As soon as Joseph Gordon-Levitt became involved with DC/Vertigo's The Sandman film project with creator Neil Gaiman, fans were excited knowing a longtime fan would be a part of the film. Gordon-Levitt started to push it to get this film into production showing other fans how passionate he is for the comic book.
Sadly, fans are not going to see a Sandman film with Gordon-Levitt attached. Many differences of opinion led to Gordon-Levitt and Warner Bros. butting heads. The actor-director has officially removed himself from Sandman's production entirely.
Gordon-Levitt took to Facebook to break the news about his departure. He talked about how pleased he was with the progress he, Gaiman, David Goyer, and the writer of the film, Jack Thorne were making. When Warner Bros. moved the Vertigo comic catalog to New Line, it created lots problems. The full text of his Facebook post is down below:
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.
Gordon-Levitt's involvement really helped get The Sandman off the comic book page to Hollywood. Now that he's gone, fans may wonder if the film is canceled or just on indefinite hold. Seems like the project might still be a go since the studio just hired a new writer. The studio will just have to look for a new director to be comfortable with beside Gordon-Levitt. This news is definitely a sharp sting to the the fans, who know that Gordon-Levitt's departure is going to hurt the production of The Sandman. Fans could lose interest following Gordon-Levitt leaving the Sandman film because New Line won't want to make the film the way fans want to see it.
As of now we don't know how Gordon-Levitt's exit will hurt the Sandman film, or whether or not the final product will be close to what Gordon-Levitt and Goyer wanted or just a new and improved studio film that fans might not like at all.
Right now, it's best to wait to see how the studio will react to Gordon-Levitt's departure. Maybe they might find the right replacement that can bring Sandman to the big screen the right way.
Source: Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Facebook