Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quit film adaptation of The Sandman

The actor said he did not see 'eye-to-eye' with New Line Cinemas

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The Independent Culture

A film adaptation of The Sandman has been in the works since the early 90s, with the production seemingly going through development hell for years upon years upon years.

In 2013, after numerous rejected scripts, there was some very exciting news for fans of the DC comic-book: The Dark Knight screenwriting David Goyer announced he would be producing a film alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and author Neil Gaiman. 

Soon after, a script had been written with Jack Thorne of This is England ’86 fame, and – most importantly - Warner Bros were happy with it. Things moved on slowly, with Warner Bros soon moving distribution of their Vertigo Comics range to New Line Cinema, and this is where things get tricky.

Just days ago, a new script writer was hired, Eric Heisserer, who wrote of A Nightmare on Elm Street, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One day later, Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced he is leaving the project due to what can only be described as ‘creative differences’.

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“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,” he wrote in a Facebook message to fans.

“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.”

Gaiman has also responded to the move, writing on 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.”

So far, there’s been no word on who will be replacing Gordon-Levitt, but it is fair to say fans of the comic-books are not pleased about the departure, with one responding on Facebook: “Reading this along with the news that they've hired a horror sequel writer to handle the script just tells me the direction is all wrong.”