Zack Snyder reveals the 'Watchmen' (Mania.com)

By:Laura Ellison
Date: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Compared to the filled-to-the-brim Paramount panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the Warner Bros. Panel felt oddly slim. That's probably because they didn't premiere the expected trailer/any footage for 'The Dark Knight'. (Instead, said trailer premiered online later in the afternoon following a viral flash mob event outside the convention center). Ah well.

We still got many exclusives, like the trailers for 'Get Smart', '10,000 BC', 'Whiteout', 'Trick 'r Treat', 'One Missed Call'. We also had live panel appearances by some of the actors and producers from those films, like Steve Carell, The Rock, Kate Beckinsale, Masi Oka, Edward Burns, and Shannon Sossamon. But of course, the biggest news from the event came from the lengthy presentation on 'Watchmen' - so let's talk about that film adaptation, shall we?

Perhaps the most interesting news that was announced about the film was the full cast list for the Watchmen, a list that was largely leaked online in the run-up to the show.

Dave Gibbons Watchmen Movie Poster from Comic-Con 2007
Dave Gibbonscreated a newWatchmenposterexclusivelyfor Comic-Con2007

Director Zack Snyder prefaced the announcement by saying that a) he didn't want to cast big stars and instead wanted to cast more unknown actors who were right for the part, just like he did with '300' (which he joked that "a few" people saw), and b) he didn't want to cast two actors for each role, i.e. different actors to play the young and old versions of each character.

Snyder said that he finds it incredibly distracting in films when this happens, and always feels like it pulls him out of the movie when he has to take a moment to figure out, "Wait, is that the same character? Oh, that must be the younger version - ok, continue with the film." So rather than have that happen, he tried to cast actors who could be believable as both young and old - and fortunately, he will have CG and makeup to help this be convincing. And so, the cast is as follows:

Snyder remarked that Dr. Manhattan will be CG after the accident happens, because "I didn't want to see someone with blue paint all over their body, which was actually discussed. We needed someone who could glow, and who would look awesome when they grow to 200 feet and are stomping through the jungles of Vietnam."

Actors Malin Akerman and Jackie Earle Haley also joined Snyder at the panel after the announcement, but they didn't end up speaking since no one asked them any questions. Oh well.

Snyder discussed his vision for the film at length. He said that decided not to update the story and set it in modern times, because "Watchmen shouldn't come to the people...the people should come to Watchmen." So the film will be set in 1985, just like the original story (and yes, the "Poodle" hairdo will be in the film).

He also said that he felt like the original time period for 'Watchmen' really speaks to our current times with the War on Terror anyway, so there's really no need to alter the story with updates. Later on, Snyder remarked that he felt that updating the story to modern times really hurt 'V For Vendetta', and was a bad decision, so he did not want to make the same "mistake" (I hope "Vendetta" producer Joel Silver, who was there for the 'Whiteout' panel, didn't hear that).

Snyder said that the movie will be rated "R", because the things that happen in the book are not PG-13, and they don't want to try to make this story accessible to teenyboppers.

He said that they are shooting the film in Vancouver, and are currently building a lot of New York City sets. Everyone's back-story will be in the movie, and as he said before, we will see the characters as both young and old.

When asked if he would try to be strictly faithful to Alan Moore's visual style and story, like he was with Frank Miller's '300', Snyder said that he would indeed try to be as faithful as possible to Moore's vision - right down to the framing of how action scenes play out in the novel - and added that he told Moore that they would do whatever he wants. Alan Moore never wants his name to be associated with film adaptations of his novels, and this movie is no exception, so Snyder is realistic about the fact that Moore will probably hate whatever they do. But Snyder said that he hopes someday Alan Moore will watch the DVD and say, "You know, they didn't fuck it up that bad."

Finally, Snyder revealed a teaser poster done by Dave Gibbons specifically for ComicCon. Looked pretty cool! And so, frankly, does this film. Here's hoping!



Series: Watchmen