Joseph Gordon-Levitt Drops Out of the Film Adaptation of DC's Sandman

Saturday, 05 March 2016 - 5:41PM
DC Comics
Saturday, 05 March 2016 - 5:41PM
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Drops Out of the Film Adaptation of DC's Sandman
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Neil Gaiman's Sandman is quite possibly the most popular comic series to ever come from DC's Vertigo imprint. Most recently, the author finished up the prequel to the series, entitled Sandman: Overture, which went on to receive a great deal of awards and award nominations in 2015. Sandman had in fact become so popular, that it was put into pre-production for a film adaptation.

The last anyone had heard of the upcoming movie was some time ago from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was one of the main individuals involved in trying to bring the property to the big screen. He described how Sandman wouldn't be like other superhero films in terms of there being a whole lot of intense fighting sequences, which is something that readers of the comics know definitely stays true to the source material - the Sandman isn't really a superhero, after all. He's the god of dreams.

Now, however, Levitt has released a note on Facebook about the project, announcing his departure from the project following the changing of hands that took place between Warner Bros. and New Line.

Opening quote
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.
Closing quote


This is definitely disappointing, as certain signs seemed to indicate that Levitt was dedicated to bringing Morpheus a story that stayed true to his character. He's also an immensely talented guy, and it would have looked great to have his name attached to the project. Yet things like this happen all the time in Hollywood, and though it's disappointing, it's definitely not shocking.

The real question is whether or not Sandman will play a part in the larger DCEU, existing in the same universe as Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman. The fact that the film is being made by New Line might suggest it's not, but Shazam is also being made by New Line, and it most definitely is planned to take place within the same universe as Batman v Superman. Though it doesn't happen extraordinarily often, certain DC superheroes are known to pop up from time to time in the Sandman comics (Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, and Scarecrow appear in the first story arc alone).

Things are still in the early phases of development for Sandman, however, and so answers to all the questions fans might have regarding the film that's set to bring to life the being who's known for having poetry battles with demons, putting on grand Shakespearean plays for the faery, and walking through the dreams of the living are still quite scarce. Hopefully, however, the creative team will be able to craft a film that stays true to the essence of who Morpheus, the Sandman, is, and create a movie that's as visually stunning, emotionally powerful, and dream-like as Gaiman's beloved comic.
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