Posted on Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 by Russ Fischer
There’s a new issue of Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman on stands now. It launches a short ongoing story called The Sandman: Overture, acting as an explanation of events that preceded the first issue of the seminal comic series. It’s the first new Sandman story since 2003, and the first series of multiple issues since the series originally ended in 1996. (And, in keeping with some periods of the original publication, Overture is already experiencing delays.)
All of which is a long way of saying that a lot of people are thinking and talking about Sandman again, and that seems to have re-ignited the interest in making a movie at Warner Bros. The latest word is that David Goyer has pitched a take that WB likes, and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the ideal candidate to play the lynchpin character Morpheus.
Badass Digest reports the news, but cautions that this is all very early, and could not happen at all. It would not be the first Sandman adaptation to fail; there have been a few possible movie versions, and most recently a mooted TV adaptation spearheaded by Eric Kripke of Supernatural.
There’s also some minor question of whether the interest in JGL is to direct rather than act, but BAD suspects the prime interest is to land him as an actor.
There are a couple things to consider here. One is Goyer, the current comic book golden boy at WB, whose hand in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies led to involvement in Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman, and a general “godfather” sort of role at the studio. If there’s anyone who can get WB to pull the trigger on this right now, it might be Goyer. Whether or not he’s the best man for the job is another question.
Then there’s the idea of a film adaptation of Sandman.
While the comic series was organized around the Endless, a family of personifications of human experience, those characters are at times only tangentially related to the stories at hand. Sandman was very deeply character-driven, with the Endless (Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction) acting as both pawns and masters, sometimes taking a backseat in the immediate action, while always playing a part in a larger story that arcs over all. There are many other characters who come and go, with some evolving into important, if infrequently-seen supporting characters over the span of the comic series.
Sandman is best adapted on television, where a variation of the American Horror Story anthology model could be adapted, with individual series telling separate stories connected by additional narrative strands.
In other words, one movie is probably a terrible idea. But if Goyer has pitched Warner Bros. a means to achieve another Harry Potter, that could be something else entirely. Even that seems like a longshot, though. Potter was pretty much guaranteed as a success after the first movie, thanks to the rabid fanbase cultivated by the novel series. Sandman is influential and very well regarded, but it doesn’t have that sort of concentrated and eager young fandom that can grow up with the films.
Personally, I’d still rather see no adaptation at all. But someone is going to do this eventually, and with the influence Goyer has at Warner Bros., now may be the time.