The Sandman blends fantasy, horror, and more throughout its first season, resulting in some episodes that are frightening and gory, and others that are more moving or hopeful. You could very well find yourself recoiling in disgust one minute and tearing up the next. One of the more heartbreaking scenes comes in episode 2, and Total Film sat down with stars Vivienne Acheampong and Tom Sturridge to discuss how filming the moment left them feeling misty-eyed.
Warning: spoilers for The Sandman episode 2 ahead. Turn back now if you have not watched the second episode of the Netflix series.
Having escaped Roderick Burgess' prison after 100 years in the opener, Dream – or Morpheus as he's sometimes known – attempts to regain some of his power and contact the Fates. In his efforts, he pays a visit to Cain (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and Abel (Asim Chaudhry) and informs the pair that he's going to have to "reabsorb" a former creation of his, their sweet-natured pet gargoyle Gregory.
"For the sake of The Dreaming, I must take back a gift I gave you long ago," Dream (Sturridge) explains as Cain and Abel protest, before the creature silently agrees to sacrifice himself for the greater good and purrs his goodbyes. "You have served this kingdom with great honor," Dream tells the beast as he starts fading away. "You will be missed." It's tissue-requiring stuff.
"They made a beautiful head, and there was a puppeteer holding it, which was really important to me. It's an emotional scene and to put it simply, you just needed a face to connect with," Sturridge tells us. "It was an exquisite piece of construction."
"I felt very emotional filming that scene. It's so sad," Acheampong adds. "But yeah, it was amazing."
"The lovely thing about Sandman is that each episode is different," Gaiman explains in a separate interview. "We may take you to somewhere very dark, or we might do something like episode six, where you get to meet Death or you get to spend 800 years in a pub.
"If we do it right, we might even make you cry during that. You're just gonna have the most wonderful time, and we can do both. There was no attempt at any point from anyone to change was Sandman is. They all knew that they had bought this thing. They knew that [showrunner] Allan [Heinberg] and I were going to make it Sandman.
"I don't ever recall any points where they were like, 'Could you make it less Sandman?' It was always, 'You know what you're doing'. Even if they were slightly nervous, and even if they were saying 'you know what you're doing' in a voice that possibly indicated that they weren't entirely sure that we did."
We also spoke to Gwendoline Christie and more about The Sandman, which you can read through that link. All 10 episodes of the series are available to stream now. If dark fantasy isn't your bag, and you're overwhelmed by the amount of content on the platform, then check out our guide to the best Netflix shows for some viewing inspiration.