‘Sandman’ Loses Another Screenwriter As ‘Arrival’ Scribe Departs

By November 6, 2016


The film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic series Sandman has taken another hit this week with the loss of its second screenwriter.

Arrival scribe Eric Heisserer, who boarded the project earlier this year shortly before the departure of director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has now made the decision to exit himself.

Heisserer revealed the news himself during a recent interview with io9, citing his personal belief the project is better suited for a television adaptation,

“I had many conversations with Neil on this, and I did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy.

“The structure of the feature film really doesn’t mesh with this. So I went back and said, ‘Here’s the work that I’ve done. This isn’t where it should be. It needs to go to TV.’ So I talked myself out of a job.”

Heisserer, whose screenwriting credits also include Final Destination 5, Lights Out and the 2011 prequel to The Thing, seems to be expressing an opinion shared by the majority of Sandman fans, not to mention Gaiman himself, who Tweeted a link to the story, calling Heisserer “very smart.”

The Sandman adaptation has existed on one drawing board or another since the mid-1990s, passing through a litany of producers, screenwriters and directors without ever gaining traction. A television version was in development as recently as 2011 by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, but that also never moved past the initial stages.

As the architect of the series, Gaiman often has been critical of Hollywood’s attempts to translate the incredibly dense narrative, calling one treatment “not only the worst Sandman script I’ve ever seen, but quite easily the worst script I’ve ever read,” and remarking during a 2007 panel at San Diego Comic-Con that he’d “rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie.”

With the project losing two screenwriters and a director in less than a year, fans may begin to wonder if Gaiman has the right idea.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).