The American Gods has its cast, but the Sandman has lost its leading man.
In a year that sees not one but three big screen comic book adaptations, as well as casting information about Gaiman’s novel American Gods, the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s classic comic series has taken a step back with the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has left the project following creative differences with New Line Cinema.
In a Facebook post, Levitt explained that while the project had got to a good start, “the folks at New Line and I just don’t see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special.” Previously, Sandman had belonged to Warner Brothers, however with the comic being moved to DC’s Vertigo line, it became the property of New Line Cinema. This news comes a day after New Line announced that Eric Heisserer, known for such movies as Final Destination 5 and The Thing (both 2011), has joined the project – possibly a sign that the earlier script by Jack Thorne had been thrown out.
Levitt ended his post by thanking his associates on the project:
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.
Sandman, published between 1989 and 1996, concerned Morpheus of the Endless – the anthropomorphic personification of dreams and storytelling – and his journey of atonement after escaping the clutches of a British occultist. The series was written by Neil Gaiman and was met considerable critical acclaim. Considered a modern classic, Sandman returned in 2013 with Sandman Overture.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt joined the Sandman in 2013, along with David Goyer (in the producer’s role) and Jack Thorne, who was to write the script.