It is a safe bet that fans of Neil Gaiman’s comic masterpiece Sandman have been waiting on any news of the new movie being developed over at Warner Bros. that they can get. After Joseph Gordon-Levitt took the initiative and decided to take the project on as director (he will also likely star), news has been pretty non-existent, not a great sign to those who have followed ever project that the series has almost spawned. Thanks to a great interview with Moviephone, JGL has given fans a reason to breathe a little easier.
Speaking with Moviephone, JGL assures fans that Sandman is indeed moving forward and that he is working with Neil Gaiman to bring the story to life.
Right now we’re working on a script. It’s me and [David S.] 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.
It’s hard to believe but that 20 year timeline is fairly accurate. During the late 90’s, a film adaptation of Sandman was promised, and even had Tarantino collaborator Roger Avary attached to direct, as well as work with Pirates of the Caribbean writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio on getting a script ready for the movie. Unfortunately, some in-studio fighting would lead to Avary being asked to step away from the project, leaving Sandman in limbo again. Considering that that Gaiman called the last script received for the movie “not only the worst Sandman script I’ve ever seen, but quite easily the worst script I’ve ever read,” it’s probably for the best. The project was touched again in 2010, this time by director James Marigold as a television series helmed by Supernatural show runner, Eric Kripke. Again, things fell apart.
The new vision for the movie seems to be creating a world around the comic book property in order to ensure some longevity to the franchise. It does appear that JGL and his team are still early in the development:
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. It’s such a huge world. We’re definitely talking about in terms of a whole world.
So, Sandman fans now have a capable person steering the ship, with a crew that includes the great Neil Gaiman himself. In other words, all that’s left is to give us the movie that we have been waiting for decades to see. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.