For years, studios have tried and failed to make film adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The greatest hope for the project was in the last year or so when Joseph Gordon-Levitt hopped on to produce and potentially even star in the film. Sadly, it came down yesterday that the actor is bowing out of movie. His statement from Facebook is totally fair, but adds weight to the general consensus that a movie based on the lord of dreams might just not be possible.
“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.”
Neil Gaiman responded in a series of Tweets:
“And, for the record, my respect for @hitRECordJoe, is undiminished. Getting to know him was the best bit of the last round. He’s special.”
“Reminder for the curious: I don’t own SANDMAN. @DCComics does. I don’t choose who writes scripts, the director, producer or cast.”
“I didn’t lose them: I never owned them. The deal was done when I was 26, long ago, & I figured it was worth it.”
“For me, what’s important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen.”