joseph gordon levitt

gage skidmore

He said the studio and he ‘just don’t see eye to eye.’

Just one day after New Line Cinema announced a new screenwriter for the Sandman movie, actor/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt left the project, citing creative differences.

Gordon-Levitt was on track to direct and star in the long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman comics, collaborating with Gaiman, longtime DC Comics filmmaker David Goyer, and screenwriter Jack Thorne.

Then, in a Facebook post on Saturday, Gordon-Levitt announced that he would no longer be working on Sandman.

“A few months ago,” he wrote, “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.”

He went on to thank his collaborators on the film, adding that “it’s been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman.”

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It’s not unusual for films to change hands during the early stages of development, although it’s rare to see such a well-known actor come right out and say that he left due to creative differences. In this case, it’s safe to assume that Gordon-Levitt’s decision was connected to New Line hiring a new writer, a move that generally signals a new creative direction.

The original screenwriter, Jack Thorne, is best known for the acclaimed British drama series This Is England and for collaborating with J.K. Rowling to create Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The new writer, Eric Heisserer, has primarily worked on horror movies like Final Destination 5.

On Twitter, Neil Gaiman seemed entirely supportive of Gordon-Levitt’s decision, saying that he’d be happy to work with him again. He also clarified that he has no official creative control over Sandman adaptations.

While Gaiman said nothing negative about New Line or Sandman‘s new direction, his tweets tacitly distanced himself from the film. Sandman was always going to be a difficult comic to adapt, and this upheaval definitely feels like a worrying sign.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested.