First, the word came that an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's DC/Vertigo graphic novel The Sandman was being pitched by David S. Goyer as one of the first films under his new contract with Warner Bros. Next came rumors that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was attached to direct and possibly even star as its titular hero.
Now that the actor/director has confirmed the upcoming collaboration with the Man of Steel writer, the slow trickle of updates and details can begin. But even if Gordon-Levitt claims that the film is a long way off, he's opening up about what attracted him to The Sandman in the first place.
Speaking with IGN, Gordon-Levitt explained that while the project itself is in "very, very early days" (he wouldn't even clarify whether he was attached or even interested in directing or starring), what the future may hold is as wide open and uncharted as the graphic novel itself. And for those who read too much into his "#Prelude" Tweet confirming his involvement, we would advise patience:
"I honestly just wrote that as sort of a pun, because this tweet was a prelude to who knows what's to come. Obviously 'Prelude' is the title of the first issue, but... Yeah, nothing is cemented yet. But there's so much potential in that material. It's exciting."
It goes without saying that the most likely course of action for the adaptation is, quite simply, to begin at the beginning. In this case, Gaiman's first story arc of The Sandman, titled "Preludes & Nocturnes," chronicles the capture and imprisonment of Dream (a.k.a. Morpheus) and the impact his absence has had on the dream world. Regaining his strength forms the core story, but even so, the surreal blend of mythology and dreamscapes gained the series immediate attention.
In recent years, that same promise has caught the eye of several filmmakers, including both Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) and James Mangold (The Wolverine), two directors with a nose for impressive comic book adaptations.
So it's not a total surprise that after what seems like years of rumors surrounding the actor taking a leading role in a DC or Marvel film, Gordon-Levitt has chosen this project as his next. When asked about his reasoning, the actor showed that his aims involve far more than a singular film or character:
"Well, I love just the basic concept of it - just the concept of personifying Dream, along with all of his brothers and sisters, the seven Endless personifying Death, personifying Destruction and Delirium and Destiny and Desire and Despair. I mean, that's just a fascinating and, I think, a really cinematic concept. You look at the art of Sandman, and it just looks spectacular.
"I love big, spectacular movies, but oftentimes big, spectacular movies sort of get stuck in a rut. They go down certain paths that end in big explosions or whatever. 'Sandman' has so much opportunity to do something that's on a grand, grand scale, but really unlike your average big, grand-scale, spectacular movie. I guess that's the tip of the iceberg."
The tip of the iceberg in more ways than one, since the distance between developing a script and actually beginning production seems colossal at the moment. Even so, fans will be happy to hear that Gordon-Levitt - whether acting in a directorial or simply starring role - seems to be granting the series the respect it deserves. And with his name attached in either capacity, there's no question it will get enough attention to make sequels a very real possibility (provided the film lives up to expectations).
What are your thoughts on Gordon-Levitt's comments and involvement? Does this seem like an intriguing match, or would you prefer to see him suit up in a bona fide superhero movie with Marvel (something he made clear wasn't going to be ruled out)? Share our thoughts in the comments.
We’ll keep you posted as news on any adaptation of The Sandman arrives.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.