Netflix’s upcoming Sweet Tooth is an oddity among the streamer’s recent comics adaptations, favoring a stripped-down post-apocalypse world to the big superhero bombast of Jupiter’s Legacy or The Umbrella Academy. In a new featurette released Monday, the show’s creators discuss the unique appeal of the story and detail its path from page to screen.
First published by DC Comics’ now-defunct Vertigo imprint in 2009, Sweet Tooth was created by Jeff Lemire and tells the story of Gus, a young boy with antlers, living in a world that fears and hates the animal-human hybrids that arose in the wake of a global pandemic. It’s a story that resonated with director Jim Mickle (In the Shadow of the Moon).
“I read Sweet Tooth when it first came out,” Mickle remarks. “I finished it and loved it. I think it was Jeff Lemire’s voice, and the way that he brings so much of himself.”
Robert Downey Jr., who is executive producing the series, was also attracted to the source material. “We heard there was this great graphic novel series,” he says. “And it just had this incredible emotional breadth of the storytelling.” Even so, the tone of the adaptation will be a bit lighter than that of the comics. “We felt we could really hold on to the themes, but make it a more enjoyable place,” says Susan Downey, who is also executive producing. “I just hope people have the experience that we get to have with our kids where we cuddle up on the couch and all watch it together.”
Far from a protective auteur, Lemire applauds these changes. “Some of the best parts of the show are some of the new characters,” he enthuses. Indeed, he expresses excitement at the prospect of adapting his work. “To see something that you created in a sketchbook walking in front of you on a film set — it’s wonderful.”
“Credit to our amazing production team,” says Beth Schwartz (Arrow), who is co-showrunning the series with Mickle. “The head of the art department and the head of costume. They saw the hopefulness and the special world. They really brought the pages to life.”
The cast includes Christian Convery (Gus), Nonso Anozie (Tommy Jepperd), Adeel Akhtar (Dr. Aditya Singh), Aliza Vellani (Rani Singh), Stefania LaVie Owen (Bear), Dania Ramirez (Aimee Eden), Neil Sandilands (General Abbot), with Will Forte (Father) and James Brolin (Narrator).
Sweet Tooth premieres on Netflix on June 4. Check out the featurette below: