Back in 2013 Joseph Gordon-Levitt joined with The Dark Knight writer David Goyer to direct, produce and star in a big screen version of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. The project has sat idle ever since, until yesterday when it was announced that Eric Heisserer (The Thing, The Conjuring 2) had been brought aboard to draft the script. And just 24 hours after things seemed to be moving forward, Gordon-Levitt hit Facebook to officially depart the project.
In his post, Gordon-Levitt expressed disagreements with New Line, who took over the project from Warner Bros. last year. The actor didn't go into exactly what the conflicts were, but he's been advocating fiercely to stick as close to Gaiman's original vision as possible, which admittedly might have been difficult to adapt.
What's unclear is where the project goes from here. Does this mean Heisserer is no longer needed? Or will he continue with the screenplay in hopes that someone else will come aboard to spearhead the film's adaptation? Gordon-Levitt was such an integral piece that it's hard to see it continuing on without him, at least for now. His full statement is below:
“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.”