Features and Columns

A Brief History of Hollywood Trying to Gather Up the Grains to Make a ‘Sandman’ Movie

By  · Published on December 2nd, 2014


Does the world need another superhero movie? Well, if it’s a sorta superhero movie based on the works of Neil Gaiman as cooked up by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, we’re going to give it a pass and an a-okay. Gaiman’s Sandman has struggled to make its way to the big screen for entire decades now, as it was originally slated to go the movie route in the late nineties, thanks to the talents of Roger Avary. That didn’t pan out, and a series of writers ultimately cycled through the possible project, with Gaiman eventually all but throwing up his hands and rejecting the possibility of a film outright (mainly, thanks to some pretty lackluster attempts at even scripting the thing).

By the twenty-tens, however, Gaiman had relaxed his stance a bit and rumors of a television show eventually gave way to the film’s current incarnation: a new version scripted by Gordon-Levitt, David Goyer, and Jack Thorne. The production may be as close as ever to, well, actual production, and given its past, that means a lot. How did we get here? Well, it was the Hollywood equivalent of gathering many grains of sand over many, many years.

November 2010 – THR reports that Supernatural creator Eric Kripke has been picked to develop a new Sandman television series.

March 2011 – THR reports that the planned Sandman television show has gone POOF.

July 2013 – DC President Diane Nelson reveals that Sandman is her top pick for a cinematic adaptation.

November 2013 – Badass Digest reports that Goyer has pitched a new take to Warner Bros., with Gordon-Levitt kinda-sorta involved.

December 2013 – Deadline reports that Gordon-Levitt is on board to produce – and perhaps star in – the film, which Gordon-Levitt then confirms on Twitter.

February 2014 – Deadline reports that Jack Thorne will write the film’s script. Although later mentions of the script-writing process will not mention Thorne, the latest update (scroll to the bottom) has revealed that Thorne is still very much in the fold.

August 2014 – Gordon-Levitt tells Moviefone that he’s working on a script with David Goyer.

October 2014 – DC releases its massive slate of superhero movies for the coming years. Sandman is not a part of it.

October 2014, later – Gaiman’s own Tumblr page seems to hint that Sandman is not a part of the DC slate (well, duh), but that Vertigo will have its very own slate of films.

December 2014 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt shares an update on the film during a Reddit AMA, writing: “Been doing a lot of work with David Goyer and Jack Thorne, working on the screenplay. We’ve been doing our meetings at the DC office, which is a frickin rad place to work. Also just had a great conversation last week with David and Mr. Gaiman. Neil has been extremely big hearted with me, and he’s the one I want to please most.”

So, there’s a screenplay! Sort of!

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