Neil Gaiman is in high demand. Season 2 of American Gods is in the works from Bryan Fuller and Michael Green; How to Talk to Girls at Parties, a film adapted from a Gaiman short story and starring Nicole Kidman, premiered at Cannes this year. He’s show-running the upcoming Amazon series Good Omens — adapted from his apocalyptic novel, co-written with Terry Pratchett — which boasts an impressive roster of actors, including David Tennant, Michael Sheen, and Jon Hamm.
And now, we’ll be getting another small dose of Gaiman in the upcoming annual Simpsons Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII,” which includes a Coraline-inspired segment in which Lisa becomes “Coralisa” and Gaiman becomes the voice of the Simpsons’ cat, Snowball V.
Nails GOULman (as he’s referenced in the Treehouse of Horror’s traditional spooky credits) found a few minutes to chat about his feline alter-ego and other adaptations he’d like to see Simpson-ified.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were actually on The Simpsons once before, as yourself — or a very conniving version of yourself.
NEIL GAIMAN: I was on The Simpsons in an episode called “The Book Job,” which is now widely regarded, I’m told, as one of the great Simpsons episodes of the last decade, which makes me kind of happy.
I got to be Evil Neil Gaiman, so I was vaguely hoping that Evil Neil Gaiman who cannot read would actually come back for a Treehouse of Horror, because how often do you get to be a proper Simpsons villain? But instead, they said how would I like to be a cat.
But you got to be a very important cat!
What’s lovely is I get to be two cats at the same time: I get to be the cat in Coraline, and I get to be a Snowball.
So did Simpsons approach you with the idea to adapt Coraline?
It’s one of these things where having played me, they now have my phone number. I think at the point they decided they had to do “Coralisa,” they also decided they had to get me involved in it somehow, what with it being me. So they sent me the script and I thought, “This looks really, really fun.”
I wish they could have done actual stop motion, the way that Coraline was actually done. What they did — which is beautiful — is CGI animation fully rendered that sort of looks a lot like [stop motion] but I sort of look at it and go, “Oh, but wouldn’t it have been amazing if they had made little Lisas and Barts and everybody and had them move around?”
I imagine that takes a really long time though, right?
It really does. I remember when we made Coraline itself, I was shocked to discover that on a really, really good day when nothing went wrong and they didn’t have to retake anything, they would make maybe seven seconds. You have to be very, very patient, because one thing I also learned, is that when they do stop motion, they also rehearse everything. So, everything is done twice, to make sure that it works.
I suppose being a voice actor is fun, because you get in there, and you do the cat, and then you’ve done your bit. You’re in there and out of there in half an hour, or less.
If you were turning any of your other stories into Treehouse of Horror segments, which would you choose?
Doing Sandman — turning the Endless family into the Simpsons — would be kind of fabulous. I’m trying to decide whether Bart, Lisa, Marge, or Homer would be Dream. I think Lisa would have to be Death.
Maggie could be Delirium.
I was going to say; Maggie would have to be Delirium, just sort of moving along behind, trailing little frogs and things. That I’d love to see.
But who would be Dream? Bart has the hair, sort of.
It depends. If it’s a Bart story, it would have to be Bart. And Homer then would become Destiny, or maybe a new member of the Endless we’ve never before called Dinner. That would be amazing. A Sandman one.
Failing that, a Simpsons Graveyard Book would be fun, with Bart as the kid raised in the Graveyard, with Bart as Bod.
See, they have your phone number but that means you have theirs. I think it’s time to make that relationship work both ways.
Yes, because if there’s one thing I have, it’s lots and lots of time.
The Simpson’s annual Halloween episode, “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII,” airs Sunday, October 22 at 8pm ET on Fox.