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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Drops Out Of The DC Comics’ Fantasy Project ‘Sandman’

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Drops Out Of The DC Comics' Fantasy Project 'Sandman'

Earlier this week, New Line announced that they found a new writer for “Sandman,” the DC/Vertigo comic book from acclaimed fantasy author Neil GaimanDavid Goyer (“Man Of Steel,” “Batman Begins”) wrote the treatment and then a search was held to find a writer who could translate the ambitious property into a would-be trilogy. Eric Heisserer, the screenwriter of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Final Destination 5,” and “The Conjuring 2” won the gig. But apparently the hiring of the writer was the beginning of the end for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who just dropped out of the project. The actor took to Facebook to announce he was leaving, saying creative differences emerged when New Line, a Warner Bros. subsidiary, took the project over.

READ MORE:  WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two ‘Justice League’ Pics, ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Green Lantern’ & More

“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,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

“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.”

“Sandman” was one of the first slate of films WB’s announced as part of their DC Comics Universe plan, which includes the upcoming “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice,” “Wonder Woman,” and a “Justice League” team-up. It was always unclear where the Sandman character would fit in with this world, if at all  it’s a mythology that doesn’t work comfortably within a superhero universe. But now that “Sandman” is over at New Line, it sounds like the project won’t be part of the DCU “Snyder-verse,” which is probably best for Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, protagonist of the Vertigo comic.

To that end, it’ll be interesting to see how Marvel incorporates “Doctor Strange” into the “Avengers” world, as this character is a little bit analogous to “Sandman”: he dwells in a mystical realm that feels incongruous with most modern superhero tropes. I guess we shall see, soon. “Sandman” was rumored originally for a Christmas 2016 release, but was never dated as part of WB’s official DCEU line-up. Check out JGL’s full FB post below.

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Roger Avary’s version always sounded interesting, but not surprised the studio freaked when he showed them Svankmajer’s Alice as his inspiration.

Honest Joe

Daniel, I agree with you. However, I think a film adaptation of some of the material can enhance enjoyment of the original comic. Sadly, that’s not why films from comics are made. Not these days.


I guess I should clarify. You COULD make a movie out of some Sandman comics, like they made a movie out of Watchmen. But in both cases I think what you have to lose when translating it to that medium basically makes it not worth it. You have to compress too much and the grace notes will disappear as a result and in order to appeal to the widest possible audience you’ll have to add gratuitous action etc etc etc. And why? So you can have a live-action version of something that is already a good and complete work of art? I just don’t know what additional benefit, artistic or otherwise, you get from the translation.


Should be tv series. Has nothing to do with superheros.

Honest Joe

Oh I’d disagree on Sandman being unfilmmable. Each arc can be made into a film, imo, apart the shirt story ones.

Emperor Zerg Rush

Lets not forget that Heisserer is also responsible for the turd "prequel" to John Carpenter’s The Thing. Anyway, good on him for knowing when to walk. I wouldn’t be surprised if they attempt to pull a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/LxG move with this and in the process piss off Gaiman enough to where he divorces himself from the project.


I was just re-reading some Sandman comicslast week and thinking: there is really no way to make a movie out of this.

Honest Joe

Sad to read the direction New Line will be taking the property. Sandman was a special comic back in the day with atypical conflict that doesn’t really fit within the framework of your run of the mill comic book movie. Oh well

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