Sandman is not an easy property to adapt, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David S. Goyer have been working hard to bring the beloved Neil Gaiman property to the big screen for years now. Unfortunately, just 24 hours after it was revealed that Eric Heisserer (a scribe responsible for terrible horror reboots/sequels like A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Thing, and Final Destination 5) has been hired to write the screenplay, we have more bad news.
Despite being attached to the project since 2013, Levitt took to social media to make it clear that he’s no longer involved with the passion project he was at one point rumoured to both direct and star in. That’s definitely a major setback for Sandman and a blow to fans.
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.
It was similar creative differences which led to True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga parting ways with New Line over his ambitious plans for Stephen King’s It, so it’s now hard not to be somewhat concerned about what’s next for Sandman. While it would be unfair to say that the movie is doomed, it becoming just another generic blockbuster feels like a real possibility…