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Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks away from Sandman project

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer

Story by Jack Foley

JOSEPH Gordon-Levitt has walked away from the Sandman project he was to have directed and starred in.

Announcing his decision via his Facebook page, the actor cited ownership issues and creative differences with New Line, who now hold the rights to the film.

He summarised: “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.”

Ironically, Gordon-Levitt’s announcement was made one day after New Line had found a writer to pen the screenplay.

Sandman is based on the comic book from Neil Gaiman that straddles the horror and fantasy genres. It focuses on Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, and his dealings with the Endless, a group of powerful brothers and sisters that includes Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium (as well as Dream).

A passion project for Gordon-Levitt, the project was to have marked his second film as director.

The full Facebook statement reads as follows: “So, as you might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, a while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN. Neil himself came on as an executive producer, we hired the excellent screenwriter, Jack Thorne, and we started in on the ambitious task of adapting one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics. I was pleased with the progress we were making, even though we still had quite a ways to go.

“Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta “ownership” (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And 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.

“I’d like to thank all the great people I’ve had the opportunity to work with on this one. 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.”

New Line did not have an immediate comment.

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