The film version of DC Comics’ seminal series Sandman will have to find a new prince of stories, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced today that he has left the project over creative differences with New Line.
Gordon-Levitt cited the film changing hands from Warner Bros to its subsidiary New Line Cinema as part of the problem, saying “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.” He added that “I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.”
Gordon-Levitt had been with the project from its inception and was set to direct and star in the film, based on the classic Neil Gaiman-created comic that ran on DC’s Vertigo imprint from 1988 to 1996. What specific differences came between him and the studio were not revealed, but this announcement comes one day after it was disclosed that Final Destination 5 and The Conjuring 2 scribe Eric Heisserer had come aboard as screenwriter.
He replaced Jack Thorne, who had been attached to write the film since 2014 and was Gordon-Levitt’s choice for the job. Indeed, Gordon-Levitt mentioned Thorne in his statement, saying “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.” What this means for the film’s future is anyone’s guess as New Line seeks out a new director.
Sandman Creator Neil Gaiman later weighed in on Twitter, saying that his respect for Gordon-Levitt, who he said is “special,” is “undiminished.”