Some recent showbiz news that our usual correspondents haven’t been able to keep up with.
§ Joseph Gordon-Levitt has left the Sandman movie adaptation which he’s been working on for years. He was slated to direct it and star in it, but that is all tears in the rain now. The project seemed to be back on track after years or development after New Line announced that Conjuror 2 writer Eric Heisserer had just been tapped to write the screenplay. But rather than moving the project forward, this was the last straw for Gordon-Levitt, as he revealed on Facebook:
“Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta ‘ownership’ (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And a few months ago, 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. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project. I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.
“I’d like to thank all the great people I’ve had the opportunity to work with on this one. I’ve had a blast with and learned a ton from David and Jack. Niija Kuykendall, Greg Silverman, and everyone at Warner Brothers have been fantastic, as have Geoff Johns and everyone at DC. And it’s been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman, whose generous insights and masterful work have certainly convinced me that the Lord of Dreams and the Prince of Stories are one and the same Endless pattern.”
Gordon-Levitt and Sandman creator Neil Gaiman tweeted their mutual respect:
.@neilhimself Deepest thanks, kind sir. I sincerely hope we find another way to collaborate sooner than later..
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) March 5, 2016
But the project is back to the script stage. Granted, making a Sandman movie is one of the most daunting tasks in the canon. Gordon-Levitt seemed sincere about making the project; hopefully the New Line folks are as well. Meanwhile, Gaiman and the rest of us enjoy the still existing comics which are still immensely readable and powerful.
§ But DC/Vertigo are not lacking for filmic projects! Scalped, the intense crime saga set around Native American reservation life by Jason Aaron and RM Guera is in development for a TV show at WGN America, whatever that is. A pilot order has been placed, and Geoff Johns is attached as executive producer.
Banshee’s Doug Jung will pen the script and executive produce the DC Comics series originally written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R.M. Guéra. DC Entertainment creative director Johns is attached to exec produce the drama, which hails from Warner Horizon Television. Insiders say WGN America is eyeing an all Native American cast.
Well, yeah, because if THIS gets whitewashed, the outcry will destroy any interest in the project’s worth. Aaron Facebook and tweeted his pleasure at this project but also reminded us he has many other books out.
If you're excited about the upcoming SCALPED pilot, might I recommend the newest series by the creators of SCALPED. pic.twitter.com/QZlwxFLLxD
— Jason Aaron (@jasonaaron) March 7, 2016
ALSO, Scalped is being reprinted in that handsome oversized hardcover format Vertigo has used for a lot of heir classic, so go read the comic. It’s good!
§ And finally, NBC is making a show called Powerless, which is the one DC show I’m most interested in because it’s basically The Office in the DC universe. It sounds a lot like No Heroics, a brief BBC show created by Drew Pearce about superheroes hanging out in a seedy bar and being desperate. But Powerless sounds even weirder than that.
The single-camera series is described as an Office-type comedy without any actual superheroes, set at “one of the worst insurance companies in America — with the twist being that it also takes place in the universe of DC Comics. The show is about the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of superheroes and villains.”
Firefly favorite Alan Tudyk will play Del, Emily (Vanessa Hudgens)’s superior, as well as the company owner’s son and “a power-mad disastrous dictator of a boss,” while Community alum Danny Pudi will play Teddy, Emily’s best work friend, trusted confidante and office prankster. Christina Kirk will play Jackie, superhero fan and assistant to Tudyk’s Del, buckling under the pressure.
The show seemingly includes some obscure DC superheroes in the cast such as The Crimson Fox and Jack O’Lantern.
— Justice League News (@JusticeLeagueNw) March 7, 2016
Whoa. This. Is. Going.To. Be. Weird. § Seriously can’t they just bring back The Mystery Men?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.