Back in March, New Line Cinema's highly-anticipated adaptation of Sandman suffered a huge blow when it lost Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who had been attached to both direct and star in the movie. Today we have word that the project has now lost its screenwriter, Eric Heisserer, who came aboard in March, just one day after Joseph Gordon-Levitt left the project. While doing press for his new movie Arrival, the writer says he's taken himself off the project, and that this Neil Gaiman comic would be better suited as a TV show.
io9 caught up with Eric Heisserer, whose other writing credits include this year's hit low-budget thriller Lights Out, Hours, The Thing, Final Destination 5 and The Nightmare on Elm Street reboot. The writer says he just couldn't see eye to eye with the studio about the direction a Sandman movie should take. Here's what Eric Heisserer had to say about why he thinks Sandman should be turned into a TV series instead of a movie.
"I had many conversations with Neil Gaiman on this, and I did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy. The structure of the feature film really doesn't mesh with this. So I went back and said here's the work that I've done. This isn't where it should be. It needs to go to TV. So I talked myself out of a job!"
The writer also addressed the timing of him signing on just a day after Joseph Gordon-Levitt backed away from the project. He confirmed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually left the project "seven months before I came on... So it looked like I was responsible for that leave when in fact I had nothing to do with that." Eric Heisserer also added that both he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt had similar ideas about the direction a Sandman movie should go in. No story details were given, so it isn't known how closely this feature adaptation would have stuck to the iconic comic books, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt had hinted that the story would deviate from the comics but stay true to their spirit.
As of now, New Line hasn't announced a replacement for either Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Eric Heisserer on their Sandman adaptation. Author Neil Gaiman revealed shortly after Joseph Gordon-Levitt left the project that he still respects the actor. New Line hasn't set a release date for Sandman at this time, so we'll have to wait and see where this project goes from here.