Neverwhere: All the past, present, and future Neil Gaiman on-screen adaptations
If you’re a big lover of dark fantasy, macabre sci-fi visions, and absurdist storytelling capable of blowing your mind clean into an undiscovered cosmos, you must be a fan of Neil Gaiman. Since the early 00s the illustrious writer and his vivid work have been favored by various filmmakers for his unique vision and voice and in recent years Gaiman’s popularity has been evident in the number of further movies & TV adaptations being made of his work. Here are all the past, present, and future adaptations of Gaiman’s work you need to know about.
This beloved, macabre animation based on Gaiman’s 2002 dark fantasy children’s novella follows a girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who discovers an alternate world through a secret door. Though she’s originally thrilled to discover this new dimension that mirrors her own world but ultimately appears far superior, she’s forced to fight for her original life when her Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) creepily tries to keep her in this new home forever.
Be still our beating hearts, because this fantasy romance from Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is one of the best of its kind and one of the most faithful Gaiman adaptations ever accomplished. Featuring swoonworthy performances from Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Claire Danes (Romeo + Juliet), and Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Minds), the film is utterly irresistible even if the ending is a way more optimistic and Hollywood than Gaiman’s is.
Dave McKean’s (The Gospel of Us) unique and offbeat dark fantasy movie follows a frustrated young woman (Stephanie Leonidas) who loses her temper and wishes her mom was dead only to see her cruel wish devastatingly becoming true. As she discovers her desperation to do anything to reverse the curse she’s wished upon her mother, she’s pulled into a stunning yet sinister surreal landscape that’s nothing short of jaw dropping.
If you’ve managed to actually watch this British TV show from Gaiman and comedian Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), you’re either a major Gaiman obsessive or just a total anglophile. Either way, the show offers everything Gaiman fans could wish for from a story, following a man who finds his life turned literally upside down as he discovers a “London Below” that’s significantly different and invisible from the citizens of “London Above”.
It pains us to talk about Lucifer in the past tense already given that the Fox show has only just been cancelled (in yet another strange culling by the network) but here we are – the world is nonsense. While some fans have raged against how Lucifer “misuses” Gaiman’s story, some critics have celebrated the show for “doing something else” with the source material described as a “difficult property to develop for broadcast.” Either way, there’s no denying the show (starring Tom Ellis & Lauren German) worked well with Gaiman’s cues in exploring the OG fallen angel retiring from Hell to live it up in Los Angeles.
Released earlier this month, John Cameron Mitchell’s (Rabbit Hole) adaptation of Gaiman’s 2006 science fiction book sees Alex Sharp (To the Bone) playing a young punk and Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon) as his alien lover as they go on a frenetic adventure through 70s London. In an interview with Film School Rejects, the unique filmmaker and actor suggested certain scenes in the film were adapted slightly from the source material to be “a Brexit metaphor”. He also highlighted the reasoning behind the aliens of his film being cannibalistic of their own kin and why the central love story takes on a new significance. “It takes an alien from the ‘free will colony’ and a punk to create a new colony because love is a possible way out of this suicide complex, since they’re going to eat their children until they peacefully pass away.”
American Gods (2017-)
The only TV show where you’ll see Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) depict David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe, American Gods is such a faithful adaptation of Gaiman’s acerbic, surrealistic novel, it left (and will no doubt continue to leave) jaws dropping across America as S1 played out. S2 of the show is on its way but it’s anyone guess as to when precisely it’ll premiere on Starz. Possibly 2019? Hopefully. We need our fix of Ricky Whittle (Austenland), Ian McShane (Deadwood), and all the most bananas visuals a TV show can possibly cram into 60 minutes as soon as humanly possible.
Good Omens (2019)
Oh God, it’s been an eternity already that we’ve all been waiting for this highly anticipated adaptation of the 1990 apocalypse fantasy from Gaiman and beloved author Terry Pratchett. Not only is it starring David Tennant (Bad Samaritan) and Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) as the Crowley and Aziraphale – the angel and demon who put aside their differences to team up in prevention of the end of the world – but as any fan of Good Omens will tell you, it’s been ripe for a terrific live-action adaptation for decades. The show is apparently due for release in 2019 on Amazon Prime and probably around the same time as American Gods S2 premieres, right? So we can all go gaga for Gaiman at once (hopefully)!
Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the strange children’s time travelling yarn stars Johnny Depp (Black Mass) in the lead role and hails from a script by Bret McKenzie. The story focuses on a father who returns from a trip to the store for some milk only to return with mysterious stories about aliens and space pirates. We at least trust this in the hands of Wright and McKenzie but we’re a little worried about having Depp anywhere near another project involving pirates. The film is currently in development with no other details available as to when it might be ready to hit theaters.