Movies David Goyer + Joseph Gordon-Levitt = SANDMAN? written by Robert Reineke December 17, 2013 The Hollywood Reporter has a story that David Goyer is developing a script for SANDMAN with Joseph Gordon-Levitt set to star and direct and Neil Gaiman in an executive producer role. It’s cropped up elsewhere, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Twitter feed, so it seems to be true. SANDMAN is one of the jewels of DC’s library, and adaptations have been attempted many times without success, so it’s premature to say that this one will definitely move forward. But let’s examine the merits of what we know anyways. SANDMAN is a tough fit for movies. Yeah, it’s fantasy and will allow for major spectacle, but it’s not really an action story. One of the major setpieces of the first story is a word game in Hell. It’s a story where storytelling is an important motif rather than explosions, fist fights, chases, or action. That might be perceived as a tough sell, although Hiyao Miyazaki’s films are popular around the world without engaging action. The main character is a supporting character in some arcs. Often, the most engaging stories are the one offs like “The Sound of Her Wings”, “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”, and issues spent with William Shakespeare, Emperor Augustus, Emperor Norton, and the story of the friendship between Morpheus and Hob Gadling. The main overall arc is a well told tale of a being that finds change difficult and must die and be reborn to become a better version of himself, but losing the tangents and world building is a major blow to what makes SANDMAN as a whole so rewarding. It’s why many have been clamoring for television as the right medium for it and unless the adaptation is extremely clever, I think the skepticism of film as the right medium will remain. David Goyer obviously knows his comic books, so I expect a faithful adaptation. For that matter, I don’t think that the writer of DARK CITY is a bad choice. What is DARK CITY other than a cinematic dream of German Expressionism imagery and the nature of memory and identity? But, David Goyer’s strengths don’t always include language and dialogue which are important in making SANDMAN what it is. Neil Gaiman has a fine, delicate sense of language and playfulness in his writing and those qualities don’t generally fit Goyer’s strengths. Maybe Gaiman will take a pass or two on the script, maybe not, but getting SANDMAN’s tone and language right is the principal challenge for any adaptation and it’s hard to say if it lies in Goyer’s wheelhouse. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is obviously a talented, rising star. Actors act, which we should all remember when a talented actor is cast even if he doesn’t seem to be a natural fit. Benedict Cumberbatch is generally the fan favorite choice for the role, but we don’t even know if he’s interested. My main concern is whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt can channel the feeling of a being that is ancient. I’ve seen him brood and be introverted before, BRICK for instance, but being ancient and regal would be a new trick for him. It’s too soon to say whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt is ready to direct a SANDMAN film either. He has one film under his belt with good acclaim, so that’s promising. And there’s nothing saying that SANDMAN is on the fast track, Joseph Gordon-Levitt may have several more films under his belt before this project makes it’s way towards production. I do think he’s aware enough of his abilities that he’ll either bring someone in to help him, Rian Johnson perhaps, or he’ll step aside if he’s not confident. And, who knows, maybe the plan isn’t for a massive CGI tentpole, but for a smaller, independent-like film. David Lynch has been making dream pictures for decades on a budget a fraction of blockbusters, so maybe we shouldn’t assume that they’re starting big. There are too many unknowns at this point to say anything other than it’s an ambitious project that might not ultimately come together. I do hope that there’s someone in the production team that would be willing to say “no, it’s not good enough” if it’s not coming together. And, even if this project ultimately comes to fruition, who’s to say that it will come together in its current configuration? It’s a property in development that has some promising pieces, but is a long way from a greenlight. David Goyer + Joseph Gordon-Levitt = SANDMAN? was last modified: February 21st, 2016 by Robert Reineke Related Sandman 3 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Robert Reineke previous post DEAD Talks: Image Comics’ THE WALKING DEAD- Issue #118 next post DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Teaser Goes To War You may also like Nolan Personally Ushers ‘Following’ to Blu September 19, 2012 Open Forum: JUPITER ASCENDING February 5, 2015 Open Forum: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT... 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Wikipedia only puts them up if they have dates and imdb puts up absolutely everything regardless of how vague and unfounded the rumour! stock I agree Goyer’s scripts have some shaky parts, but as far as the Nolan Bat trilogy, I put some of those awkward moments on the director, who may not have a complete grasp of the American psyche. It sure seemed to me that some of the silliest scenes involved some American (like a CIA agent or a cop) doing or saying something that a Brit would think an American would do. So in those moments, I was left thinking I’m sure that looked better on paper. So I give my American brother props in helping to create 3 great Bat movies, all faults forgiven.