It has been a while since Joseph Gordon-Levitt stepped behind the camera to direct. Back in 2013, the Inception actor managed to secure no small amount of critical acclaim for his passion project Don Jon – a film he wrote, directed, and starred in alongside Scarlett Johansson.
It was also around this time that Gordon-Levitt was initially attached to an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s wildly successful Sandman series. Published via the DC imprint Vertigo from 1989-1996, Sandman has been in development hell for over 25 years now and has gone through its share of rewrites – some of which were courtesy of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice screenwriter David S. Goyer, alongside Gordon-Levitt and Jack Thorne (How I Live Now, A Long Way Down).
At present, Gordon-Levitt is onboard as director and star of the challenging adaption, with Goyer setting writing duties aside to produce. Late last year, Goyer teased the arrival of a new writer and now according to THR, the latest recruit has been revealed as the writer of 2011’s The Thing prequel, Eric Heisserer. As a writer, Heisserer has been responsible for scripting duties on numerous horror projects, including Final Destination 5, 2010’s A Nightmare On Elm Street reboot and as a contributor to James Wan’s The Conjuring 2.
New Line hopes to make a trilogy of the Sandman series, which is based on the dark horror tale of Morpheus, who rules his kingdom as the personification of dreams. After being kidnapped by an occult ritual and imprisoned for 70 years, Morpheus escapes and wages war against his captors as he attempts to rebuild his kingdom. The main problem that has kept the film from seeing the light of day is its lengthy and disparate episodic format, which creates problems in terms of creating one continuous narrative.
"It's not like Watchmen, which is a graphic novel that has a beginning, middle and end. To try and take [the entire Sandman series] and make it into something that's a feature film — a movie that has a beginning, middle and end — is complicated."
It’s great to see things are moving in a positive direction for Sandman, but it’s worth noting that simply because a new writer has been hired doesn’t necessarily mean the film is any closer to becoming a reality. After all, several highly talented screenwriters have already worked on this script – including Goyer and Jack Thorne – all of whom have discovered what a tough nut it is to crack.
Still, the more than two decades of work that has taken place on an adaption have undoubtedly been filled with valuable lessons. These, coupled with series creator Neil Gaiman’s belief that he’d rather see no Sandman movie than a bad one, can’t help but speak directly to the obvious passion Gordon-Levitt and Goyer feel for this project -- no matter how long it takes to get it right.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on Sandman as more information becomes available.