Neil Gaiman Looks Beyond ‘Stardust’ And Into ‘Death’

So now that “Stardust” is getting ready to hit theaters this summer (read all about Gaiman and ’Stardust’ here), what’s the status of all the other Neil Gaiman projects due for the big screen? Gaiman gave us the lowdown on all his upcoming film related works in a recent interview.

After “Stardust,” his adaptation of “Beowulf” (along with Roger Avery) — as a motion-capture film starring the voices of Angelina Jolie, Crispin Glover, and Anthony Hopkins– is next, due for release this November, after having written the script 10 years ago. “I had to do something very similiar with ’Beowulf’ that we did with ’Stardust,'” Gaiman told MTV News — which is condense, condense, condense. “It’s a lovely 8th Century old English manuscript, which takes place from when Beowulf is 18 to when he’s 60. It’s perfect as a poem, and we still keep a lot in, but you do a certain amount of damage if you keep everything.”

Then, around Halloween 2008, the stop-motion animated 3-D “Coraline” will be ready for release, with the voices of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. “I’ve learned to only let go if it’s to people you trust,” Gaiman said, “and I trust Henry Selick (’The Nightmare Before Christmas’). I’ve seen about 10 to 15 minutes of completed footage, and it’s lovely.” “Good Omens” has Terry Gilliam aboard to direct, but needs financing.

Gaiman’s still planning to direct “Death: The High Cost of Living” himself — but still no word on the cast or which studio. “It may still be New Line, but Warner Independent is keen on it too,” he said. While he kept an eye out during “Stardust” casting sessions for potentials for the role of Death herself, Gaiman is a little unsure whether Shia LaBeouf will still play Sexton. “Shia really wanted the part,” Gaiman said, “and it’s not that he’s too big after ’Transformers,’ or whether I could get him after he’s in the new ’Indiana Jones,’ but he’s growing up fast. Can he pass for 17 for that much longer? That might have been just about it after ’Transformers.’ He’s becoming an adult, but he’s one of ’Death’s’ biggest supporters, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were in it.”

Also supporting “Death” now is Guillermo del Toro, who’s come aboard as an executive producer. Gaiman’s going to visit him on set for “Hellboy 2” in Budapest to shadow and learn from him — but wouldn’t it also be cool if he got a cameo in the movie as well, considering he didn’t get a chance for one in “Stardust”? “I should!” Gaiman laughed. “All the scenes I was on set for in ’Stardust’ weren’t ones where they could fit me in, like the witch’s inn, never where I could be knocking back a beer at the bar and you could slip me in. That would be kind of funny if I end up in ’Hellboy 2.'”