What may have seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt potentially star and direct in, now the actor has left the Sandman movie altogether.
Following the news that New Line Cinema had enlisted a new screenwriter for Sandman (Final Destination 5 and The Conjuring 2 screenwriter Eric Heisserer), Joseph Gordon-Levitt posted an update on his Facebook page offering that he has left the project.
JGL cites the reason for his departure being that Sandman changed hands from Warner Bros. to their subsidiary, New Line Cinema, and that JGL and New Line aren't seeing eye-to-eye. JGL also seems to indicate Sandman got pretty far at Warner Bros. as he mentions working with David Goyer, DC Entertainment chief creative officer and producer Geoff Johns and Neil Gaiman.
Dwayne Johnson's Shazam movie is also at New Line Cinema, with The Rock playing Black Adam. Johnson previously indicated it would be independent of what Zack Snyder was doing with the Justice League universe, but it's speculated to still be somehow connected.
Here is what Joseph Gordon-Levitt posted about Sandman:
So, as you might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, a while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN. Neil himself came on as an executive producer, we hired the excellent screenwriter, Jack Thorne, and we started in on the ambitious task of adapting one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics. I was pleased with the progress we were making, even though we still had quite a ways to go.
Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta "ownership" (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And a few months ago, I came to realize that the folks at New Line and I just don't see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special, and what a film adaptation could/should be. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project. I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.
I'd like to thank all the great people I've had the opportunity to work with on this one. I've had a blast with and learned a ton from David and Jack. Niija Kuykendall, Greg Silverman, and everyone at Warner Brothers have been fantastic, as have Geoff Johns and everyone at DC. And it's been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman, whose generous insights and masterful work have certainly convinced me that the Lord of Dreams and the Prince of Stories are one and the same Endless pattern.