A great cry was heard out in the universe today, as though many voices cried out in pain and were then silent. Was Alderaan destroyed again? Did the Star Trek Enterprise explode, or did Jean Grey die for the umpteenth time?
Close, but no. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been announced as the star and director of the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s cult classic, the Vertigo comic book Sandman. Poised to play Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, I myself wonder if this is all just going to end up being some sort of nightmare. Not just any nightmare, of course, but that kind of nightmare that feels all too real, too palpable, when you wake up and wonder what your life is going to be like now that this nightmare has been made reality.
In this case, there is no waking up.
Connected also to the project (but not so connected that it has appeared on his IMDB page) is David S. Goyer, whose greatest claim to fame is the Dark Knight Trilogy, and who has been recently attached as the writer to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid film.
While the recent credentials of Goyer are promising, the task he is taking on is daunting at best. The plot of Sandman is an incredibly convoluted and twisted labyrinth, a journey well worth taking, of course, but full of so much that it is almost impossible to read through without wanting to double back, thumb through the pages in order to glean more levels of meaning than could be originally imagined. Although advances in special effects have been breathtaking (Life of Pi for example), one can’t hit rewind in a theater, and it will be there that the generations of potential fans could potentially be lost.
A mini-series, perhaps, could take on the giant task, but a single film could hardly do the sumptuous landscape of The Dreaming justice. However, this may be hard when the actor potentially portraying the ruler of such a land has the emotional range of “winning 20 dollars in a scratch off ticket” to “might have gotten another parking ticket today”. This is not to say that Gordon-Levitt is a hack, for his filmography is impressive, but this is no longer Third Rock from the Sun. This level of sci-fi fantasy needs less of an everyman, and more of a dream. Or Dream, in this case.
In this reporter’s opinion, the source material is nearly unfilmable, but it is important to note that such a term was also implied to the Alan Moore classic Watchmen. With Neil Gaiman set to Executive Produce, one can only imagine that the material is in the right hands for the most part, however once has to wonder…will this be The Fiddler’s Green, or The Corinthian?