'Sandman' cast and creator on fighting back against internet trolls

Yahoo Entertainment's Kevin Polowy caught up with the cast and creator of the new series 'The Sandman,' to discuss how they deal with internet trolls.

Video transcript

- Nightmares do not belong in the waking world.

- Oh, it turns out I fit right in.

KEVIN POLOWY: Norman Mailer famously called the comic strip-- the graphic novel series, I should say, a comic strip for intellectuals.


KEVIN POLOWY: Is the series-- is this a fantasy series for intellectuals?

TOM STRURRIDGE: I certainly think smart people will be satisfied with it, but I think it's for everyone. What is beautiful about "Sandman" is it's about dreams. And whether you are someone's parent, or someone's child, or someone's friend, or someone's lover, or a minotaur, or a siren, the one thing that unites all of us is that we dream. And so I hope that it's for everyone.

KIRBY HOWELL-BAPTISTE: It's for fans of epic fantasies, right? It is in that realm of "Game of Thrones," "Lord of the Rings." There's so many characters. There's so many worlds. There's so many storylines. What is so amazing about TV and film and literally moving pictures is it's show don't tell, right? So we're showing so many things. So it's I think it becomes much more accessible.

JENNA COLEMAN: And it's so interesting. Obviously, amongst us all, we've all been talking like, to define "Sandman," it's so hard. What is the show about? Like, kind of everything. Storytelling is so kind of vast, yet entirely human. It's very-- it's just so-- it's so big in those terms.

VANESU SAMUNYAI: It's got so many deep things that it ponders and so many existential questions. It's not just for intellectuals. I think it can be for anyone. I think it's a very digestible series. It's just a great piece overall.

VIVIENNE ACHEAMPONG: Before this role, I wasn't that familiar with the work. I'd heard of "Sandman," but I wasn't that familiar with it. And now being in it, reading the comics, and having seen the show, I'm like, anyone can watch this. I think fans will be like, oh, my god, this is amazing. But people who are new to it will be like, oh, my god, this is incredible.

- Tell us what power of dreams you have.

KEVIN POLOWY: Your cast today from top to bottom has talked about how much they've appreciated your position on social media, defending them and just not taking any [BLEEP] when it comes to the trolls. It's so unusual, and it's so refreshing to see. Can you talk about sort of what motivated you to just fire back at these people?

NEIL GAIMAN: Honestly, I know the rule is you're meant to ignore the trolls and not feed the trolls. But I would look at people sounding off on "Sandman," who obviously were not "Sandman" fans. What I would watch would be 60,000 "Sandman" fans going, oh, my gosh, this is-- of course, you're doing it this way.

Of course, you have a non-binary desire. Desire was always non-binary. That's brilliant casting. Or of course, Gwendoline for Lucifer, what amazing casting? And then, you'd get five or six people just trying to make a lot of fuss who'd never read "Sandman" in the first place. And I mostly decided that I was done with it because I know how good these performances are.

And I know what they're doing. And I know why I cast them. And if anybody wants to give me [BLEEP] about Kirby being cast as Death, my only question for them is, well, what part of her audition didn't you like? Because I was there, and I saw her audition. I know exactly. You may think you know why she was cast, but I know exactly who she was cast.

KIRBY HOWELL-BAPTISTE: I understand that people who have fell in love with something feel very attached to it. But I think the thing to remember is that one, this is a fantasy. Two, we are actors. We show up. We do the best job we can. And we hope that someone sees something in us and sees the way we can work together and cast us in those roles.

I mean, Neil has spoken to this so much. He went through thousands of auditions for all of these roles. And then we were hand-picked by the creator. So for me, I don't think I could say anything to the casting that Neil hasn't already said.

VIVIENNE ACHEAMPONG: As an actor in this, and Neil just having our backs and just believing in us and believing in this, is just makes it even more amazing.

GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: I wasn't even aware of any of this until a few weeks ago. But I have to say I wrote to Neil to thank him when I found out that he'd been standing up for us and trying to protect us. And I'm very moved by the love and responsibility he feels for his co-creators. And I appreciate it with all of my heart. I know we all do.

MASON ALEXANDER PARK: I mean, Neil is a badass. He's one-- you know, he's one of the greatest living authors of all time. And just the fact that we are adapting this in a time where he's not only completely ingrained in it and completely getting his DNA on every single frame of it, but that he can kind of clap back at people when they say certain things that actually aren't necessarily in line with the original context, or maybe aren't in line with what "Sandman" is more about, or what it represents in a greater world.

It's really nice because you don't often get that. A lot of times people are-- they're just kind of-- they're too busy to deal with the nonsense. But he's one of the funniest people to follow on Twitter. And just watch him troll people back, I get so much joy.

NEIL GAIMAN: Occasionally, I do feel like I am taking an enormous sledgehammer to squash the tiniest ounce. And you really shouldn't. But then again, they can be really irritating sometimes. And I want to-- and I'm proud of what we made.

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