Joseph Gordon-Levitt Leaves Sandman, Gaiman Responds


I guess we will have to keep on dreaming! Ugh. That was bad. Sorry! Fans have long waited for an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s prolific Sandman which stars 7 different aspects of reality personified: Death, Destruction, Desire, Destiny, Despair, Delirium, and Dream. A week ago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who you might remember as Robin in The Dark Knight Rises or from Third Rock from the Sun) was attached to both direct and star in the aforementioned movie adaptation. Unfortunately, sometime around Saturday Joseph Gordon-Levitt released this statement via Facebook:

“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.”

Ain't got no time for Sandman.
Ain’t got no time for Sandman.

No! Say it ain’t so! That would have been pretty interesting to see Levitt gaunt with messy and unkempt hair. Neil Gaiman then released his own response but not nearly at the same length as Levitt’s (thanks Twitter!).“And, for the record, my respect for [Joseph Gordon-Levitt], is undiminished. Getting to know him was the best bit of the last round. He’s special,” Gaiman stated. He then added, “Reminder for the curious: I don’t own SANDMAN. DC Comics does. I don’t choose who writes scripts, the director, producer or cast. The deal was done when I was 26, long ago, & I figured it was worth it…He’s an original character, created by me, Mike Dringenberg & Sam Kieth, but done as Work For Hire for DC Comics.” Does this mean that the Sandman movie is now in limbo? Hopefully we’ll see it sooner or later!