Yesterday, The Dark Knight Rises star Joseph Gordon-Levitt shocked fans of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman by announcing that he had exited the project's film adaptation over a rift with distributor New Line.
It's sent ripples through social media, as fans who believed The Sandman was closer than it ever had been before. The project, one of a number of high-profile comics projects some have claimed are "unfilmable," has been in various stages of development for years.
It's one of a number of Gaiman projects currently targeted for an other-media adaptation, with things like Coraline and Stardust behind him and books like The Graveyard Book, American Gods and The Sandman happening now. But losing a high-profile producer, potential star and all-around champion of the film in the form of Levitt stings a little, for sure.
So, as you'd expect of an author with a passionate following, a strong social media presence, and a name that's as closely associated with The Sandman as any creator with any work-for-hire project in comics history, Gaiman was quizzed by fans about Levitt's departure.
Here's what he had to say about it (after retweeting Levitt's original message), via Twitter:
And, for the record, my respect for @hitRECordJoe, is undiminished. Getting to know him was the best bit of the last round. He's special.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 5, 2016
Reminder for the curious: I don't own SANDMAN. @DCComics does. I don't choose who writes scripts, the director, producer or cast.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
I didn't lose them: I never owned them. The deal was done when I was 26, long ago, & I figured it was worth it. https://t.co/SHqC39XU5p— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
For me, what's important is the 2,500 pages of SANDMAN, not a movie that may or may not ever happen. https://t.co/6NZe47nvJ4— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 6, 2016
Assuming the film goes forward, New Line is reportedly eyeing The Sandman as a trilogy. It's unclear exactly what creative differences it was that caused Gordon-Levitt to bail, so without him, it's hard to know whether any of the existing information we've heard -- almost all of which came from him -- will hold true.