Joseph Gordon-Levitt has taken to Facebook to reveal that he has dropped out of directing, writing and starring in Warner Bros‘ and New Line’s Sandman adaptation.
For those who don’t know, Warner Bros owns all DC Comics and Vertigo properties. Whilst WB retained control over DC Comics, they pushed their Vertigo properties to their New Line subsidiary. Since then, Gordon-Levitt has been working with Sandman creator Neil Gaiman and Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer to bring the beloved character to life.
Via Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Facebook:
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.
This is deeply unfortunate and disappointing. Not only did Warner Bros lose one of the hottest stars working today, not to mention an actor who’s damn good at directing, they can’t seem to agree on Sandman, a property that could prove extremely successful if brought to the big screen.
One also ranks Gordon-Levitt’s involvement in the Sandman feature as high as Ryan Reynolds on 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool. New Line, or even Warner Bros, should have realised that Gordon-Levitt understands this character better and more thoroughly than the executives that scanned a few Sandman cliff notes.
Regardless, one would hope that New Line and Warner Bros now realise that they need to be smarter with their talent and fringe properties or risk losing a really bankable star.
Sandman does not have a release date.