The Sandman cast Desire actor Mason Alexander Park after gutsy exchange with Neil Gaiman

Mason Alexander Park as Desire in The Sandman

The Sandman star Mason Alexander Park is proof that shooting your shot works.

Since The Sandman dropped on Netflix, viewers have been raving about Park’s performance as the chaotic, dynamic Desire.

The gender-fluid personification of desire, one of many queer and trans characters in the show, “slays so hard”, wrote one fan, with another calling their casting “perfection”.
Netflix has revealed that Park’s casting came out from them simply asking creator Neil Gaiman on Twitter to consider them.

During the early stages of production on the series, Gaiman tweeted: “People reading Sandman now are the last ones to get to read it in a world where there’s been no Sandman adaptation, where you can’t see it on a screen. I heard the groaning hinges of the world.”

Park tweeted in response: “Will Desire be making an appearance S1? And if so, please tell me you haven’t found them yet/are still auditioning.”
They included a GIF of Sarah Paulson saying: “I am begging you from my soul.”

At the time they had only played one-off roles in shows like Before You Know It and Transplants, later starring in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop. 

Luckily for Park, the tweet did not go unnoticed. Gaiman said not only was Desire in the show but pointed Park in the direction of the casting director.

Park echoed what everyone was thinking by replying: “You continue to be one of the coolest humans out there. Thank you for the info.”
Netflix resurfaced the exchange after The Sandman’s release (though it wrongly said Park slid into Gaiman’s DMs – the author confirmed they simply tweeted at them).

Gaiman has since reflected on Park’s journey, saying: “Mason’s reply began the process of getting [them] cast. But my original tweet now feels like it was written from a time that’s passed. The groaning hinges of the world indeed.”

Park replied: “Endlessly grateful.”

Fans have taken inspiration from Park’s success and the perfect way the casting unravelled.

“Brb, getting this tweet printed out poster-size for motivational purposes,” one person tweeted.

Another took advantage of the perfect pun opportunity: “If you Desire it, you can make it happen.”
“They knew what they wanted, went for it, and were absolute perfection,” another person praised.

As well as Desire, The Sandman also introduces viewers to Johanna Constantine, a bisexual occult detective, and The Corinthian, a gay mystical nightmare. There are multiple queer subplots, a hallmark of Gaiman’s original comic books.

The Sandman comics came out in the early ’90s, and Gaiman was resolute on including queer and trans characters from the start, to reflect his diverse friendship group.