Watchmen (film)

Watchmen (film)

Infobox Film
name = Watchmen

caption = Teaser poster drawn by comic book co-creator Dave Gibbons
director = Zack Snyder
producer = Lawrence Gordon
Lloyd Levin
Deborah Snyder
writer = Screenplay:
Roberto Orci Alex Kurtzman Alex Tse
David Hayter
Comic Book:
Alan Moore
Dave Gibbons
starring = Patrick Wilson
Jackie Earle Haley
Malin Akerman
Billy Crudup
Matthew Goode
nowrap|Jeffrey Dean Morgan
music = Tyler Bates
cinematography = Larry Fong
editing =
distributor = North America:
Warner Bros.
Paramount Pictures
released = March 6, 2009
runtime =
country = United States
language = English
budget = $120 million [cite news|author=Michael Cieply|title=Judge Backs Fox on Rights to Superhero Movie|work=The New York Times|date=2008-08-18|url=|accessdate=2008-08-18]
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:353567
imdb_id = 0409459

"Watchmen" is a 2009 film adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 1986 comic book limited series "Watchmen". Directed by Zack Snyder, the film stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie and Carla Gugino. Set in 1985, the film follows a group of former vigilantes as war begins to break out between the United States and the Soviet Union. The film began shooting in Vancouver in September 2007 for release on March 6, 2009. Like his previous film "300", Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but unlike "300", he chose not to shoot all of "Watchmen" using chroma key.

Following the series' publication, the film adaptation was mired in development hell. Producer Lawrence Gordon began developing the project at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. with producer Joel Silver and director Terry Gilliam, the latter eventually deeming the complex novel unfilmable. During the 2000s, Gordon and Lloyd Levin collaborated with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures to produce a script by David Hayter (who set it in modern times). Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were attached to Paramount's project, before it was canceled over budget disputes. The project returned to Warner Bros., where Snyder was hired to direct (Paramount remained as international distributor). Fox is now suing Gordon for failing to pay a buy-out in 1991, which enabled him to develop the film at the other studios.

A DVD based on elements of the "Watchmen" universe will be released; it will include an animated adaptation of the comic "Tales of the Black Freighter" within the story, starring Gerard Butler, and the documentary "Under the Hood", detailing the older generation of superheroes from the film's back-story. An extended edition of the film, with "Tales of the Black Freighter" interspersed through the main storyline in a manner reminiscent of the comic, is also possible.


The story is set in an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist, Richard Nixon is still president, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union are at an all-time high. The vigilante Rorschach is investigating the murder of a former hero, the Comedian, and uncovers a plot to discredit and murder various heroes. Rorschach discovers a far wider-ranging conspiracy involving his colleagues' past which could completely change the course of history. [cite news | title = New "Watchmen" Synopsis | work = Superhero Hype! | date = 2007-07-16 | url = | accessdate=2007-07-16]


*Patrick Wilson as Daniel Dreiberg / Nite Owl II: A retired vigilante superhero with technological experience. John Cusack, a fan of the comic book, expressed interest in the role. [cite news | author=Shawn Adler | url= | title=John Cusack Calls Hilary Duff 'A Revelation'; Has His Eye On "Watchmen" | work=MTV | date=2007-06-13 | accessdate=2008-02-20] Wilson did not read the comic until he was offered the part, and loved it.cite news|author=Jennifer Vineyard|title=Patrick Wilson Says ‘Watchmen’ Ending Remains The Same|work=MTV|date=2008-07-16|url=|accessdate=2008-07-16] Wilson put on weight to play the character, instead of wearing a fatsuit.

* Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach: A superhero who continues his vigilante activities after they are outlawed. He was transformed over time from a "soft" costumed hero into a killer who sees the world in black and white. Haley and fourteen friends put together his audition, where he performed scenes from the comic. Haley "almost went nuts" trying to reconcile his understanding of complex human behavior with Rorschach's moral absolutism, stating the character made him wonder if people generally just make excuses for their bad actions. [cite news|author=Shawn Adler|title=Is Rorschach ‘Watchmen’s’ Most Heroic Character? Jackie Earle Haley Thinks So|work=MTV Splash Page|date=2008-08-21|url=|accessdate=2008-08-21] Rorschach wears a mask with ink blots that morph to reflect his emotions: motion capture markers were put on the contours of Earle Haley's blank mask, for animators to create his ever-changing expressions. Haley found the mask "incredibly motivating for the character" because of its confining design, which heated up quickly. [cite news | author = Shawn Adler | title = ‘Watchmen’ Images Revealed! Plus Rorschach Speaks Exclusively To MTV | work = MTV | date = 2008-03-06 | url = | accessdate=2008-03-07] Small holes were made in the mask for him to see.

*Malin Akerman as Laurie Juspeczyk / Silk Spectre II: A retired vigilante superheroine. Akerman described her character as the psychology and the emotion of the film due to being the only woman among the men. The actress worked out and trained to fight for her portrayal of the crimefighter. [cite news | author=Heather Newgen | url= | title= Malin Akerman Talks "Watchmen" | | date=2007-09-29 | accessdate=2007-09-29 ]

*Billy Crudup as Dr. Jon Osterman / Doctor Manhattan: A superhero with genuine, demigod-like powers who works for the U.S. government. The role was once pursued by actor Keanu Reeves,cite news | author=Diane Garrett | coauthors=Michael Fleming | url= | title=Cast set for "Watchmen" | work=Variety | date=2007-07-25 | accessdate=2007-07-31 ] but the actor abandoned his pursuit when the studio held up the project over budget concerns.cite news | author=Borys Kit | url= | title="Watchmen" powering up with castings | work=The Hollywood Reporter | date=2007-07-26 | accessdate=2007-07-26 ] He later visited the set while filming "The Day the Earth Stood Still", an experience which he enjoyed. [cite news | author = Shawn Adler | title = Keanu Reeves Says He Turned Down ‘Watchmen’ And ‘Speed Racer’ Roles | work = MTV | date = 2008-03-31 | url = | accessdate=2008-08-31] As well as playing Osterman in flashback as a human, for his post-accident scenes as Dr. Manhattan, Crudup is replaced in the film with a motion-capture CG version of himself. During filming on set, Crudup acted opposite his co-stars, wearing a white suit covered in blue LEDs, so he would give off an otherworldly glow in real life, just as the computer-generated Manhattan does in the movie. Crudup had to keep thinking of the character in the comic, because he felt ridiculous in the suit. Snyder chose not to electronically alter Crudup's voice for Manhattan, explaining the character "would try and put everyone as much at ease as he could, instead of having a robotic voice that I think would feel off-putting".cite news|title=New Watchmen Footage Raises New Questions|author=Thomas Leupp|work=ReelzChannel|date=2008-10-07|url=|accessdate=2008-10-07]

*Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias: A retired vigilante superhero who has since made his identity public. The role of Ozymandias was originally connected to actors Jude Law and Tom Cruise, but they left the project behind due to the studio's delay in handling the budget. Goode was not familiar with the comic when he was cast, and read it at the urging of his friends. He joined the critical consensus, saying "it's the best graphic novel out there". He had his own interpretation of Veidt's backstory, in that he gave up his family's wealth and travelled the world, becoming a self-made man because he was ashamed of his parents' Nazi past. Goode suggested Veidt disguised his German accent to highlight the themes of the American Dream and the difference between one's public and private personas. [cite news|title=Capone Interviews Ozymandias! Matthew Goode Talks BRIDESHEAD REVISTED and WATCHMEN!|work=Ain't It Cool News|date=2008-07-21|url=|accessdate=2008-07-22]

*Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake / The Comedian: A vigilante superhero who is commissioned by the U.S. government. Prior to Morgan's casting, producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin met with Ron Perlman to discuss portraying the Comedian. [cite news|author=Daniel Robert Epstein|title=Talking to the Voice of Hellboy| work=Newsarama|date=2007-03-13|url=|accessdate=2007-03-13] Morgan found the role a challenge, explaining, "For some reason, in reading the novel, you don't hate this guy even though he does things that are unmentionable. [...] My job is to kind of make that translate, so as a viewer you end up not making excuses to like him, but you don't hate him like you should for doing the things that he does."cite news | author = Heather Newgen | title = Morgan and Butler Talk "Watchmen" | work = Superhero Hype! | date = 2007-12-08 | url = | accessdate=2007-12-09]

*Stephen McHattie as Hollis Mason / Nite Owl: The first vigilante to take up the mantle of Nite Owl.

*Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre: A retired vigilante superheroine, mother of Laurie Juspeczyk. Gugino's character ages from 25 years old in the 1940s to 67 years old in the 1980s, and the actress wore prosthetics to reflect the aging process. Gugino described her character's superhero outfit as an influence of Bettie Page-meets-Alberto Vargas. The actress donned the trademark hairdo of the character, though it was shaped to be more plausible for the film.cite news | author=Larry Carroll | url= | title=Carla Gugino Gets Sexy For Silk Spectre In "Watchmen" | work=MTV | date=2008-01-30 | accessdate=2008-01-30 ]

*Matt Frewer as Edgar Jacobi / Moloch the Mystic: An elderly rehabilitated criminal, known when he was younger as an underworld kingpin and magician. [cite news | author = Shawn Adler | title = EXCLUSIVE: "Watchmen" Cast Turns It To The 'Max' | work = MTV | date = 2007-11-13 | url = | accessdate=2007-11-13]

*Niall Matter as Mothman: He is not a main focus of the storyline, but appears in flashbacks, at one point reduced in his later years to fragile sanity, unnerving the second Silk Spectre. He is regarded fondly by most of the Minutemen, and the first Nite Owl sends the second to visit him, uncostumed, on his behalf. [cite news | author= | url= | title=Niall Matter is Mothman | | date=2007-02-27 | accessdate=2008-02-29]

*Dan Payne as Dollar Bill: A first-generation crimefighter who caught his cape in a revolving door during a bank robbery, and was shot to death. Payne is a fan of the comic and shot his scenes over four days, both for his cameo in the theatrical cut and the fictionalized DVD documentary. [cite news|author=Eric Volmers|title=Local athlete turned actor is one to watch|work=Calgary Herald|date=2008-08-01|url=|accessdate=2008-08-06]

*Danny Woodburn as "The Big Figure", a dwarf crime boss whom Rorschach put in prison. [cite news|title=We watched the Watchmen|author=Noah Tarnow|work=Time Out|date=2008-10-07|location=New York City|url=|accessdate=2008-10-07]

*Jon Voight as Richard Nixon. Voight was required to use a full face prosthetic.

Production for "Watchmen" began casting in July 2007 for look-alikes of the era's famous names for the film, including Nixon, Henry Kissinger, H. R. Haldeman, Ted Koppel, John McLaughlin, Annie Leibovitz, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein, Norman Rockwell, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Mao Zedong and Larry King. [cite news | author= | url= | title=Look-Alikes Being Cast for "Watchmen" | | date=2007-07-03 | accessdate=2007-07-03 ] Snyder said he wanted younger actors due to the many flashback scenes, and it was easier to age actors with make-up rather than cast two actors in the same role.cite news | author = Edward Douglas | title = Zack Snyder Talks "Watchmen"! | work = | date = 2007-07-27 | url = | accessdate=2007-07-27] Actor Thomas Jane said in June 2007 that Snyder had expressed interest in casting him in the film. [cite news | author= | url= | title=Exclusive: Thomas Jane on "Watchmen" | | date=2007-06-28 | accessdate=2007-06-28 ]


In August 1986, producer Lawrence Gordon acquired film rights to "Watchmen" for 20th Century Fox. Producer Joel Silver was also working on the film. [cite news | author=Anne Thompson | url= | title=Filmmakers intent on producing new comic-book movies | work=Sun-Sentinel | date=1986-08-26] Fox asked author Alan Moore to write a screenplay based on his story. When Moore declined, the studio enlisted screenwriter Sam Hamm to pen the script. Hamm turned in his first draft on September 9, 1988. Hamm found the task of condensing Moore's 338-page, nine-panel-a-page strip into a 128-page script arduous. He took the liberty of re-writing "Watchmen"'s complicated ending into a "more manageable" conclusion involving an assassination and a time paradox.cite book | author=David Hughes | title=The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made | publisher=Chicago Review Press | date=2002-04-22 | isbn=1556524498 | chapter=Who Watches the "Watchmen"? - How The Greatest Graphic Novel of Them All Confounded Hollywood] Fox put the project into turnaround in 1991, and Gordon set up the project at a new company, Largo International. Fox would distribute the film. Although Largo closed three years later, Fox was still promised that they would be involved if the project was revived.cite news|author=Michael Cieply|title=Battle Over ‘Watchmen’ Surrounds a Producer|work=The New York Times|date=2008-09-20|url=|accessdate=2008-09-20]

Gordon and Silver set up the project at Warner Bros., where Terry Gilliam was attached to direct. Unsatisfied with how Hamm's script fleshed out the characters, Gilliam brought in long-time collaborator Charles McKeown to rewrite it. The second draft, which was credited to Gilliam, Warren Skaaren, and Hamm, used the character Rorschach's diary as a voice-over and restored scenes from the comic book that Hamm had removed. According to "Watchmen" artist Dave Gibbons, Silver wanted to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Manhattan.cite news | author=Jeff Jensen | url=,,1120854,00.html | title="Watchmen": An Oral History | work=Entertainment Weekly | date=2005-10-25 | accessdate=2007-02-02 ] Filming was to take place at Pinewood Studios. [cite news | author = Stephen Rebello | title = Sam Hamm - Screenwriter | work = Cinefantastique | pages=34—41 | date = November 1989 | accessdate = 2008-05-12] Because both Gilliam and Silver's previous films, "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" and "Die Hard 2" respectively, went over budget, they were only able to raise $25 million for the film (a quarter of the necessary budget). Gilliam abandoned the project due to these funding problems, and also decided that "Watchmen" would have been unfilmable. "Reducing [the story] to a two or two-and-a-half hour film [...] seemed to me to take away the essence of what Watchmen is about," Gilliam said. [cite news | url= | title=Python Won’t Bite For "Watchmen" | work=Empire Online | date=2000-11-13 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] After Warner Bros. dropped the project, Gordon invited Gilliam back to helm the film independently. The director again declined, believing that the comic book would be better directed as a five-hour miniseries. [cite news | author=Kenneth Plume | url= | title=Interview with Terry Gilliam (Part 3 of 4) | work=IGN | date=2000-11-17 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In October 2001, Gordon and Universal Studios signed screenwriter David Hayter to write and direct "Watchmen" in a "seven-figure deal".cite news | author=Stax | url= | title=David Hayter Watches "The Watchmen" | work=IGN | date=2001-10-27 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] Hayter stated his intent to begin filming in early 2002. [cite news | url= | title=David Hayter Talks "Watchmen" Movie | work=Comics Continuum | date=2001-11-07 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In July 2002, Hayter completed his first draft. [cite news | url= | title="X-Men" Sequel Update | work=Comics Continuum | date=2002-07-27 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In May 2003, Hayter said he had Alan Moore's blessing on the film, despite Moore's disagreement with the project since its first incarnation. [cite news | author=Stax | url= | title=Hayter on "Watchmen" | work=IGN | date=2003-05-02 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In July 2003, "Watchmen" producer Lloyd Levin announced the completion of Hayter's script, which he called "a great adaptation [...] that absolutely "celebrates" the book". [cite news | author=Steve Head | url= | title=Hayter Completes "Watchmen" Script | work=IGN | date=2003-07-13 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] Hayter and the producers left Universal due to creative differences, [cite news | author=Borys Kit | url= | title='Watchmen' on Duty at Warner Bros. | work=The Book Standard | date=2005-12-19 | accessdate=2006-09-25 ] and in October 2003, Gordon and Levin expressed interest in setting up "Watchmen" at Revolution Studios. They had completed "Hellboy" at Revolution, [cite news | author=Drew McWeeny | url= | title=Updated! More On "Watchmen" Casting! | work=Ain't It Cool News | date=2003-10-31 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] and were intending to shoot in Prague. [cite news | author=Cathy Meils | url= | title=Czech film biz at rest after active year | work=Variety | date=2003-12-03 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] The project did not hold together at Revolution Studios and subsequently fell apart.cite news | author=Brian Linder | url= | title=Aronofksy Still Watching "Watchmen" | work=IGN | date=2004-07-23 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ]

In July 2004, it was announced Paramount Pictures would produce "Watchmen", and they attached Darren Aronofsky to direct Hayter's script. Producers Gordon and Levin remained attached, collaborating with Aronofsky's producing partner, Eric Watson. [cite news | author=Borys Kit | url= | title="Watchmen" unmasked for Par, Aronofsky | work=The Hollywood Reporter | date=2004-07-23 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] But Aronofsky left to focus on "The Fountain". Paramount replaced him with Paul Greengrass and set up a target summer 2006 release date. [cite news | author=Borys Kit | coauthors=Liza Foreman | url= | title=Greengrass, Par on "Watchmen" | work=The Hollywood Reporter | date=2004-11-22 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] Simon Pegg was involved in negotiations to portray Rorschach, [cite news | author = Dave Davis | title = Shaun of the "Watchmen" | work = CHUD | date = 2004-09-28 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-13] while Daniel Craig, Jude Law and Sigourney Weaver were interested in the film. To publicize the film, Paramount launched a now-defunct "Watchmen" teaser website that had a message board as well as computer wallpaper available to download. [cite news | author=Paul Davidson | url= | title="Watchmen" Movie Update | work=IGN | date=2005-03-09 | accessdate=2006-09-24 ] Graphic artist Tristan Schane drew designs of Dr. Manhattan for the film, which would have depicted him with visible intestines. [cite news | author=Omar Aviles | url= | title=Watchmen concept art | | date=2005-04-06 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In March 2005, Paramount's CEO Donald De Line was rumored to depart from the studio, endangering high-profile projects including "Watchmen". Earlier that week, De Line was in London, urging a reduction in "Watchmen"'s budget so the film could get the greenlight. [cite news | author=Stax | url= | title=Who Watches the "Watchmen"s Wallet? | work=IGN | date=2005-03-29 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] As a result of the potential budget cut with the new CEO Brad Grey, Levin planned to move the project from Pinewood Studios (where it was going to be shot), hoping to curb the budget by filming outside the UK. [cite news | url= | title=Save Our "Watchmen"! | work=Empire Online | date=2005-04-04 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] Ultimately, Paramount placed "Watchmen" in turnaround. [cite news | url= | title=Someone To Watch Over "Watchmen" | work=Empire Online | date=2005-06-07 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ]

In October 2005, Gordon and Levin were in talks with Warner Bros., originally the second studio to be attached to "Watchmen". [cite news | author=Stax | url= | title="Watchmen" Resurrected? | work=IGN | date=2005-10-25 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] In December 2005, the producers were confirmed to have set up the project at Warner Bros., but Greengrass was no longer attached to the project. In addition, the film was marked an "open writing assignment", which meant David Hayter's script would be put aside. [cite news | author=Stax | url= | title=Exclusive: Which Studio Is Watching "Watchmen"? | work=IGN | date=2005-12-16 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] Despite this change, Hayter expressed his hope that his script would be used by Warner Bros. and that he would be attached to direct his "dream project". [cite news | author=Stax | url= | title=10 Questions: David Hayter | work=IGN | date=2006-02-07 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ]


Impressed with Zack Snyder's work on "300", an adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book of the same name, Warner Bros. approached him to direct an adaptation of "Watchmen".cite news | author = Robert Sanchez | title = Exclusive Interview: Zack Snyder Is Kickin' Ass With "300" and "Watchmen"! | work = IESB | date = 2007-02-13 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-14] On June 23, 2006, Warner Bros. announced that Zack Snyder would direct "Watchmen" with Alex Tse attached to write the script.cite news | author=Borys Kit | title=Snyder gets duty on WB's "Watchmen" | work=The Hollywood Reporter | url= | date=2006-06-23 | accessdate=2006-07-24 ] For the new script, Tse drew "the best elements" from two of the project's previous drafts written by screenwriter David Hayter. [cite news | author=Gregory Ellwood | url= | title=World awaits "Watchmen" | work=Variety | date=2006-07-18 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] The script did not keep the contemporary atmosphere that Hayter created, but instead returned to the original Cold War setting of the "Watchmen" comic. Warner Bros. was amenable to the 1980s setting, and the director also added a title montage sequence to introduce the audience to the events of alternate history United States in that time period. [cite news | author=Patrick Lee | url= | title=Snyder: "Watchmen" Remains True | work=Sci Fi Wire | date=2006-11-09 | accessdate=2006-11-09 ]

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."cite news | url= | title=Exclusive: Zack Snyder talks "Watchmen" | work=Empire Online | date=2006-10-05 | accessdate = 2006-10-05 ] Similar to his approach to "300", Snyder used the comic book as a storyboard, travelling with a copy and annotating its pages.cite news|author=Jonah Weiland|title="300" POST-GAME: ONE-ON-ONE WITH ZACK SNYDER|work=Comic Book Resources|date=2007-03-14|url=|accessdate=2007-03-16] As well as the novel, Snyder cited "Taxi Driver" and "Seven" as visual influences. [cite news|author=Daniel Robert Epstein|title=300 director Zack Snyder|work=SuicideGirls|date=2007-03-08|url=|accessdate=2007-03-12] [cite news | author = Alex Billington | title = Zack Snyder Talks "Watchmen" + Newly Revealed Dave Gibbons Poster | work = | date = 2007-07-28 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-12] Snyder said his February 2007 revision of the script would require 2 1/2 hours of screen time. Snyder wanted a $150 million budget, but Warner Bros. preferred the budget remain under $100 million. [cite news|author=Borys Kit|title="Watchmen" feeding off "300" spoils|work=The Hollywood Reporter|date=2007-03-13|url=|accessdate=2007-03-13] To make the film more topical, Snyder added a subplot about energy resources, but he decided replacing Richard Nixon with Ronald Reagan would alienate American viewers. Throughout filming, Snyder kept adding in dialogue to mention more of the characters' backstories so the film would be as faithful as possible. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman met with Snyder twice during the later stages of pre-production to further revise the script. [cite web | author = Roberto Orci | title = The All New "Hey Roberto" Thread | publisher = Don Murphy | date = 2008-08-10 | url = | accessdate=2008-08-12] James Kakalios, author of "The Physics of Superheroes", was also hired as scientific consultant. [cite news|title=He Blinded Me With Science||date=2008-08-21|url=|accessdate=2008-08-22]

In December 2006, comic book artists Adam Hughes and John Cassaday were confirmed to work on character and costume design for "Watchmen".cite news | author=Brian Warmoth | url= | title=Casssaday costumes for Watchmen | work=Wizard | date=2006-12-14 | accessdate=2006-12-18 ] Costume tests were being done by March 2007. "300" associate producer Wesley Coller played Rorschach in a costume test, which Snyder inserted into an R-rated trailer for "300". Although he intended to stay faithful to the look of the characters in the comic, Snyder intended Nite Owl to look scarier, and wanted Ozymandias to possess authentic Egyptian attire and artifacts. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre changed most from the comic, as Snyder felt "audiences might not appreciate the naiveté of the original costumes. So, there has been some effort to give them a [...] modern look — and not modern in the sense of 2007, but modern in terms of the superhero aesthetic". Snyder also wanted the costumes to "comment directly on many of today’s modern masked vigilantes": The Ozymandias costume, with its molded muscles and nipples, parodies the costumes in "Batman Forever" (1995) and "Batman & Robin" (1997). [cite news | title = Exclusive Zack Snyder Video Interview Backstage at Saturn Awards | work = | date = 2008-06-26 | url = | accessdate=2008-06-27] Set designers selected four Kansas City sculptors' works for use in the set of Dr. Manhattan's apartment after discovering their works on the Internet.cite news | author=Robert W. Butler | url= | title=KC screenwriter a finalist for $30,000 national fellowship | work=The Kansas City Star | date=2007-10-13 | accessdate=2007-10-22 ]

Snyder hoped to have principal photography take place from June—September 2007,cite news | author=ScoreKeeper | url= | title=ScoreKeeper With Composer Tyler Bates Re: "300", "WATCHMEN", And Rob Zombie's "HALLOWEEN"!! | work=Ain't It Cool News | date=2007-02-22 | accessdate=2007-02-22 ] but filming was delayed until September 17, 2007. The production settled in Vancouver, where a New York City backlot was built. Sets were used for apartments and offices, while sequences on Mars and Antarctica were shot against green screens. Filming ended on February 19, 2008. [cite news | author = Zack Snyder | title = That's a wrap! | work = Warner Bros. | date = 2008-02-19 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-24] Sony Pictures Imageworks and Intelligent Creatures are among the visual effects companies working on the film. [cite web | title = Watchmen | work = Cinefex | url = | accessdate=2008-03-15]

Composer Tyler Bates began scoring "Watchmen" in November 2007. He planned to visit the shoot for a week during each month, and view assembly cuts of scenes to begin rough composing. [cite news | author = Edward Douglas | title = Exclusive: Tyler Bates Interview! | work = ShockTillYouDrop | date = 2007-08-17 | url = | accessdate=2007-08-17] Snyder and Bates listened to the soundtracks of 1980s films such as "Manhunter", "Blade Runner" and "To Live and Die in L.A." for inspiration. [cite news|author=Drew McWeeny|title=Moriarty Sees A Half-Hour Of WATCHMEN In Hollywood!|work=Ain't It Cool News|date=2008-10-02|url=|accessdate=2008-10-03] The film will use some of the songs mentioned in the comic, including Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'", which is played over the opening montage;cite news|author=Jeff Jensen|title='Watchmen': An Exclusive First Look|work=Entertainment Weekly|date=2008-07-17|url=,,20213273,00.html|accessdate=2008-07-18] Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower"; Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence"; the German version of Nena's "99 Luftballons"; and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" in an advertisement for Veidt's Nostalgia perfume. [cite news|author=Larry Carroll|title=Snyder Reveals Hendrix, Dylan, Other Tracks in ‘Watchmen,’ No Smashing Pumpkins|work=MTV Splash Page|date=2008-07-23|url=|accessdate=2008-07-23] Snyder has also met with My Chemical Romance (whose lead singer Gerard Way is a fan of the comic) to discuss covering a Dylan song for the closing credits. [cite news|url=|author=Larry Carroll|title=My Chemical Romance To Perform Bob Dylan Cover In ‘Watchmen’ Movie|work=MTV Splash Page|date=2008-07-24|accessdate=2008-07-24]

Snyder's first cut of the film was three hours long. In keeping the film tight, Snyder dubbed himself "the gatekeeper" of the comic's easter eggs, "while [the studio] conspire to say, 'No. Length, length, length. Playability.' [...] I've lost perspective on that now, because to me, the honest truth is I geek out on little stuff now as much as anybody. Like, people will go, 'We've got to cut. You don't need that shot of Hollis Mason's garage sign.' And I'm like, 'What are you talking about? Of course you do. Are you crazy? How will people enjoy the movie without shit like that in it?' So it's hard for me." [cite news | author = Cindy White | title = Snyder Cutting Watchmen | work = Sci Fi Wire | date = 2008-06-26 | url = | accessdate=2008-06-26] Warner Bros. president of production Jeff Robinov indicated a 145-minute theatrical running time was more likely. During a press event in October 2008, Snyder noted that the film's runtime was "around 2 hours and 43 minutes", and that he didn't expect it to be much shorter. [cite news | author = Shawn Adler | title = ‘Watchmen’ Footage Showcased! Zack Snyder Talks Lawsuit, Sequel, Running Time and More! | work = MTV| date = 2008-10-02 | url = | accessdate=2008-10-05]

Moore and Gibbons' response

Previous developments

In an interview with "Variety"'s Danny Graydon during Warner Bros.'s first possession of feature film rights for "Watchmen", the comic book's 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." [cite news | author=Brian Hiatt | url=,6115,187633-2-2_1%7c%7c233612%7c1_,00.html | title=Watching the Detectives | work=Entertainment Weekly | date=2001-12-10 | accessdate=2006-09-23 ] 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, David 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."


In November 2006, director Zack Snyder said that he hoped to speak to Moore before filming, though the writer had sworn off involvement with film or television productions after his disagreement with the "V for Vendetta" film adaptation. In a July 2007 interview, Moore said of Snyder's project, "If they go for some other novelty option like they did with "V For Vendetta" then I'm in for another year of excoriating them in every interview I do until they remove my name from it." [cite news | author=Rich Johnston | url= | title=Hunting the Snark: Part Three | work=Comic Book Resources | date=2007-07-09 | accessdate=2007-07-10 ] Before shooting, Snyder said " [I] totally respect his wishes to not be involved in the movie."cite news | author = Kiel Phegley | title = Zack Snyder prepares for Watchmen | work = Wizard | date = 2007-08-21 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-07] Dave Gibbons enjoyed the script by Alex Tse, and the illustrator also was impressed by Snyder's enthusiasm. Gibbons said, "I do think Zack has got the ability to make a really good movie, and I think "Watchmen" has the ability to be a really good movie, and hopefully the two things will come together... I'm basically supporting it." [cite news | author = Ally Melling | title = Dave Gibbons paints the town Yellow | work = Wizard | date = 2007-07-11 | url = | accessdate=2007-07-29] Gibbons gave Snyder some script advice which the director accepted.

In January 2008, Alan Moore revealed that he had negotiated to have his name removed from Zack Snyder's film and to have all royalties go to Dave Gibbons. He said that Gibbons had asked him if he was interested in being updated about the film, but the writer declined. Moore said, "I won’t be watching it, obviously. I can at least remain neutral to it as long as they’re taking my name off of it and not playing these silly, ultimately futile games like they were doing last time, which worked out so well for them." [cite news | author=Kiel Phegley | url= | title=THE WIZARD Q&A: ALAN MOORE | work=Wizard | date=2008-01-02 | accessdate=2008-01-06 ] Moore also expressed discontent over the choice of the director, saying that he "had a lot of problems" with the comic book, "300" and that, while he had not seen it, he had heard that Snyder's film adaptation was racist, homophobic, and "sublimely stupid". [cite journal | first=Nisha | last=Gopalan | url=,,20213067_20213068_20213004,00.html | title=Alan Moore Still Knows the Score! | journal=Entertainment Weekly | publisher=Time Inc. | date=2008-07-16 | accessdate=2008-07-22 ]



DC Direct will release action figures based on the film in January 2009. [cite news | author = Nisha Gopalan | title = First Look: 'Watchmen' Action Figures | work = Entertainment Weekly | date = 2008-04-15 | url =,,20191746,00.html | accessdate=2008-04-18] Director Zack Snyder also set up a YouTube contest petitioning "Watchmen" fans to create faux commercials of products made by the fictional Veidt Enterprises. [cite web | url= | title=watchmenmovie's Channel | work=YouTube | accessdate=2008-04-23 ] [cite news | author=Peter Sciretta | url= | title=Zack Snyder Launches Watchmen Contest | work=SlashFilm | date=2008-04-22 | accessdate=2008-04-23 ] The film's first trailer was attached with "The Dark Knight", [cite news|title=Watchmen Trailer Confirmed with Dark Knight||date=2008-07-08|url=|accessdate=2008-07-08] and used The Smashing Pumpkins' song "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning", an alternate version of their song "The End Is the Beginning Is the End". [Cite web|url=|title=Watching the Watchmen Trailer: A Detailed Analysis|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes|author=Greg Dean Schmitz|date=July 24, 2008|accessdate=2008-07-26] In IGN's 2008 Summer Movie Awards, the trailer was deemed the "Hottest Trailer" of Summer 2008. [Cite web | url= | title=IGN's 2008 Summer Movie Awards - Hottest Trailer | work=IGN | accessdate=2008-09-24 ] A second trailer will be attached with "Quantum of Solace". [Cite web|url=|title=Watchmen running time, new trailer, and sequel denial|publisher=Slashfilm|date=October 1, 2008|accessdate=2008-10-03]

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will publish two downloadable games during the theatrical and DVD releases. Deadline Games is developing the two properties. WB took this low-key approach to adapting the film to avoid rushing the game on this tight schedule, as most film games are panned by critics and gamers. [cite news|author=Ben Fritz|title='Watchmen' games a go|work=Variety|date=2008-07-23|url=|accessdate=2008-07-23] These games are set in the 1970s, and are written by Len Wein, the comic's editor. Dave Gibbons is also an advisor. [cite news|author=Stephen Totilo|title='Watchmen' Video Game Preview: Rorschach And Nite Owl Star In Subversive Prequel Set In 1970s|work=MTV|date=2008-07-23|url=|accessdate=2008-07-23]

DVD releases

"Tales of the Black Freighter", a comic within the "Watchmen" comic, will be adapted as a direct-to-video animated feature, which will be released on March 11, 2009.cite news | author = Brooks Barnes | title = Warner Tries a New Tactic to Revive Its DVD Sales | work = The New York Times | date = 2008-05-26 | url = | accessdate=2008-05-26] It was originally included in the script,cite news | author=Jonah Weiland | url= | title=Snyder Gives A "Watchmen" Update | work=Comic Book Resources | date=2006-11-09 | accessdate=2006-11-09 ] but was cut due to budget restrictions,cite news | author = Eric Vespe | title = Zack Snyder and Quint have a brief conversation about "Watchmen"! Pirate storyline! Rorschach! More!!!! | work = Ain't It Cool News | date = 2007-07-29 | url = | accessdate=2007-07-29] because the segment would have added $20 million to the budget, as Snyder wanted to film it in a stylized manner reminiscent of "300". Snyder considered including the animated film in the final cut,cite news | title = Zack Snyder Fan Q&A — Part II | work = | date = 2008-02-14 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-15] but the film was already approaching a three hour running time. Gerard Butler, who starred in "300", voices the Captain in the film, having been promised a role in the film, which never materialized. [cite news | author = Chris Hewitt | title = Gerard Butler Talks Black Freighter | work = Empire Online | date = 2008-02-28 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-28]

The "Tales of the Black Freighter" DVD will also include "Under the Hood", a documentary detailing the characters' backstories, which takes its title from that of Hollis Mason's memoirs in the graphic novel. The film itself is scheduled to be released on DVD four months after "Tales of the Black Freighter", and Warner Bros. is thought to be considering releasing an extended version, with the animated film edited back into the main picture. Snyder expected this final version will be three hours and twenty-five minutes long. [cite news|author=Erik Davis|title=Cinematical Watches The 'Watchmen'|work=Cinematical|date=2008-10-07|url=|accessdate=2008-10-07] In addition, a dozen short films (each around twenty minutes in length) will be released on the internet, using narration over animated panels of the comic strip to familiarize newcomers to the story. These may also be released on DVD.


On February 8, 2008 (as filming was finishing), Fox launched a lawsuit against Warner Bros., as producer Lawrence Gordon never paid out the studio as he sought a new studio to develop the project. [cite news | author = Leslie Simmons | title = Fox sues over "Watchmen" | work = The Hollywood Reporter | date = 2008-02-12 | url = | accessdate=2008-02-12] A hearing is set for January 2009. Fox claims that in setting up the project at Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros., paperwork never mentioned their 1994 agreement with Gordon was still intact. They stated Warner Bros. ignored requests to discuss the project as production went on.



External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Official trailer]
*imdb title|id=0409459|title=Watchmen
*" [ Watchmen] " at YouTube
* [ Review of Alex Tse's Script] (July 20, 2006) by
* [ Review of Alex Tse's Script] (undated draft) on UGO

;Older development
* [ "Watchmen" Screenplay (1989)] by Sam Hamm
* [ IGN Review] of David Hayter's September 26, 2003 Draft
* [ Review] of David Hayter's December 2003 Draft
*Paul Greengrass Interview, Parts [ 1] , [ 2] , [ 3]
* [ "Watchmen" Paramount Project Visit] by "Ain't It Cool News"
*Concept art of Dr. Manhattan [ 1] , [ 2] from Paramount Pictures

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