Joseph Gordon-Levitt is nearing completion of a deal that would attach him as a producer on a film adaption of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and the actor may also star and direct, according to Deadline. Gordon-Levitt has previously been mentioned as a possible star, but it appears like he will take on a much bigger role alongside producer David S. Goyer.
Sandman, based on Neil Gaiman’s Vertigo comic for adults that ran from 1989 to 1996 (and is currently in the middle of a new prequel run called Sandman: Overture), tells the story of Dream of the Endless, a being older than gods who is himself – or itself – a personification of dreams and storytelling. The character, also known as Morpheus throughout the bulk of the series, is one of seven eternals, each representing a different aspect of life, including Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Throughout the rich and sprawling series, Dream escapes from prison, journeys to Hell and becomes its caretaker, and commissions two plays from William Shakespeare.
Goyer, who has been involved with a shocking number of comic adaptions, is perhaps best known as a writer. He is currently working on the screenplay for Man of Steel 2, worked on the story for all three of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, and wrote the three Blade films (he also directed Blade: Trinity). He has also been producing since 1991. For the last two years or so Goyer has attempted to bring Sandman to the big screen, which itself has been bounced around Hollywood since at least 1996 when Pulp Fiction’s Roger Avary was attached to direct, but was fired after disagreements with the executive producer. Since then the film has been discussed as both a film and a TV series, but has remained firmly in limbo, despite interest.
Most recently Warner Bros. licensed the property to produce a TV show headed by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. Gaiman later wrote that he and DC both liked Kripke’s pitch, but that it just didn’t feel right.
According to Deadline’s report, Gordon-Levitt is part of what WB has been waiting for. The studio believes in the actor, and thinks the time is right to introduce the property as a possible franchise. Gordon-Levitt for his part, is said to be interested in starring and producing, and possibly even directing. Following his well-received directorial debut with Don Jon, the studio may be willing to give him a shot.
Assuming this all goes through, the next step will be to hire a writer. Goyer himself may attempt to write the script, but his schedule is fairly booked as a writer and director through 2015.
Updated: Following the publication of this article, Joseph Gordon-Levitt tweeted that it is official.
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) December 17, 2013