‘Supernatural’ creator Eric Kripke weighs in on how ‘Sandman’ could best be adapted

Back in March, the latest attempt to adapt The Sandman hit another major bump in its long road to the screen when Joseph Gordon-Levitt dropped out of the film project that had just shifted from Warner Bros. to WB subsidiary New Line Cinema.

Gordon-Levitt, who was set to direct and star in the big-screen adaptation of the acclaimed Neil Gaiman comic, was candid about how he and the folks at New Line didn”t “see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special.”

It was bummer news for Gaiman fans hoping to see Sandman realized onscreen. Gordon-Levitt – whom we”ve seen grow so much as an actor since his 3rd Rock from the Sun days and even since (500) Days of Summer. He's taken on grittier, more introspective, and more varied roles like Inception, The Walk, and his directorial debut, Don Jon – seemed like a perfect fit for Morpheus.

The sprawling and rich comic series features dazzling visuals that span the cosmos (even descending into Hell). It”s both epic and philosophical, and it”s confounded Hollywood producers and executives trying to adapt it ever since the 1990s.

Before Gordon-Levitt”s film project came along, Eric Kripke was among those attempting to adapt the Vertigo series. Kripke, creator of Supernatural (which also delved into myth and legend, taking a good deal of influence from Gaiman”s works) was developing a Sandman TV show back in the fall of 2010. The following March, Kripke gave me the update that that adaptation was “not in the works” any longer.

I chatted with Kripke at Comic-Con this weekend about his new show Timeless (you can read my report on the time travel series” presence at SDCC here), and I asked him again about Sandman, now that another buzzy adaptation has stalled.

“[Sandman]”s a really hard, complicated, brilliant work,” Kripke said on the Timeless press line. “Neil wants it done right, as well he should. The stars have to align for somebody to just adapt that material the way it's meant to be adapted.”

I asked him what he thought about the idea of adapting Sandman to an animated series (HitFix”s Donna Dickens and Roth Cornet put forth their thoughts on that approach in this video), and Kripke responded, “My own personal hope would be that a channel like HBO makes a Game of Thrones-level show out of it. It requires that level of complexity.”

Meanwhile, Kripke is looking forward to the upcoming Starz adaptation of Gaiman”s American Gods.

American Gods is a big influence on Supernatural, so I'm stoked to see it,” he said.