What a quick 180 from a couple of days ago for the Sandman project. It wasn’t but a day ago that news came through that the Sandman movie for New Line Cinema had found its scriptwriter in Eric Heisserer. After taking a big leap forward in the next stages of making this film happen, they take a huge leap back with the departure of Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was set to direct and star in the Live Action adaptation of one of DC/Vertigo’s most enchanting and complex characters in Sandman.
Citing creative differences as the reason for leaving, Gordon-Levitt left a detailed explanation for his fans to read on his Facebook page only moments ago. You can follow the link or read it 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.
This sounds like a big blow to New Line Cinema as they will have to find a new director, but it had to be something pretty big for Gordon-Levitt to leave a project he was so invested in from the beginning as a huge Sandman fan himself. Either way, the project looks like it will still continue on but at this point no one has any idea of the direction it will go. Whatever the outcome, as a big consumer of all things Sandman and DC/Vertigo, I will be front and center to see it all play out.