The Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Just Lost Its Screenwriter

Thursday, 03 November 2016 - 8:44PM
DC Comics
Thursday, 03 November 2016 - 8:44PM
The Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Just Lost Its Screenwriter
While a lengthy list of DC's superhero movies is currently in the works over at Warner Bros., one of DC's most popular comics series from their Vertigo imprint seems to be caught in development hell at WB's subsidiary, New Line Cinema. Earlier this year, it was announced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had left the project due to creative differences with the studio, and now another creative, screenwriter Eric Heisserer, has also left for similar reasons. In a new interview with io9, Heisserer commented about the specifics of his departure.

Opening quote
I had many conversations with Neil [Gaiman] on this, and I did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy. The structure of the feature film really doesn't mesh with this. So I went back and said here's the work that I've done. This isn't where it should be. It needs to go to TV. So I talked myself out of a job!
Closing quote


Heisserer has arrived at the same conclusion that a number of Sandman fans have, with many protesting from the project's announcement that the adaptation would work much better as a TV show. Yet Joseph Gordon-Levitt seemed dedicated to producing a faithful adaptation of the comic, garnering support from Gaiman himself. After Gordon-Levitt's departure, however, it was obvious that New Line had no intentions of making something truly representative of Gaiman's genius work.

With over seven-five issues published, Sandman is more of an anthology, with each arc telling tales involving Morpheus, the physical embodiment of Dream and Lord of the Dreaming. Sometimes he's the protagonist; other times he's a secondary character. His stories span all of history and involve historical figures such as Shakespeare, DC Universe staples, like Martian Manhunter or Mister Miracle, and his family, the Endless. It's hard not to see how an HBO series wouldn't be the perfect way to adapt something as different, visceral, and as trippy as Sandman; it's also hard to see how a singular feature film could ever accurately capture the expansive universe and unique style of the original comics.   

Gaiman is currently involved in creating the STARZ adaptation of his prose novel, American Gods, and with him doing more work in the medium, he could be interested in helping to adapt Sandman for TV as well. Sadly, that's unlikely to happen, as it seems New Line is set on executing a vision totally separate from that of the comics. Things are still at an extremely early stage of development, but if the project moves forward, Sandman fans should probably prepare themselves to see something totally different than the series they fell in love with.
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