Neil Gaiman's 'Simpsons' shocker: 'I actually had to act'

Nov. 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM ET

Writer Neil Gaiman guest stars as himself in an upcoming episode of "The Simpsons."

If voicing a cartoon walk-on as oneself sounds like the perfect, cushy job any star would love to land, think again. While “Sandman” creator and best-selling author Neil Gaiman enjoyed his recent work on “The Simpsons,” it wasn’t the celebrity cameo breeze he expected it to be.

Before getting the script for Sunday’s upcoming episode, entitled “The Book Job,” Gaiman imagined strolling in and laying down an easy, “Hi, I’m Neil Gaiman” sort of effort.

“The weirdest thing to me was that I actually had to act, which I really wasn’t expecting,” the author told reporters during a recent conference call. “I was actually having to act and stuff happened.”

While he wasn’t anticipating that, Gaiman wasn’t disappointed. Looking back, he thinks of the experience of playing himself on "The Simpsons" as “kind of weird and kind of wonderful.”

It was also, kind of nothing like the real Neil — a point he made while revealing more than a little of the plot surrounding his appearance.

“Truthfully, the real-life me almost never hangs around in Barnes & Noble-like bookstores waiting to find groups of local townsfolk who’ve decided to write pseudonymous young adult fantasy series, offering my services. And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be doing the catering.”

The role hardly marks the first time Gaiman's brought a version of himself to the screen. Earlier this year, he did a flesh-and-blood a guest spot on “The Guild” and just last year, he was featured in cartoon form on PBS’s “Arthur.” And if Gaiman gets his way, there’s one other role in his future.

“I’d really like to be a head in a jar on 'Futurama,'” he said.

And after that?

“I definitely don’t want to be a personality,” Gaiman explained. “I’m a writer, and I love doing goofy stuff too. But I think it’s time to go back to being a writer.”

See Gaimain as he joins Homer Simpson and the rest of the Springfield gang Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Will you tune in to see the author’s latest role? Tell us on our Facebook page.


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