Joseph Gordon-Levitt Bails on 'Sandman' Over Studio Creative Differences

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
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Gordon-Levitt announced on Facebook that he has left the DC/Vertigo comic book adaptation.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has left New Line's upcoming Sandman adaptation, just one day after the film found its writer. 

The actor announced the news on his Facebook page on Saturday afternoon, citing ownership issues and creative differences with New Line. "The folks at New Line and I just don't see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special," said Gordon-Levitt on Facebook, "and what a film adaptation could/should be. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project."

New Line did not have an immediate comment. He was originally slated to direct and star in the DC/Vertigo adaptation.

Sandman centers on Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. The comic book straddles the horror/fantasy genres, as Neil Gaiman, the author of the series, introduced the Endless, a group of powerful brothers and sisters that includes Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium (as well as Dream).

In Gordon-Levitt's statement, he also called Sandman "one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics." 

The actor recently signed on to produce and potentially star in K Troop, Amazon Studios' film about the birth of the KKK. The film starts in the post-Civil War South, chronicling the rise of the KKK and the man who led the U.S. Army's elite K Troop that stomped out the group in 1871. K Troop is based on a Slate article by Matthew Pearl.

The full Facebook statement is below. 

RE: SANDMAN

So, as you might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, a while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN. Neil himself came on as an executive producer, we hired the excellent screenwriter, Jack Thorne, and we started in on the ambitious task of adapting one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics. I was pleased with the progress we were making, even though we still had quite a ways to go.

Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta "ownership" (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And a few months ago, I came to realize that the folks at New Line and I just don't see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special, and what a film adaptation could/should be. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project. I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.

I'd like to thank all the great people I've had the opportunity to work with on this one. I've had a blast with and learned a ton from David and Jack. Niija Kuykendall, Greg Silverman, and everyone at Warner Brothers have been fantastic, as have Geoff Johns and everyone at DC. And it's been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman, whose generous insights and masterful work have certainly convinced me that the Lord of Dreams and the Prince of Stories are one and the same Endless pattern.

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