Watchmen is Awesome?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Wil Wheaton has seen an early screening of Watchmen, and he declares it f—ing awesome — which, I must admit, surprised me. Director Zack Snyder had a couple interesting points to make in the Q&A:

He said that when he was in film school, he wanted to make movies out of everything, whether it was a pair of shoes, or a cup of coffee. When he read comics back then, he thought that it would be great to make some of them into movies. He singled out Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, but when he got to Watchmen, he said there was no way he would even attempt it.

Then the studio came to him after 300 and asked him to make the movie. He didn’t want to do it at first, partially because he was so afraid he’d screw it up, but also because the script was just horrible. It was set in the current day, it was about Doctor Manhattan going to Iraq, something about “The War on Terror” and was a PG-13 monstrosity that would be left open to a sequel. It was, in other words, exactly the kind of thing we’re so afraid the studios will do to things we love when they adapt them for film.

He said that the more he thought about it, though, the more he felt a responsibility to make it. He said something like, “If I made it, I had a chance to not screw it up. If I did screw it up, at least it was me who screwed it up. But if I let them take the script they showed me to someone else to screw up, it would have been my fault. So I had to make it.”

He also talked about how the studio kept trying to turn it into what he called a “PG-13 Superhero movie” and how he just refused to let that happen. He said that it was going to be rated R, there wouldn’t be this ending that they wanted which would make you go for f—’s sake, are you serious with that bullshit? It would be set in 1985, and it would be faithful to the book.

The merchandising machinery is already rolling, by the way, with figures and busts of the characters aimed at the comic-collecting geek crowd, but what caught my eye was the Watchmen lunch box with the Minutemen on the lid. Cute.

I have to wonder how mainstream audiences will receive a left-anarchist 80s period piece.

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