Joseph Gordon-Levitt has personally confirmed the rumors about his involvement in a bigscreen adaptation of The Sandman, tweeting that he is “incredibly honored” to be working with studio Warner Bros., writer David Goyer, and original Sandman creator Neil Gaiman on the project. Early reports implied that Gordon-Levitt would direct and star in the film, but he clarified his current role in a later tweet: “I’ve signed on as a producer on Sandman. The rest remains to be seen.”
The graphic novel series has been circling Hollywood for close to two decades now, most recently as a potential TV adaptation involving Supernatural Eric Kripke. (The project never seemed to develop, and Kripke opted for Revolution instead.) Part of the problem is almost certainly the project’s ridiculous complexity. Running for 75 issues that comprised ten “volumes” that mixed together far-flung one-off stories with densely layered serialized narratives, The Sandman focuses on a beyond-godlike figure — known variously as Dream, Morpheus, and a variety of more elaborate monikers — who controls the realm of dreams and is basically the lord of all imagination.
Although Gordon-Levitt is currently only onboard as a producer, it doesn’t take much of a leap to imagine that this could be his actor-director follow-up to Don Jon. And although the subject matter is decidedly more out there than the typical comic book, Warner Bros. could be looking at Sandman as a potential new franchise. Goyer co-wrote the Dark Knight films and is a key figure in the embryonic Justice League franchise; Gordon-Levitt himself played a key role in Dark Knight Rises.
Gordon-Levitt probably wouldn’t be the first person who comes to mind to play Dream. Pale, thin, with wild black hair and an angular face, the character was partially based on Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy and Gaiman himself. (Not to get all internet-y, but this is the rare occasion when Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston would actually be perfect for the role.) But the character’s a chameleon, and Gordon-Levitt’s proven that he’s no slouch.
Even better: The actor seems to know his material. His initial tweet featured the hashtag #Prelude, a reference to the title of the first Sandman volume, Preludes and Nocturnes. Mind you, it’s unclear if Gordon-Levitt was saying “The first Sandman movie will follow the narrative of Preludes and Nocturnes” or if he was just saying “This, my announcement, is a prelude to the possibility of actual development, much like how Preludes and Nocturnes was a prelude to the greater Sandman myth.” The point is, Gaiman is involved, which at least guarantees that this new Sandman will not feature the worst script he’s ever read.