Joseph Gordon-Levitt has dropped out of Sandman over creative differences
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quit the planned film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Gordon-Levitt, who had been developing the movie with David Goyer since 2013, took to Facebook on Saturday to announce that he has left the project, and cited creative differences with New Line as the reason for his exit. His departure came just one day after Eric Heisserer was hired to write the script.
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.
Shortly after Gordon-Levitt posted his farewell letter to SANDMAN, Gaiman weighed in on his exit 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.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 5, 2016
Reminder for the curious: I don't own SANDMAN. @DCComics does. I don't choose who writes scripts, the director, producer or cast.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
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. https://t.co/SHqC39XU5p— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
For me, what's important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen. https://t.co/6NZe47nvJ4— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
It seemed like Gordon-Levitt was really pushing to get the movie made, so this is a pretty big blow for the project. I'm also more than a little concerned about him not seeing eye-to-eye with New Line, since he's reportedly a huge fan of the comic series. What do you think the studio's next move will be with SANDMAN?