Joseph Gordon-Levitt has tweeted to confirm that he will produce a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's seminal The Sandman comic books. Gordon-Levitt, who had major roles in The Dark Knight Rises, Brick, and Looper, said he would be working with The Dark Knight's story writer, David Goyer and Gaiman himself on the project with Warner Bros. Gaiman will be acting as executive producer, while Goyer will be supervising the screenplay.
The Sandman outsold Superman and Batman comics in the mid-1990s
The Sandman comics tell the story of the Lord of Dreams, most often referred to as either Dream or Morpheus, a wiry, haughty personification of dreams themselves. After being held captive for 70 years, Gaiman's 75-issue run follows Dream / Morpheus as he adapts to the world he finds outside his prison and rebuilds his kingdom. The comics segue between horror and fantasy, and gained a dedicated following after the first issue was released in 1989. Their success helped to solidify the position of DC's offshoot Vertigo Comics by outselling Superman and Batman at the time.
There are no concrete details about the movie as yet, but Gordon-Levitt used the hashtag "#Prelude" in his tweet. That reference suggests the story may focus on issues one to eight of The Sandman, collected together in a trade paperback called Preludes & Nocturnes.
A film version of 'The Sandman' has been in the works for 20 years
A film version of The Sandman has been rumored for decades. The Hollywood Reporter says Roger Avary — who won an Oscar with Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction's screenplay — was attached to one project, before DC entered talks with HBO to turn the comics into a TV show. Neither project gained sufficient momentum. Most recently, Warner Bros. Television unsuccessfully attempted to revive the character for a small-screen series with Supernatural's Eric Kripke.
With regards to a possible directorial role, the actor tweeted "the rest remains to be seen." The attachment of Gordon-Levitt — who looked set to become the next Batman before Ben Affleck was handed the role — to the project, in addition to the comic's original writer, suggest that this version of The Sandman will actually survive to see the light of day.
Correction: Joseph Gordon-Levitt clarified that he's just producing the movie, but it remains to be seen if he'll appear before or behind the camera.
Just to clarify, folks. I've signed on as a producer on Sandman. The rest remains to be seen. Delighted you guys are excited. I am too!— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) December 17, 2013