Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we’re returning to the subject of a previous column, Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman.
In that first Sandman Cast Party, I promised to return to the topic and cast more roles, because Sandman has so many important characters. So we're keeping Adrien Brody as Dream, Jenna Coleman as Death, and so forth.
This time around, I'm casting some more inhabitants of the Dreaming, as well as the Court of Faerie and a few other characters from early in Sandman along the way. I particularly love imagining a prestige TV adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the story that won the 1991 World Fantasy Award.
Bill Hader as Cain
It actually comes up in the series that Cain talks like Vincent Price, and we definitely know Hader can do that. And he's so great at character work that he can still make it into more than an impression.
Bobby Moynihan as Abel
I figured it makes sense to pair Hader with another SNL guy, and Moynihan will make a great Abel. Maybe bring in a bit of Dom DeLuise to counter Hader's Price.
Maggie Smith, Kathy Burke, and Sophie Turner as the Witches
Three British actresses to play the Three Who Are One. Their importance will grow over the course of the series, just like it does in the comic.
Arthur Darvill as Will Shakespeare
Darvill will bring something really unique to the role of the younger Shakespeare of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and we can make him up to look older when it's time to do The Tempest.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Titania
Raw has both the beauty and the authority to play the queen of Faerie.
Ben Foster as Auberon
I don't think Auberon should be entirely CGI, but I like the idea of kind of digitally stretching him out, so his proportions aren't quite normal. Foster's already got an unusual quality to him, which that process will only accentuate.
Jordan Peele as the Puck
Peele excels at over-the-top bizarre characters. And while he generally uses that skill to be funny, I think it would be really interesting to see him push it into the realm of creepy as Robin Goodfellow.
Domhnall Gleeson as Cluracan
Gleeson's done a lot of interesting stuff, but he hasn't played a drunk gay elf yet, and I think he can pull it off.
Anna Kendrick as Nuala
The interesting thing about Kendrick is that she could play the glamorous Nuala and the mousey Nuala with just a minor change in makeup. Plus she can sing.
Aziz Ansari as Mervyn Pumpkinhead
Merv's main thing is complaining. Just putting Ansari's voice into that Jack O'Lantern will make his complaints a lot more amusing.
Nicki Minaj as Bast
Minaj has an Eartha Kitt-like quality that makes me think she'll be great as a cat-woman.
Paul Giamatti as Emperor Norton
Star of another great one-shot story, Three Septembers And A January, and also an actual historical figure. Giamatti's a great actor who can really animate the complexities of someone as unusual as Norton, the Emperor of the United States.