Now in Paper-Vision: Neil Gaiman and Stardust

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I wrote a short profile of Neil Gaiman in the print magazine this week. It’s here. For those curious about Gaiman’s presumably-now-lost English school novel, the full quote is as follows (I only had a measly page for this piece):

“Many years ago, when I was 17, I plotted my own story set in an English public school. Most of which I’ve now forgotten. I do remember that the hero was a werewolf, and whenever kids were accidentally killed, the biology teacher would snaffle the body – he was building this boy in the basement out of bits. And at the end all of the dead teachers came back to life, there was sort of this plague of zombies ripping the thing apart. And our decapitated hero had his eyes pecked out by the school peacock. And that for me was like trying to write a version of my own public school experience that was nicer and more fun.”

I can’t help but feel for the young Neil Gaiman, whose name is even more easily mockable than my own.

The reason someone like Gaiman would have lunch with someone like me is that he’s stumping for Stardust, which is, amazingly, the first big Hollywood movie based on one of his books. According to Gaiman, the big studios have been trying to get Stardust made for years — Miramax optioned it in 1999, and had talks with Tom Cruise’s production company (were they going to rename it Legend 2: Return of Meg Mucklebones?), but it stalled, and the rights reverted to Gaiman, who was relieved. He’s friends with Alan Moore, and he’d seen what Moore went through with his movie adaptations. Not pretty.