Magazine announcing the series as “the greatest epic in comic book history”.

“In the first act, Morpheus was incarcerated and tortured for decades before finally breaking free,” McAvoy explained. “He had to overcome the trauma of what they did to him and had to readjust.” In Act II, Morpheus is finally able to rebuild his kingdom while helping his otherworldly siblings in a much darker task.

“One of the great things Dirk did with it was he made every act independent,” McAvoy said. “He knows people don’t go into a movie thinking they have to read the book first, so he did the audio series the same way.”

Ditto for listeners who have not listened to the first part of The sand man before jumping in Act II. “It’s not necessary at all,” he said, “but why wouldn’t you want to? Both sides are a wild ride.”

Another appealing part of the series is that no two episodes are the same. “In Dreamland, time moves differently and not linearly,” McAvoy explained. “One day Morpheus is immersed in William Shakespeare’s world in London, the next day he talks with Hercules and the gods of ancient Greece, then he comes back to talk with (the DC Comics anti-hero) John Constantine.”

“Neil is a magician, a real conjurer”

McAvoy explained that more than any other member of the mystical family, his character has the strongest sense of duty. “Of all the entities, Morpheus knows his goal; that he has a job to do, a responsibility to fulfill. He takes it very seriously,” he said.

And his relationship with every brother of The Endless is complicated, McAvoy said. “They seem to be at odds with each other all the time, but it doesn’t feel like they can survive without each other.”

He explained that each member is “responsible for facilitating, nurturing, cultivating and defending certain facets of the human experience,” and that beyond family members, listeners meet at the start of Act II, a settlement awaits them between them and another member of The Endless. “I won’t give any spoils,” he teased, “but one of our long-lost siblings is among the best parts of this story.”

And while Morpheus doesn’t always get along with the other members of The Endless, McAvoy explained that Dream and Death are particularly close. “They get along very, very well,” he said. Death is played by Dennings, someone said McAvoy was unexpected in the role. “When you think of death you don’t think of Kat with her brilliant disposable delivery,” he explained, “but she was successful and once you hear her you know how good she is. perfect for the role she is. “

He said that Dennings portraying death is just another example of the brilliantly unexpected world that Gaiman and Maggs have created for the audio adaptation of the series.

“Neil is a magician, a real conjurer,” said McAvoy, “and Sand seller is just a playground for his imagination. “

James McAvoy as Professor X
Morpheus isn’t the first comic book character James McAvoy played. The actor played the role of Professor Charles Xavier in five X-Men films.
Fox

And while he said he wanted to be involved in everything Gaiman does, it was actually his previous experience working with director Maggs that led him to sign the show. “I first met Dirk on another collaboration with Neil in the 90s called Never nowhere“he said,” I really enjoyed working with him and was delighted to be working with him again. “

Even still, McAvoy said he was such a big fan of graphic novels (“I was terrified in parts of the comics when I was a teenager, but they were impossible to let go”) that he wanted to be sure. that the audio adaptation of the series would do the story justice. “Right away I knew that if Dirk was at the helm this story would be told correctly and by someone who really understood the original source.”

He added that he quickly learned that Maggs was a true veteran of the comic book world. “He understands the drama of this type of storytelling better than anyone,” he said.

On Gaiman, McAvoy explained that the acclaimed author was able to create the world in the first place in a way that no one else would. “I think DC gave him that thinking he was going to write a whole range of comics that existed in the worlds they already had,” McAvoy explained. “Instead, Neil got his own vision and he took creative control and they let him run with it.”

Professor X and Netflix

In the DC Universe, Gaiman weaves character interactions between Morpheus and DC icons like Batman and Superman. Perhaps a less likely interaction, however, would be for Morpheus to meet another character McAvoy has previously portrayed: “Professor X and Morpheus both love working in people’s minds, so there is a playing field. defined where the two could work together, “he said. But since the rights to X-Men officially belong to Marvel, which is owned by Disney, McAvoy said such a collaboration could be complicated. “This is something that great chefs and creative executives need to understand,” he said.

By appearing in Netflix’s upcoming TV adaptation of The sand man, McAvoy said he was not involved in the project, “but never say never”. He said he knew the TV version of the character of Morpheus was already played by Tom Sturridge (On the road, pirate radio), but he said he’d be willing to do another title, “if it’s a fun role, a good part, and if they pay me mountains of money,” he laughed. .

In the meantime, audiences will have to appreciate the level of engagement McAvoy has already shown as the voice of the iconic character. “Even though it was just me, Dirk and a sound engineer in the recording booth, I felt all the emotions and I hope listeners can tell,” he said. . “I was standing, I was screaming, I was moving.” He added that although he had to convey the whole essence of Morpheus through his voice alone, “when I play the Lord of Dreams, I don’t feel limited.”

The Sandman: Act II is available exclusively at Audible from September 22, 2021.


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