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Sandman Movie Loses Screenwriter, Neil Gaiman Repsonds

Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer has bowed out of the long-gestating Sandman movie, claiming the adaptation would be better suited to TV.


Add Eric Heisserer to the growing list of names to depart the long-in-development Sandman movie.

The Arrival screenwriter revealed to io9 that he, much like Jack Thorne and actor-director Joseph Gordon-Levitt before him, is no longer involved in the adaptation, before claiming that Neil Gaiman’s cult graphic novel would be better suited to television. It’s by no means the first time Sandman has been pitched for the small-screen – such is the dense, intricate nature of Gaiman’s source material – but will Heisserer’s departure and subsequent comment be enough to redirect attention to another medium?

Here’s what the departing screenwriter shared to io9:

“I had many conversations with [Sandman creator] Neil [Gaiman] on this, and I did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy. The structure of the feature film really doesn’t mesh with this. So I went back and said here’s the work that I’ve done. This isn’t where it should be. It needs to go to TV. So I talked myself out of a job!”

Creative differences, then, and that’s something that reportedly drove out both Jack Thorne and Gordon-Levitt some months ago. If New Line and Warner Bros. decide to repackage the adaptation, surely the upcoming American Gods – a series also based on a dense, multi-faceted Gaiman novel – stands as a good jumping-off point, right? Time will tell.

All in all, it’s another blow for Sandman, a project that’s been dogged with setbacks from the get-go.

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Michael Briers