In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, David S. Goyer revealed he helped kill a feature film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman he was developing for Warner Bros. Goyer, who’s currently working as a writer and executive producer on Netflix’s The Sandman series, discussed how any adaptation should respect the original work’s intentions, which was not possible by limiting Gaiman’s work to a feature film length.
Goyer is best known for his writing work on the Blade trilogy and Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy. More recently, Goyer worked on the scripts for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Goyer is also the creator of the upcoming Apple series Foundation, set to adapt Isaac Asimov’s epic trilogy. His experience with successful IP adaptations led Goyer to a comfortable position where he can actually discuss the viability of specific projects, something he did for Warner Bros. Sandman feature film.
When asked how he handles studio pressure for what he thinks is the right path for a story, Goyer underlined how he’s always vocal about what he truly feels about each project he’s a part of. As Goyer puts it:
“I hope I’ve developed a reputation now for speaking with candor, for being honest. My go-to is always ‘what works for the story.’ And if I’m adapting an IP, like a comic book, I don’t try to turn it into something it’s not. Because if you do, no matter what, even if you have the best of intentions, it will definitely not work out. So there were times when I’ve been involved in projects when I’ve actually advocated that the studio not make it. I’ve said, ‘It’s going to fail. It’s not worth the money.’ I’ve talked myself out of movies and TV shows being made before.”
One of these movies was a feature iteration of Sandman. As Goyer retells it, the script for a Sandman feature had to be reworked many times, before he finally convinced Warner Bros. that the feature format was not the right media for the story. In Goyer’s words:
“I was trying to get Warner Bros. to do a streaming serialized show and they wanted to do it as a feature instead. So Neil and I worked on a feature, and through the various iterations, it just kept subtly getting more and more deformed, and shifting more and more away from the true north. Finally, we just said, ‘Guys, please let’s stop, please kill it, let’s do it as a streaming show.’ Eventually, they did.”
The Sandman first behind-the-scenes look was revealed by Netflix last June, the same month the series supposedly wrapped shooting. Unfortunately, there’s no release yet for Netflix’s The Sandman adaptation.