Yesterday, The Beat had a chance to talk with Mark and Brian Gunn, writers of the Screen Gems superhero-horror hybrid Brightburn. Towards the end of the interview, I asked what they’re up to next (as I usually do). While they’re no longer working on adapting Mark Millar‘s Jupiter’s Legacy (for reasons you can read in the full interview), Mark Gunn did tell The Beat.

“Among other things, we’re working on sort of a DC/Vertigo adaptation for New Line that we can’t totally talk about it, but it is not a heavy horror idea, I will say that.”

So let’s think about what that could possibly be.
New Line has had the rights to Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman and other Vertigo books for a couple years. Sandman is one of the movies the studio has been trying to crack for a while, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt was developing that to direct before he dropped out over two years ago. Around the same time, Eric Heisserer (Arrival) was tapped to rewrite the script.
Recently (and probably every time he’s interviewed), Gaiman mentioned that the fate of a Sandman movie lies totally in the hands of DC and Time Warner, who own the property, but he also thought that a movie was very likely to happen. “As the years go on, the probability that a Sandman thing will happen, obviously, increase continually,” he said back in March at a SXSW panel for the upcoming Good Omens.
Another “Vertigo” book, of sorts, that has been talked about a lot in recent years was one based on DC Comics’ Justice League Dark — which brought together the likes of John Constantine and Zatanna, characters that have straddled the line between DC and Vertigo. That movie has had a very  long stream of writers and directors involved, including Guillermo del Toro and even Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. The thing is that the Justice League Dark has never been associated directly with New Line as Sandman has, and in a story from 2015, when New Line took over the Vertigo line, it was stated that Justice League Dark wasn’t part of that, so we can rule that out.
The other thing is that Gunn says it’s not a “heavy horror idea” which rules out a lot, but doesn’t necessarily rule out Sandman, which is more high fantasy, even though it has its roots in horror.
The other possibility is that it can be any of the hundreds of Vertigo books that have been released over the last 25 years, as only a few (like Preacher and Y the Last Man) have been earmarked for television series.  (A movie based on one of Brian Azzarello‘s books like 100 Bullets or Loveless could be amazing and Tom Hardy was developing the former but 100 Bullets just seems too complicated for a movie.)
Also, the fact that Gunn mentioned this was for New Line means it’s definitely not another DC Universe series ala the upcoming Swamp Thing.
This will have to remain a mystery for now, as we’ll have to wait for an announcement about progress on a Vertigo movie. As of now, there has been no recent announcement about any Vertigo movie.
Check back later for the rest of our interview with Mark and Brian Gunn, in the meantime, what Vertigo-based property do you think they might be working on? Sound off in the comments!


  1. Yeah, my best guess would be ‘Sandman’, though ‘Death: The High Cost of Living’ might be another contender.

  2. I was going to mention the Death movie but that definitely seemed to be in Neil Gaiman’s hands (he was gonna direct) and I think that’s been scrapped in favor of a bigger Sandman movie. From what I remember, Shazam was with New Line even before that was bought/merged with Warner Bros. That had been in development for over ten years since I remember Peter Segal was attached to direct around the time of Get Smart.

  3. Irwin,
    I struggled over the sentence about it being “not another DC Universe series,” but I think “DC Universe” here is the streaming service and the sentence is meant to clarify that Gunn saying they were working on something “for New Line” meant that it was a feature film not another streaming TV show.
    (The naming of the streaming service “DC Universe” seems to be causing lots of confusion all over between people talking about that and people using the old meaning of the fictional universe of DC comics.)

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