A long-stalled adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 1993 miniseries Death: The High Cost of Living appears once again to be in development hell.
A collaboration with artist Chris Bachalo, the spinoff from Gaiman’s acclaimed Sandman series centered on Dream’s older sister Death as she takes a once-a-century sabbatical to live a day as a mortal. Gaiman, who wrote the screenplay, had planned to direct, with Guillermo del Toro coming on-board as executive producer. However, a writers strike in 2007 stalled the project’s momentum.
Now in an interview with Vulture, Gaiman said the movie has been stopped dead again, this time by the restructuring at Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment:
“We kept almost getting it together, you know, like somebody climbing up the edge of a well. You’re an inch or two away from the top, and then you fall to the bottom and suddenly the film company isn’t there anymore or whatever. We just set it up again at a Warner-related company and everything was all ready. It was weird, though. If you had asked me in March of this year about Death, I would have told you that I thought it was pretty definitely dead. And if you’d asked me in April, I would have been thrilled and happy and said, ‘No, no, no, it’s absolutely on.’ And then in June, July, the new powers that be at DC and Warner basically closed everything down. […] So everything got closed down for reevaluation to decide what it was, to decide if they were making it or not. And Death is one of those things that’s been closed down. So, whether or not it will come back to life, I don’t know. Death seems amazingly hard to kill. And the truth is I will be happy either way. It was one of those things where I really wanted to make a Death movie because I knew that for me, the tone of voice was the most important thing about the movie. I didn’t want somebody to make a bad Death movie anymore than I want anybody to make a bad Sandman movie or TV series or whatever. So that’s the bit that’s important to me: Is it any good?”
A television adaptation of The Sandman was announced in September.