Sandman

There have been several attempts to adapt Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman over the years, sometimes as a TV series and sometimes as a film. In some ways, the former seems the easier way to go. The original Sandman series consisted of 75 issues, and even the more standalone arcs worked better as part of a cohesive whole.

But current producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt is making Sandman as a movie, and now he explains why. Naturally, that means a few things are going to get lost in the translation. Gordon-Levitt admits he might piss off the “literalists,” but pledges to stay true to the “overall sentiment” of the books. Read the Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sandman comments after the jump. 

Gordon-Levitt explained why he felt Sandman would make a better film than a show during a Reddit AMA:

I think a big screen adaptation is a better idea and here’s why. If you did the episodic version, I think it could very well end up as a not-as-good-version of what is already brilliant in the comics. But by reworking the material into a big movie, Gaiman’s brilliant characters and ideas get to take shape in a way they never have before. Also, I think Sandman deserves to look absolutely mind-blowingly awesome, just on a visual level, and as cinematic as some tv shows are becoming these days, they still can’t compete with big movies visually, just because they can’t afford to.

He fully acknowledges that his Sandman movie won’t be a word-for-word, beat-for-beat adaptation of Gaiman’s comic:

Yeah, there’s tons of little brilliant moments throughout the series, and we certainly can’t incorporate all of them. We are using a whole bunch of specifics straight from the comics, but of course, we’re also having to do a certain amount of invention, and in between that, there’s tons of re-appropriating, re-contextualizing, combining, consolidating, and all manner of things that literalists might not like. But what we try to be completely faithful about is the overall sentiment: that Dreams and Stories and Magic are actually all the same thing, and that they’re real, and that they’re powerful.

It’ll be some time before we see how Gordon-Levitt’s decision pays off, but he talks a good talk at least. Slavishness doesn’t tend to make for great films. The best adaptations are the ones that capture the spirit of the source material, but give themselves the freedom to tweak it as needed. And Gordon-Levitt seems very aware that he’s not making a typical superhero movie.

On another note, Gordon-Levitt also touched upon his other comic book movie, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Since Warner Bros. is rebooting its DC franchise, it seems unlikely we’ll ever see Gordon-Levitt’s character Blake again. But just in case you’re curious, here’s what he believes the character did after discovering the Batcave: “Put on “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.”

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