Late last year, the news broke that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt had signed on to produce a big-screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved DC/Vertigo comic-book series Sandman. The popularity of the Sandman comics in the 1990s had prompted DC’s bosses at Warner Bros. to pursue a movie version back then, but in the era before comic-book movies were commonplace, no one could seem to figure out how to turn Gaiman’s sprawling, episodic meditation on immortality, iconography, and storytelling into a single, comprehensible screenplay. But Gordon-Levitt—who’s been working with Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and screenwriter Jack Thorne—told Moviefone this week that he thinks he and his collaborators have figured it out. During an interview with Drew Taylor about Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, the conversation ranged to other topics, and then Taylor and Gordon-Levitt had this exchange:
So where are you with Sandman right now?
Right now we’re working on a script. It’s me and Goyer and the screenwriter and Neil Gaiman, as well as the good folks at DC and Warner Bros. It’s a really cool team of people. It’s a lot of the same people who worked on the Nolan Batman movies. It’s really exciting. There’s not a script yet, we’re still kind of working it out because it’s such a complicated adaptation because Sandman wasn’t written as novels. Sin City was written as a novel. Sandman is 75 episodic issues. There’s a reason people have been trying and failing to adapt Sandman for the past 20 years.
Do you have the right take to finally make it happen?
You know, we’re still in the middle of it, so I don’t want to make any claims, but I think we’ve got the right ideas.
Have you talked about a Sandman universe?
It’s such a huge world. We’re definitely talking about in terms of a whole world.
Would you be down for tackling other aspects of this universe?
Who knows man?! I’m flattered you’re asking. But I can’t say anything committal.
I reproduced the back-and-forth in full to capture some of what the Joseph Gordon-Levitt experience is like. (He’s a very likable, upbeat person.) From what Gordon-Levitt has to say above, it sounds like there’s still a long way to go before Sandman even gets turned into a script, let alone a movie. But never count Gordon-Levitt out. He’s a can-do guy.