The movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's comic classic Sandman has had another nightmare: its writer has dropped out. Eric Heisserer said he was leaving the project last night, telling io9 that the source material wouldn't work as a movie, and would be far better suited as a TV series.
Heisserer — who wrote Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing — said that he many conversations with Gaiman about adapting his work for a movie, but that he "came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy." The departure is another blow for the proposed Sandman movie, which saw its producer and head cheerleader Joseph Gordon-Levitt back out due to creative differences earlier this year.
Sandman was in line to become a show in the mid-2000s
The appointment of Heisserer was seen as being connected to Gordon-Levitt's dumping of the Sandman project, but the veteran screenwriter tells io9 that the actor had actually "quietly left" seven months previously. Speaking on Facebook at the time, Gordon-Levitt said he "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" — a viewpoint Heisserer says he came to share.
Somewhat ironically, Sandman was in line to become a TV show in the early 2000s, with both HBO and Warner Bros. Television pursuing potential deals, but nothing came to pass. It's not clear yet whether New Line will continue with the planned movie version, but things aren't looking so dreamy for the project.