Just a day after New Line Cinema announced that it was hiring Final Destination 5 and The Thing (2011) screenwriter Eric Heisserer to pen the script for its adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, long-attached star and producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt has announced that he’s dropping out of the project.
“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.”
The actor—who’s been attached to the project since 2013, and has been an aggressive advocate for hewing close to the spirit of Neil Gaiman’s original graphic novels—didn’t get into specifics about what his creative differences with the studio were, but he did take a moment to namecheck the contributions and talents of his and co-producer David S. Goyer’s original choice of screenwriter, Jack Thorne. He reserved his highest praise, though, for Gaiman himself:
“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.”
It’s not clear what this means for Sandman; Gordon-Levitt’s passion for the project was one of the major forces propelling it into existence. Without him, it remains to be seen whether Goyer or Gaiman will stay heavily involved with the movie, or what it was that New Line found special about the material that an obsessive fan like Gordon-Levitt didn’t.