Joseph Gordon Levitt will no longer direct or star in the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series. The star of Robert Zemeckis’s “The Walk,” Gordon-Levitt left the project citing creative differences with the studio, New Line Cinema.
Speaking about the decision to depart the project, Gordon-Levitt said on his Facebook page that he and the executives at New Line Cinema who had acquired the rights to “Sandman” from Warner Bros., could not agree on the direction of the story for the film.
Here’s his full speech 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.”
Neil Gaiman responded in kind on Twitter and praised the actor-director. “And, for the record, my respect for @hitRECordJoe, is undiminished. Getting to know him was the best bit of the last round. He’s special,” Gaiman said.
Gordon-Levitt replied to Gaiman’s tweet, expressing interest for a future collaboration between the two. “@neilhimself Deepest thanks, kind sir. I sincerely hope we find another way to collaborate sooner than later … ” he said.
Gaiman tweeted that he doesn’t own the rights to Sandman. However, whether a movie gets made or doesn’t, Gaiman is happy having created the characters. “For me, what’s important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen,” he said.