By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist December 17, 2013 at 9:17AM
While certainly not without its problems, “Don Jon” proved a major effort from its director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt this year, first gaining acclaim at Sundance before making its way to theatres in September. His directing skills were the main takeaway from the experience though, and they haven’t gone unnoticed: news comes today that Levitt may be attached to a considerable leap in material for his sophomore feature, and also that he’s to lead the U.S. cast in the final film from the master of Japanese animation.
Deadline reports Levitt is set to produce and star in a Warner Bros. adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic book classic “The Sandman” with David Goyer, with an eye on the director's chair as well. Known for its decades-long journey stuck in development hell, Gaiman’s property looks to have finally escaped, with the news coming after rumors of Goyer’s version popped up last month. Levitt has confirmed his involvement, tweeting that he’s “incredibly honored” to work on the project with the team assembled, but he also ended the tweet with “#Prelude”, a hint as to the adaptation’s possible focus: the series’ first arc and collection “Preludes and Nocturnes”.
Levitt would play Dream (one name out of many), a personification of dreams who is imprisoned by an occult for 70 years and unleashed upon the modern world to wreak his revenge and rebuild his kingdom. As mentioned, “The Sandman” has gone through many incarnations (read more on that here), but we’re interested to see how Levitt shapes the material, either as producer, actor, director, or simply all three.
And if that wasn’t enough work for Levitt to tackle, the actor has also been revealed (via USA Today) as the lead in the U.S. voice cast for Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, “The Wind Rises,” which has its official American release next year. Faced with some criticism for its perspective on Japan’s actions in WWII, the film has nonetheless already garnered a Golden Globes nomination and named Best Animated Film by the National Board of Review. Those accolades—on top of the devoted audience that Miyazaki’s name usually draws—are enough to predict a effusive reception either way when the rest of the cast (which includes Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy, Werner Herzog, Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grey, Darren Criss, Elijah Wood and Ronan Farrow) gathers for the film’s U.S. release.