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The Sandman star wasn’t influenced by James McAvoy’s Dream

Tom Sturridge is the second actor to step into the role – but the first to do so in live-action.

Tom Sturridge plays Dream in The Sandman
Netflix
Published: Thursday, 4th August 2022 at 5:34 pm
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The Sandman star Tom Sturridge has revealed that he "didn't listen" to the Audible adaptation of Neil Gaiman's famous comic book, in which his role was played by His Dark Materials star James McAvoy.

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The epic fantasy saga follows Dream of the Endless, who rules over dreams and nightmares in his otherworldly kingdom, but finds his power sapped away after spending an entire century imprisoned by occultists.

When he finally breaks free, it is his duty to restore order to a world that has fallen into chaos, as previously depicted in Gaiman's original The Sandman comic book and the recent Audible version.

Despite feeling some trepidation over finding Dream's voice, Sturridge told RadioTimes.com that he didn't consult McAvoy's interpretation as a reference, choosing instead to base it entirely on the original source material and Gaiman's advice.

"It's really strange because I love these books so much," he said. "I've read them over and over again and you feel so familiar with each character when you've done that, but you forget that you've never heard them. You really do forget that."

One source of inspiration was Dream's speech bubbles in the graphic novels, where his voice is depicted in wavy, at times jagged, black boxes with a lettering style distinct from the other characters – often switching between lower case and capitals.

"That does evoke something in me; I can't necessarily hear the voice, but I can hear the feeling," continued Sturridge. "And then very simply, I asked Neil, 'what does he sound like?'.

"And he told me that he is the voice inside of your head. He's the voice that lulls you to sleep and that guides you through your dreams, which means that it has to have an authority and even a danger, but it has to be seductive enough for you to accept the invitation to follow him."

Vivienne Acheampong plays Lucienne in The Sandman
Vivienne Acheampong plays Lucienne in The Sandman Netflix

On the topic of not being swayed by the Audible version, Sturridge's co-star Vivienne Acheampong – who plays the Dreaming's resident librarian Lucienne – added that "it just all feels very different".

"I think that's why it's so special and I think that's why we're so lucky that we have Neil Gaiman, and that this is another version of something that he's created," she said.

"Because we've got the comics, we've got the Audible – which I absolutely love – but at no moment did I even consider that because, for this, we were given such freedom. It was so collaborative."

The Sandman boasts a star-studded cast that also includes Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Boyd Holbrook (Logan) and Stephen Fry (Heartstopper).

The Sandman is available to stream on Netflix from Friday 5th August. Sign up for Audible now via Amazon.

Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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