[Update: Joseph Gordon-Levitt has now exited the project altogether. Full story here.]
It’s been a while since we heard much about Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Neil Gaiman comic The Sandman. The project initially materialized in late 2013 with the involvement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and writer/producer David S. Goyer, with Gordon-Levitt attached to direct and star in the film. The following year, Gordon-Levitt said he was working on the script with Gaiman and Goyer, but then the film switched studios, with Warner Bros. shifting its Vertigo Comics properties over to New Line while it focused its efforts on DC Comics projects.
Now, however, the project is firmly moving forward with a new writer, as Variety reports that Final Destination 5 and The Conjuring 2 screenwriter Eric Heisserer has come aboard to pen the script for The Sandman, with Gordon-Levitt set to direct and star. Heisserer’s credits are heavy with genre fare, but he also penned Sicario director Denis Villeneuve‘s next film, the first contact sci-fi pic The Story of Your Life starring Amy Adams.
We actually first heard word about a new writer last fall, when Steve spoke with Goyer who revealed they had just started a re-write with “a really fantastic writer.” He declined to name Heisserer at the time, but he did comment on the film’s move from Warner Bros. to New Line:
“I think that the Vertigo properties are a bit more quirky and off-center than kind of the mainstream superhero stuff at Warners. But I understand the decision because we’re not having to fight for release dates with the Vertigo stuff like we would have been having to do over at Warner Bros. But I feel confident that film will go into production hopefully next year.”
Gaiman’s sci-fi/fantasy comic series follows Morpheus, who is basically the god of dreams, so there’s plenty of visual potential with this feature film. Gordon-Levitt’s been quite busy as of late and recently committed to starring in an R-rated musical with Channing Tatum, but one imagines he’s itching to get back behind the camera after his promising 2013 directorial debut Don Jon. With the hiring of a new writer, and with Goyer’s hope that filming gets underway in 2016, it looks as though The Sandman may finally be heating up.