Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Star in and Possibly Direct The Sandman

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So, Badass Digest reported this back in November and I held off on reporting it then because it was very much just a rumor at that point and I have a Will McAvoyian code of ethics when it comes to reporting (false, I’m a hack and I am a slave to sources and confirmation), but earlier tonight it became official. JGL will finally get his non-Bat related comic book movie in the form of a David Goyer written Sandman.

This project has been threatened for ages. I still shudder violently when I think of the William Farmer adaptation that I read in high school that had some boneheaded Year 2000 subplot in it. We nearly got two separate TV adaptations in 2010 from both director James Manigold then from  Supernatural’s Eric Kripke when Manigold’s fell through, but this one comes from WB’s go-to comic book guy David Goyer, backed by DC’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, which is a huge deal to the suits hearing this pitch. Gordon-Levitt was a name that has been attached from the very start of this and now it looks like not only will he be playing Morpheus, but he may be stepping behind the camera as well.

Now, let’s start with the elephant in the room, I haven’t seen Don Jon just yet, so I cannot speak to JGL’s visual style when it comes to film making. I have heard mixed reactions to the film in general, but most people that I have talked to about it (people whose opinion on film I trust implicitly) have praised his inventive shot construction. I think it speaks highly of the confidence Warner Brothers has in Gordon-Levitt to tackle what is surely to be a HUGE scale production. Either that or this was a make or break thing for JGL going forward. I suspect it is the latter, but I’m deluding myself that its the former.

Now, onto the problems I have with this, because I’m jaded. Goyer’s involvement in this, and The WB’s blind trust in him to handle everything DC related, makes me intensely nervous. The Sandman is a sprawling, deeply emotional, and cerebral. David Goyer is none of these things. Plus, the sheer scope of adapting this makes it seem, from the outside, impossible to do in the realm of film. The James Manigold HBO adaptation, to me, had the most promise of at least getting it mostly right, mainly because over a course of a season of TV, you can give each arc room to breathe. Most of my favorite things that happen in the Sandman books are the things that will be the first things on the cutting room floor. The Hob Gatling storyline is the first thing that comes to mind, and I can almost guarantee that David Goyer has little to no interest in stuff like this.  I would love to be wrong, but something tells me that I’m not.

The other major problem I have with this news is just how painfully wrong JGL is for The Lord of Dreams. Yes, this could be a huge role for him going forward and the franchise potential of Sandman is limitless, but will fans of the series accept him as the brooding, mercurial Endless? This is going to sound insane, but he’s way, WAY too good looking and fit. I love the fact that he’s thrown himself in vastly different roles with aplomb, but nothing about him screams Dream of The Endless to me. Of course, I could feel really different after I re-watch Brick.

No release date has been set just yet, but we will be covering this extensively as it develops.

Alan Tudyk for Lucien,

-J. Partridge, III 

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