Joseph Gordon-Levitt, already a successful actor, has been plunging into the world of filmmaking with his directorial debut Don Jon and the work he has done on his “open collaborative production company” HitRECord. Now, he has his sights set high on a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman.
Gaiman’s DC/Vertigo comic series has been proposed a film adaptation in the past, beginning in the late 1990s when Warner Bros. planned an adaptation that never made it past preproduction. Periodic attempts to restart the project met with a similar lack of success, leaving The Sandman stuck in development hell during the early 2000’s. At a 2007 Comic-Con panel, Gaiman claimed that he’d “rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie. But I feel like the time for a Sandman movie is coming soon. We need someone who has the same obsession with the source material as Peter Jackson had with Lord of the Rings or Sam Raimi had with Spider-man.”
Finally, seven years later, it seems that Gaiman may have found his Sam Raimi in Joseph Gordon-Levitt. While promoting Sin City: A Dame to Kill For during an interview for Moviefone, Gordon-Levitt spoke about his progress in making a Sandman adaptation a reality, expressing his excitement and acknowledging that “we’re still in the middle of it, so I don’t want to make any claims, but I think we’ve got the right ideas.” Gaiman himself is enthusiastic about Gordon-Levitt’s work on the project, saying that “Joseph Gordon-Levitt, of all people, is an enormous Sandman fan.” In the past, Gaiman was publically vocal about his dissatisfaction with the scripts Warner Bros. was sending him, so if the author thinks his series is finally in good hands, we’ll have to trust his judgment.
Gordon-Levitt is producing the Sandman adaptation along with David Goyer, who worked on Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies as well as Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. It is rumored that Joseph Gordon-Levitt may star in the film and possibly direct it as well. We also know that Jack Thorne is working with Neil Gaiman on the script, but other than that it is still too early to know any details about the film or even to assume that it will make it through the preproduction stage. However, it’s a good sign that Gaiman will be directly involved in the screenwriting process and has been meeting with Gordon-Levitt to discuss the film, as no one knows the source material better than the author.
For those who don’t know, The Sandman tells the story of Morpheus, the immortal personification of dreams, and was published in 75 episodic issues. This sheer amount of material to work with is an obvious challenge that filmmakers have struggled with in the past, and Gordon-Levitt recognized this challenge in his interview with Moviefone, acknowledging that “there’s a reason people have been trying and failing to adapt Sandman for the past 20 years.” Despite these difficulties, the actor/director’s rising success in the filmmaking business along with his obvious enthusiasm about the project is making fans hopeful. When we add Neil Gaiman’s approval and involvement to the equation, it seems that a film adaptation of Sandman may finally have the chance to become a reality.