August 16, 2022


“The present makes you query, take into consideration issues and look into your self. It speaks to you”: Tom Sturridge and Vivienne Acheampong on The Sandman

The Sandman is a ten-part Netflix fantasy sequence tailored from the comics by author Neil Gaiman. The story follows the seize of Morpheus, the King Of Desires, who’s imprisoned for over a century earlier than escaping and getting down to restore his kingdom. In his absence, the realm has crumbled and the steadiness between the waking world and the unconscious has faltered. The Upcoming had the pleasure of talking with Tom Sturridge about his function as Morpheus, how he ready for his physicality and what he considered embodying the character, and to Vivienne Acheampong, who performs his loyal companion, Lucienne, and the character’s half in serving to to revive the equilibrium.

How did you get into character? Have been there any particular pictures or panels from the comedian that impressed your physicality?

Tom Sturridge: The thought of attempting to create this character was essentially a daunting one as a result of it’s one thing I care about a lot. There’s a line that John Dee says within the comics, the place he’s driving to search out the ruby with this character referred to as Rosemary, and he says, “Desires are actual, however they’re product of viewpoints, reminiscences, pictures, dangerous puns and misplaced hope.” I’m fairly certain that’s the mix of issues I used to make my character. I believe so far as physicality goes, Morpheus, after we first meet him in our story, he’s imprisoned, bare in a glass sphere, and doesn’t communicate for the primary 45 minutes. So his physique is the one method I might talk, and it was actually necessary for me to determine a method to inform an viewers, “This isn’t a human.” I solely used the pictures from the graphic novels to get to that place. Morpheus has grown leaner in metabolising the subconsciousness of the universe – he’s misplaced all his flesh, simply sinew and bones – so I wished to get to that time. He appeared like a panther that had been shaved. What was thrilling about not having the ability to communicate was you additionally needed to be taught a method to talk together with your physique. 

Vivienne Acheampong: For me, as a result of we’ve created this world that’s so immersive and every part feels so actual and so detailed, being in that and being within the tailor-made costume that Lucienne has is so unbelievable which you could’t assist however be upright and maintain your self in a sure method, You by no means see Lucienne slouching or being informal. That basically helped me after I stepped into these fits or jackets – it simply actually reworked my physique. 

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How do you assume Morpheus balances out the darker moments with emotional ones within the sequence? 

TS: The primary factor I can consider with Morpheus is, because the curator of all of our desires, as the one who holds the desires of each sentient being within him, he subsequently is aware of how everybody feels. It’s a profound act of empathy. So, early on in conversations with Neil, I discovered he’s somebody who accommodates a rare quantity of feeling; however, in his obligations and duties, he should suppress that, as a result of if he expresses it, the results could be catastrophic for everybody’s unconscious. I at all times really feel he’s somebody holding down the burning within him. There are tiny moments in our sequence the place just a little little bit of that seeps out and it was tough to choose and select when to indicate what was within him, however I believe that’s an enchanting a part of his character. However I do assume there are some actually sadistic moments from him on this too. With Alex Burgess – he ends him, with Joanna’s girlfriend – he ends her, with the Corinthian, his child – he ends him. I believe it has the sadism as nicely. 

Have been there any facets from different characters that you just envied or wished you had? 

TS: The sincere reply is “No.” I really like Morpheus a lot, I wouldn’t need to change him in any method, form or kind. I’m intrigued – much less so in our present, however within the historical past of him is his relationship with love and, particularly, with romantic love. If you happen to see episode 4, In Hell, there’s a second with Nada, who is among the previous loves of his life, and when she refuses to be with him, he condemns her to hell ceaselessly. 

VA: I’m a bit like Tom, truly. I really like Lucianne a lot – she has so many qualities that I believe are unbelievable; I believe I’d like them extra for myself. She’s so compassionate, has a lot empathy, she’s non-judgmental and he or she genuinely needs the most effective for others. I imply if she have been to go fully rogue, she’d go actually far – one thing just like the Corinthian, to be fully damaging and never care. 

How was it for you, filming these scenes then watching them again post-production and seeing all of it coming collectively?

VA: I’ve to say, not even simply our scenes – it’s actually emotional. It’s actually extraordinary. However not as a result of I really feel like I haven’t seen it earlier than – as a result of, sure, the crumbling partitions are inexperienced display screen, however a lot of this was truly actual. That library that you just see has actual books. It’s all so visually unbelievable.

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Has the making of this present modified your personal perspective of dreaming? 

TS: It’s made me way more contemplative about my desires – extra anxious to take management of them after I’m within them, not in an “emulating Morpheus” method, however I’m extra conscious of the potential {that a} human being can create something. And also you begin to assume in the event you’re inside your personal desires, that truly you may have that functionality. Truly, possibly I’m channelling Morpheus!

VA: I at all times lean into desires anyway – I write my desires down, I attempt to interpret them. However, for me, the nightmare facet of issues has actually intrigued me as a result of I believe I’m fairly dismissive of nightmares. I’m going, “My god that was terrible,” however then I don’t give it some thought. However, doing this, I’m extra like, “It’s saying one thing, there’s a humanity there, what are these nightmares attempting to inform me about my unconscious thoughts?”. So it’s made me assume in another way in relation to my nightmares. 

Had you learn any of the graphic novels earlier than taking over the function? How did you method them?

TS: It was in my head, Sandman. I knew the title – it was one thing I used to be aware of, and what Morpheus appeared like, however I hadn’t learn it when the start of the casting course of happened. However, for quite a few causes, the casting course of took a very long time: eight months. However I didn’t get the half after which get a field of comics and go “F*** I’ve acquired to learn them” – I simply acquired intrigued slowly about being part of it, and skim the primary one. Then, as a fan of that first textual content, I simply continued studying. I should have learn all 2,000 pages of it seven instances; I turned obsessive about it. I genuinely consider it’s some of the necessary items of literature over the past 30 years. The opposite factor that was lovely about having the ability to immerse your self in it’s that it’s so uncommon, with a personality, that you’ve got this bible to return to – yow will discover the solutions to any query you might need, and that’s simply extraordinary. It was like Indiana Jones: you’d have an issue and also you’d dive into the problems, looking out the textual content for the solutions. 

What was most fascinating about enjoying Lucienne? How did you see her relationship with Morpheus?

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VA: I believe, for me, what was fascinating about Lucienne is that she is simply so loyal, hardworking, needs the most effective for the realm and needs the most effective for Morpheus. That’s what’s necessary to her. She is aware of in her thoughts each ebook that’s written – and even unwritten – and he or she retains all this info; and I get requested quite a bit if she is upset that Morpheus comes again, and completely not. She is in service to The Dreaming and Morpheus. She understands how necessary his work is as a result of The Dreaming is the place all of us go – all of us dream. It’s for everybody, and it’s this place the place you might be fully free – your wildest fantasies and deepest needs within the darkness. It’s a sacred and unbelievable place and it must be protected. I beloved enjoying her. 

The characters are virtually based mostly on summary concepts or ideas, versus concrete roles in the true world. Was that more durable to play?

TS: It’s more durable to get your head round it in the event you consider it in an summary context – you must put the character within the situ of actuality. It’s exhausting, although, to consider how a being like this would possibly behave. The Grasp of Desires actually does have an summary high quality to it; he understands how all of us really feel as a result of if you know the way everybody desires, you already know who everyone seems to be. In order that allowed me to contemplate him an awfully empathetic character. And, additionally, you probably have that accountability to retain the steadiness of everybody’s unconscious, you could have a rigour and a self-discipline to carry it altogether. So I believe that’s somebody who represses his emotions – as a result of if he didn’t it will have catastrophic penalties. There’s a method to get into it, if you consider it rigorously. 

VA: For me, it was that I consider on this world – Lucienne is the librarian of The Dreaming, as a result of whenever you’re in manufacturing, what’s lovely about Neil’s work is that it’s about humanity and it’s based mostly on the human situation. It’s the gravitas that you just give it. We now have a realm the place all of us go – it doesn’t discriminate. The present makes you query, take into consideration issues and look into your self. It speaks to you. 

Ezelle Alblas

The Sandman is launched on Netflix on 5th August 2022.

Learn our overview of The Sandman right here.

Watch the trailer for The Sandman right here: