Joseph Gordon-Levitt quits adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman

Gordon-Levitt had been in line to direct and star in the big-screen version of Gaiman’s graphic novel fantasy

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has walked away from a high-profile big-screen adaptation of the cult graphic novel Sandman, citing creative differences with studio Warner Brothers.

In a post on his Facebook page, Gordon-Levitt said the project’s shift to Warner offshoot New Line had led directly to his decision.

“A while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman,” wrote Gordon-Levitt, who had been in line to direct and possibly take an on-screen role. “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 realise 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.”

Gordon-Levitt said it had “been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time” getting to know Gaiman, who tweeted his own response to the creative uncoupling. “Reminder for the curious: I don’t own SANDMAN. @DCComics does,” he wrote. “I don’t choose who writes scripts, the director, producer or cast.”

Using Gordon-Levitt’s Twitter handle, @hitRECordJoe, Gaiman then added: “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.” He continued: “I would love to work with @hitRECordJoe some more. He’s smart, honest & really nice.”

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

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

I very much hope so. I would love to work with @hitRECordJoe some more. He's smart, honest & really nice.

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016

Gaiman’s Sandman series, which originally ran between 1989 and 1996 and stretches to 10 volumes, centres around a figure named Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. It has been regularly targeted for a big-screen adaptation, but Gaiman appears ambivalent on the matter. “For me, what’s important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen,” he tweeted.

For me, what's important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen.

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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