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Understandably for a show called The Sandman, much of Netflix‘s series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic is concerned with the journey of Lord of Dreams, himself. And yet, both Gaiman’s comic and Netflix’s show still have six other members of “The Endless” to portray.
Among the most interesting of The Sandman’s “siblings” is Desire, played by Mason Alexander Park. Desire is the third youngest of The Endless and the twin of Despair (naturally). Androgynous, beautiful, and cruel, Desire is perhaps the toughest Endless to fully comprehend. Why does the heart want what the heart wants? It’s up to Gaiman, Netflix, and ultimately Park to figure that out.
Den of Geek spoke with the actor (who you may know from their many theater roles, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, and the upcoming Quantum Leap reboot) about Desire’s role in this uniquely dysfunctional celestial family.
Den of Geek: Who is Desire to you and what was their appeal?
Mason Alexander Park: Well, Desire is deeply appealing to me as an actor, a fan of this world and a fan of Neil Gaiman. Desire is any aspect of desire that you can think of in your own experience with the word, and with the actual feeling. It’s really a complicated thing to think about the concept of desire and how it manifests in a million different ways, both positive and negative, sexual and emotional. To be able to look at the character’s choices and relationship with Dream through that lens is such a beautiful roadmap that explains their behavior, which definitely needs explanation sometimes.
What’s the nature of Desire’s relationship with Dream?
Desire really is a bit of an antagonist but isn’t a traditional antagonist by any means. They’re just doing what they really are meant to do, what they’re designed to do, and not really straying from that. It’s kind of amazing that there’s both good, and I don’t want to say evil because Desire is in no way evil, but malicious intent. Desire’s always up to something, so you get to play with both sides. It’s someone who is both all the good, amazing things that you want and need and also the darker stuff, too.
Does Desire have the chance to change in the show like Dream?
I think Desire is constantly changing. I think that’s built into who they are. I think that the character is ever-evolving and ever-changing, in the same way that our desires are changing, moment to moment, second to second, day to day.
It really comes down to a dysfunctional family…
That’s what makes it so much fun, and so human, and real, which is hilarious. These characters are everything that is human and also everything that is not, in a very strange way. It’s fun to see the humanity and the dynamics that we would recognize as an audience play out in such a grandiose way over millennia. It’s exciting to think we’re not that different. That’s what makes it really fun and also really accessible as an actor to play these parts.
The Sandman premieres on Netflix on Aug. 5.