BAFTA-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England) has been set to work on the script for the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved Sandman comic book, with David S. Goyer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt confirmed to be involved as well.
Having been in the works at Warner Bros. in various forms since the late 1990s, the story of Sandman follows Dream (aka Morpheus), who is a part of a group called The Endless – the most powerful beings in the universe. Each of The Endless are embodiments of natural functions and alongside Dream, the group comprises of Destiny, Destruction, Death, Desire, Despair and Delirium. Presiding over the world of dreams, our protagonist is often cruel in his actions. However, after an imprisonment of 70 years, he is soon faced with the challenge of righting his past wrongs.
The award-winning comic book series ran from January 1989 to March 1996, consisting of 75 issues, and has been one of a select few graphic novels ever to grace the New York Times Bestseller List. Neil Gaiman has, in the past, been admirably vocal about attempts to bring this particular work to the big screen, but has not been above deriding scripting efforts that he perceived as sub-standard. Thorne’s script, however, will be based upon a story pitch by producer/writer David S. Goyer (Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Man Of Steel), and so far all parties seem satisfied.
On the directing front, many names have been associated with the project during its long gestation, including Roger Avary. Speaking to Empire in back 2007, at the UK premiere of Stardust, creator Neil Gaiman explained his affinity for Terry Gilliam and his directorial work:
“I would always give anything to Terry Gilliam, forever, so if Terry Gilliam ever wants to do Sandman then as far as I’m concerned, Terry Gilliam should do Sandman…”
Terry Gilliam – the exceptional talent that he is – has long been busy elsewhere, and so the search continued until the announcement in December 2013 of the unspecified involvement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Gordon-Levitt unveiled his directorial debut Don Jon – in which he also starred – at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013 to very positive reviews, going on to enjoy a profitable wider release later that year. While his involvement in Sandman is known to be in the role of producer, speculation is rife that he will also direct and possibly star, too. Such a move into big-budget production would be a significant moment in his film career, although it should not be forgotten that Gordon-Levitt regularly orchestrates a wide variety of complex creative projects through his hitRECord collaborative production company.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt will next be seen onscreen in Sin City: A Dame To Kill, alongside Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Rosario Dawson. Directed by both Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, this sequel to the 2005 comic book adaptation Sin City will arrive in US cinemas on August 22, and in UK cinemas on August 29 2014.
The work of screenwriter Jack Thorne will next be seen in A Long Way Down – a comedy/drama starring Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette and Pierce Brosnan – which Thorne adapted from Nick Hornby’s 2005 novel of the same name. That film is released on March 21 2014 in the UK, and the quality of its adapted screenplay will surely be subject to extra scrutiny now that its writer has landed one of the most anticipated projects of recent years.
While fans feast upon A Long Way Down, however, Sandman is still a long way off. As always though, we’ll let you know when we hear more.