Joseph Gordon-Levitt was initially attached to an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series. Published via the DC imprint Vertigo from 1989-1996, Sandman has been in development hell for over 25 years and now according to THR, the latest recruit has been revealed as the writer of 2011’s The Thing prequel, Eric Heisserer. As a writer, Heisserer has been responsible for scripting duties on numerous horror projects, including Final Destination 5, 2010’s A Nightmare On Elm Street reboot and as a contributor to James Wan’s The Conjuring 2. While I despite its glaring missteps (
too much homage kills and not anything origianl inspite all of the new special effects inventions since the original almost 20+ years ago) I personally liked the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot, especially the more realistic and terrifying character of Freddy masterfully played by, Jackie Earle Haley. I just pray that the new upcoming reboot learns from the first ones mistakes how ever having the writing credits to Final Destination 5 and the Thing “prequel” leave me with less that high hopes.
New Line hopes to make a trilogy of the Sandman series, which is based on the dark horror tale of Morpheus, who rules his kingdom as the personification of dreams. After being kidnapped by an occult ritual and imprisoned for 70 years, Morpheus escapes and wages war against his captors as he attempts to rebuild his kingdom. The main problem that has kept the film from seeing the light of day is its lengthy and disparate episodic format, which creates problems in terms of creating one continuous narrative.
As Gordon-Levitt summed it up last summer:
“It’s not like Watchmen, which is a graphic novel that has a beginning, middle and end. To try and take [the entire Sandman series] and make it into something that’s a feature film — a movie that has a beginning, middle and end — is complicated.”
Personally as being such a “episodic” creation I would highly suggest creating a miniseries or series on one of the premium cable networks.
Unfortunately, a Gordon-Levitt-driven Sandman is no longer in the cards. Citing differences of opinion with the studio regarding what made the comic great, the actor-director has removed himself from the production completely.
Gordon-Levitt broke the news himself via a Facebook post. He explained that he was pleased with the progress that he, Gaiman, David Goyer, and screenwriter Jack Thorne were making with the film. Unfortunately, when Warner Bros. shifted the Vertigo comic catalog to New Line, problems started to arise. You can see the full text of his Facebook post below:
So, as you might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, a while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN. Neil himself came on as an executive producer, we hired the excellent screenwriter, Jack Thorne, and we started in on the ambitious task of adapting one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics. I was pleased with the progress we were making, even though we still had quite a ways to go.
Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta “ownership” (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And a few months ago, I came to realize that the folks at New Line and I just don’t see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special, and what a film adaptation could/should be. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project. I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.
I’d like to thank all the great people I’ve had the opportunity to work with on this one. I’ve had a blast with and learned a ton from David and Jack. Niija Kuykendall, Greg Silverman, and everyone at Warner Brothers have been fantastic, as have Geoff Johns and everyone at DC. And it’s been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman, whose generous insights and masterful work have certainly convinced me that the Lord of Dreams and the Prince of Stories are one and the same Endless pattern.
Source: Joseph Gordon Levitt