Friday, February 9, 2007


Watchmen is a film adaptation of Alan Moore's twelve-issue Hugo Award-winning comic book Watchmen. The adaptation is directed by Zack Snyder, who helmed 300.

On June 23, 2006, Warner Bros. announced that Zack Snyder would direct Watchmen with Alex Tse attached to write the script. The director previously filmed 300, a Warner Bros. adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300.

Alex Tse wrote a new script that drew the best elements from two of David Hayter's previous drafts in the new script. The script did not keep the contemporary atmosphere that Hayter created, but instead returned to the original Cold War setting of the Watchmen comic. Snyder said that Warner Bros. was agreeable to the 1980's script that had been turned in. In the script, the director had also added a title montage sequence to introduce the events of alternate history United States in that time period to the audience. "The Black Freighter", a comic within the Watchmen comic, was included in the script, but the director said that he did not know if the potential narrative device for the story would make it into the film.

Snyder said of his plans for filming Watchmen: "There are so many easter eggs in the frames (of the comic) so you want that level of detail in the movie itself." The director said that he planned to use a combination of sets and green screens. The scenes that take place on Mars, Antarctica, and in "The Black Freighter" would require green screens, while the rest of the film would take place on sets. Snyder said that he hoped to speak to Watchmen author Alan Moore before filming, though Moore had sworn off involvement with film or television productions after his disagreement with the V for Vendetta film adaptation.

In November 2006, Zack Snyder said that he planned to begin working on Watchmen right after completing 300. Snyder explained that the "The Black Freighter" was written into the script in a way that the story could be left out if necessary and not affect the rest of the film. The director hoped to include scenes of "The Black Freighter" on the Watchmen DVD release if the studio decided to leave out the story due to time constraints. "I'm totally fine with that, but I feel like that's a battle I haven't lost yet, so I'm not going to concede to it yet," Snyder said. Snyder hopes to begin production in spring 2007.

In December 2006, comic book artists Adam Hughes and John Cassaday were confirmed to work on character and costume design for Watchmen.

In an interview with Variety's Danny Graydon, Watchmen writer Alan Moore adamantly opposed a film adaptation of his comic book, arguing, "You get people saying, 'Oh, yes, Watchmen is very cinematic, when actually it's not. It's almost the exact opposite of cinematic." Moore said that Terry Gilliam, preparing to direct Watchmen for Warner Bros. at the time, had asked Moore how the writer would film it. Moore told Graydon about his response, "I had to tell him that, frankly, I didn't think it was filmable. I didn't design it to show off the similarities between cinema and comics, which are there, but in my opinion are fairly unremarkable. It was designed to show off the things that comics could do that cinema and literature couldn't."

Moore also told Entertainment Weekly in December 2001, "With a comic, you can take as much time as you want in absorbing that background detail, noticing little things that we might have planted there. You can also flip back a few pages relatively easily to see where a certain image connects with a line of dialogue from a few pages ago. But in a film, by the nature of the medium, you're being dragged through it at 24 frames per second." Moore had opposed the adaptation of Watchmen from the beginning, intending to give any resulting film royalties to Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. According to Moore, Hayter's script "was as close as [he] could imagine anyone getting to Watchmen". However, Moore added, "I shan't be going to see it. My book is a comic book. Not a movie, not a novel. A comic book. It's been made in a certain way, and designed to be read a certain way: in an armchair, nice and cozy next to a fire, with a steaming cup of coffee."

In an early interview with Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons said that he thought the time had passed to make a Watchmen movie. At the time, Darren Aronofsky was expressing interest in directing the film under Paramount Pictures. Nevertheless, Gibbons said, "It was most likely to happen when Batman was a big success, but then that window was lost." Gibbons also told Neon, "In a way, I'm glad because it wouldn't have been up to the book."

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