The Sandman: Kirby Howell-Baptiste on What Makes This Death So Special

With Netflix's upcoming The Sandman adaptation from creator, EP & co-writer Neil Gaiman (Good Omens); EP, co-writer & showrunner Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman); and EP & co-writer David S. Goyer (Foundation) heading to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this week ahead of its August 5th premiere, Kirby Howell-Baptiste is sharing some thoughts on playing Death, Morpheus aka Dream's (Tom Sturridge) sibling. First up, fans of the comics will appreciate Death's first appearance happening in an episode titled "The Sound of Her Wings" (check out The Sandman #8), and from what Gaiman had to share previously, viewers should expect to have their minds blown by Howell-Baptiste's performance. "We saw a lot of Deaths, well into the many hundreds. But Kirby had a quality that was unique of being able to speak honestly to power," Gaiman revealed. "That honesty, and the fact that she could deliver those lines and you believe them, were what sold me on Kirby 100 percent. We had supermodels, we had all sorts of amazing people a lot more famous than Kirby auditioning. But I didn't believe they were Death. I didn't believe they were Tom's [Sturridge] big sister that could boss him around. Then Kirby came on, and it was just like, 'I love you, I believe you, and you're it.'" Now here's a look at what Howell-Baptiste had to say during an interview with EW:

sandman
The Sandman. (L to R) Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Tom Sturridge as Dream in episode 106 of The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

On What Makes Gaiman's Death So Special: "Most of the time when we see a representation of Death, it's so focused on the end. But this character says, 'I was there in the beginning, and I'll be there in the end.' Death is born of life. I think there's something very beautiful and cyclical about her position in the world because it's so much about the full journey that she is there for. That lends itself to a more feminine energy — there is this much more nurturing, caring side to Death than we've ever seen before."

On Howell-Baptiste & Sturridge's Sibling Chemistry: "It's rare to get presented with a role where you already know so much about the world. Because we both knew our characters so well and were both so invested, we came together really easily. Tom [Sturridge] and I have this natural chemistry for a sibling relationship."

A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he's made during his vast existence.

"For the last thirty-three years, the Sandman characters have breathed and walked around and talked in my head. I'm unbelievably happy that now, finally, they get to step out of my head and into reality. I can't wait until the people out there get to see what we've been seeing as Dream and the rest of them take flesh, and the flesh belongs to some of the finest actors out there," said Gaiman in a statement coinciding with the initial casting news on the series. "This is astonishing, and I'm so grateful to the actors and to all of The Sandman collaborators — Netflix, Warner Bros., DC, to Allan Heinberg and David Goyer, and the legions of crafters and geniuses on the show — for making the wildest of all my dreams into reality."

Stemming from Warner Bros. TV, Netflix's The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Donna Preston, Jenna Coleman, Niamh Walsh, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Kyo Ra, Stephen Fry, Razane Jammal, Sandra James Young, Patton Oswalt, and Mark Hamill.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.