Joseph Gordon-Levitt Talks ‘The Sandman’ & Learning from ‘Sin City 2′

Published 8 months ago by , Updated August 21st, 2014 at 2:02 pm,

Sandman Rumor David Goyer Joseph Gordon Levitt Talks The Sandman & Learning from Sin City 2

Earlier this month we received the long-awaited confirmation that Warner Bros. has several DC movies either in development or planned. Solo vehicles for such Justice League members as Aquaman and Wonder Woman look to be on the docket, but before any of those happen it seems we’ll get a Sandman movie. The project acquired a screenwriter in Jack Thorne (Skins, A Long Way Down) back in February 2014. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is overseeing the Neil Gaiman comic adaptation, recently said that the script is not done yet, but indicated that progress is very much being made.

Gaiman’s The Sandman, for those who’re not familiar, is an award-winning, genre-blending, DC/Vertigo comic book property about Morpheus, also known as Dream – one of the seven Endless, who are anthropomorphic personifications of such concepts as Death, Desire, and Destiny, who (in essence) keep watch over the world. There’ve been multiple failed attempts to turn the Sandman property into either a TV series or a movie in the past, but there’s fair reason to believe the story will change with this latest effort.

Indeed, the pedigree of the creative talent involved this time is quite impressive; that includes Gaiman, who has been consulting with Levitt on his Sandman adaptation, and writer/director David S Goyer (who crafted the Sandman movie story pitch that attracted Levitt to the project). Levitt has been out promoting Sin City: A Dame to Kill For of late, and during his related interview with Moviefone he offered a Sandman update – praising his collaborators, while also acknowledging that this adaptation is very much a tricky one, at the same time.

Right now we’re working on a script. It’s me and Goyer and the screenwriter and Neil Gaiman, as well as the good folks at DC and Warner Bros. It’s a really cool team of people. It’s a lot of the same people who worked on the Nolan “Batman” movies. It’s really exciting. There’s not a script yet, we’re still kind of working it out because it’s such a complicated adaptation because “Sandman” wasn’t written as novels. “Sin City” was written as a novel. “Sandman” is 75 episodic issues. There’s a reason people have been trying and failing to adapt “Sandman” for the past 20 years.

The Sandman source material is not just plentiful, as Levitt points out; it’s also a collage of genre influences (featuring multiple flavors of fantasy, horror, comedy, and drama). That’s to mention nothing of its numerous references to famous literature and other forms of popular culture, as well as the heady themes it wrestles with over the course of its 75 issues. Admittedly, Levitt’s Sandman movie isn’t quite as bankable on paper as, say, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, but it does carry a higher level of prestige. Which is to say, if it’s done right, The Sandman could be the superhero genre’s equivalent of an arthouse film.

Joseph Gordon Levitt in Sin City a Dame to Kill For Joseph Gordon Levitt Talks The Sandman & Learning from Sin City 2

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

Early word is that Levitt plans to direct Sandman, in addition to playing Morpheus in the film. The actor made his feature directorial debut last year with the critically-acclaimed indie relationship dramedy Don Jon; Levitt’s also continued to work on his own variety series, HitRecord on TV, this past year. Sandman, of course, would not just be a step-up in terms of the project’s scale and budget, but also the amount of effects work required to realize its fantastical settings and scenarios.

As such, when Moviefone asked Levitt if he’d picked up any filmmaking tips from Sin City helmers Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez about tackling a comic book movie like Sandman, he replied:

Very much so. And the green screen methodology of “Sin City” — I wanted to see how Rodriguez handled that. Because on my show we do a lot of stuff on green screen and if you watch the show with “Sin City” in mind, you’ll see a commonality here in the approach to the filmmaking. How we do it is we film the actors against a green screen and then put that footage up on the site and so animators and illustrators can contribute their graphics and it all gets stitched together to create the world around the actors. There’s a short in the first episode that’s mostly black-and-white with splashes of color and we only did that a few months after I finished on “Sin City.”

Of course, Levitt has worked on other genre tentpoles before, under the direction of Christopher Nolan; while that’s not the same as directing, he’s surely picked up a thing or two over the years that would assist him with putting together a well-made Sandman film adaptation. Levitt also seems fairly confident that the project will move beyond early development this time, having told Moviefone 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.”

Sandman Movie Joseph Gordon Levitt Update Joseph Gordon Levitt Talks The Sandman & Learning from Sin City 2

So, when might Sandman reach theaters? The original rumored DC movie schedule pegged the project for a Christmas 2016 release, but the official DC film slate includes a November 17th, 2017 date that seems right for Sandman – based on where Levitt has indicated it’s at in development, anyway. Moreover, November is a month that’s been accommodating in the past to both “event films” (see: installments in the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and James Bond franchises, and so on) and movies that are more awards-season friendly; Sandman, as mentioned before, could fall partly into both categories.

That said, it’s probably wise to not expect WB to officially confirm a release date for Sandman in the immediate future, given that it could be three years away. Additional official DC movie announcements are supposed to be made before the month is done, but it seems more likely those will concern films like the potential Summer 2016 release Shazam and/or the potential Summer 2017 arrival Justice League – as opposed to, Levitt’s movie. But, as always, best to wait and see.

We’ll continue to keep you up to speed on development of The Sandman.

Source: Moviefone

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  1. Can’t wait to see his guy fight spider-
    Oh f***, wrong sandman. Sorry. Still excited for this though!

  2. Don Jon was a great flick, so im excited to see what JGL does next

  3. I have every confidence in Gaimen and JGL, its David Boyer’s influence that worries me.

  4. The Sandman? No, that would put me to sleep. Don’t care about some punk-rock-looking hippy that is supposed to be scary or something, I’ll pass. Here, you want The Sandman? Well, Justice Society had a Golden-Age hero by that name, so how about a movie with him, and the rest of the Justice Society?

    • …you know nothing

      Like, you CLEARLY know nothing

      • Hee-hee…knew I’d stir up somebody with that!

    • Oh, honey.

  5. Next up: The Tooth Fairy! Stick with the main-line heroes that would more likely draw a crowd, or even the more pertinent important second-string heroes.

    • Pretty sure that already happened starring The Rock.

    • Yes, popular comics that many people know like what Marvel is doing with Guardians of the Galaxy and Irom man back in the day.

    • It’s cool if you prefer men in tights brother, but Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is awesome.
      Read Sandman sometime, and you’ll realize how silly you sound.

    • By the end of its run, Sandman comics were outselling Superman. It won heaps of industry awards and even the highly prestigious World Fantasy Award For Short Fiction, the only comic to ever do so (and the only comic that ever will – they changed the rules for this category right after Sandman’s victory). It still is massively popular; there was a re-release of the ten trade paperbacks a few years ago with new introductions and cover art, not bad for a comic that’s 25 years old now. It’s constantly used to prove that yes, comic books can be art.

      So yes, I think there’s going to be an audience for this movie.

      • Wow, I couldn’t have said it any better myself

        Next time someone says something ignorant, I’ll call Shanonigans 😉

        • Haha, only if it’s about Sandman 😉

        • Read previous ignorant comment by me…!

      • And these are reasons why I love the books. Well, that and the artwork, characters and the actual stories.

    • +1

  6. I have been reading Marvel and D.C. comics every Wednesday since 1988 and can say, without hesitation, that Sandman is the greatest comic ever written. I really hope they do it justice.

  7. This movie has to be R! Please dont make it some watered down bolckbuster made to the masses like Avengers. Please make this a legit dark, quality move that will hold up over time instead of another crummy blockbuster only meant to please the masses (which clearly Goldilocks is only interested in).

    • Another ‘mast maek dis movi Rrr ratud’

  8. Sandman changed a lot of ppl’s lives. It’s a rare kind of phenomenon that escapes the confines of its genre. You can’t even call it a pop culture phenomenon because even that traps it far too much for how expansive it is; its full nature is beyond how sublime, joyously hilarious, thought-provoking & provocative, not to mention a rare type of soul food that managed to bring ppl together through its mad sharing during the 90’s (& now still).

    I’ve never thought that Sandman by Gaiman should be adapted to the screen. Yet I agree with the article saying that this team seems to be The Sandman’s Dream Team (he) for a Big Screen adaptation.

    So yeah guys, bring it on … I want to see The Endless & any 5 or so of the characters from the upteen stories of its 75 issue run.

    So many ppl’s dreams will come true with this movie being made. Guess it pays to believe in Dream… :-)

  9. Tom Hiddleston for sandman.

    • Oddly enough, I’d pictured Benedict Cumberbatch perfectly for the role of Morpheus (The Sandman).

      • Yeah, either of these two. JGL is a great actor, but I can’t really see him as Morpheus. He’s not creepy or otherworldly (or tall) enough. But who knows, he might surprise me.

        • I have a lot of faith in JGL. He’s effortlessly disappeared into many different roles. Seen him in Hesher? I bet he could work up a cool and memorable portrayal of Morpheus.

  10. finally….
    after this all can someone hope for is for kabuki,alita and preacher.

  11. Which Sandman is this? Aren’t there two?