Joseph Gordon-Levitt Reveals Why Sandman Should Be Movie And Not A TV Show!
I’ve never had the chance to read Neil Gainman’s Sandman but from what I’ve heard is it’s one of the great graphic novels and it is on my list. Just like anything involving a comic book Hollywood has acquired the rights and are currently trying to bring the graphic novel to the big screen. Normally I wouldn’t give this much of a thought except that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Don Juan) is set to produce, direct, and possibly star. JGL has been having quite a run in the acting side of things having starred in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises which lead to his directorial debut Don Juan which I thoroughly enjoyed, and made me interested in what his next venture as a director would be. Levitt answered some questions about Sandman while taking part of a Redditt AMA, and gave his reasoning why he feels it should, despite it’s vast story, remain a movie then a tv series.
“I think a big screen adaptation is a better idea and here’s why. If you did the episodic version, I think it could very well end up as a not-as-good-version of what is already brilliant in the comics. But by reworking the material into a big movie, Gaiman’s brilliant characters and ideas get to take shape in a way they never have before. Also, I think Sandman deserves to look absolutely mind-blowingly awesome, just on a visual level, and as cinematic as some TV shows are becoming these days, they still can’t compete with big movies visually, just because they can’t afford to.”
He is correct, even though shows have drastically changed over the years and have the ability to produce some amazing scenes, they still don’t compare to the effects a movie budget can bring. It’s the conundrum Watchmen faced, while the story could have more time to develop in a TV format, the effects would have suffered and there are times when the story and the effects most go hand-in-hand in order to develop a movie for a product such as Sandman.
Some could argue that HBO would be a fine home for a series, since they’ve been producing some pretty fantastic effects with their adaption of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series, in the massively successful Game of Thrones. While this is true, I would advise you to watch the first couple of season’s again. There isn’t much CGI in those seasons, they don’t really start becoming prevalent until season 4 and that show has built up quite a expensive budget, sitting at about 6 million per episode. The point is it had to earn that kind of spending power, and Sandman is a tiny boat in some untested waters. At least with a movie, we get the movie whether it succeeds or fails, that’s the gamble and we get a controlled story, how many times have you invested in a TV show only to be let down when it ends up cancelled?
Just like Game of Thrones, and pretty much anything that is getting adapted to a movie, there are things that must be cut or revamped so that it can be translated on a visual medium and JGL touched on this as well.
“Yeah, there’s tons of little brilliant moments throughout the series, and we certainly can’t incorporate all of them. We are using a whole bunch of specifics straight from the comics, but of course, we’re also having to do a certain amount of invention, and in between that, there’s tons of re-appropriating, re-contextualizing, combining, consolidating, and all manner of things that literalist’s might not like. But what we try to be completely faithful about is the overall sentiment: that Dreams and Stories and Magic are actually all the same thing, and that they’re real, and that they’re powerful.”
Sandman follows the character Dream, also known as Morpheus and other names, who is one of the seven Endless. The other Endless are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium who was once Delight, and Destruction who turned his back on his duties. The series is famous for Gaiman’s trademark use of anthropomorphic personification of various metaphysical entities, while also blending mythology and history in its horror setting. The Sandman is a story about stories and how Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is captured and subsequently learns that sometimes change is inevitable.