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Watchmen Unzipped

Concept artist reports that some costumes will be “completely different” than what appears in the book

How faithful will Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie be to the original graphic novel? That’s the question everyone has been asking since the movie was announced at the 2007 San Diego Comic-con.

Will the ending be changed? Will we get the “squid?” Will we see Captain Metropolis at the ill-fated Crimebusters meeting? Will the character’s costumes be updated?

Well, it looks like we have an answer to that last question. And the answer? Well, yes and no. According to a recent interview with SyFy Portal, costume concept artist Dawn Brown said:

The costume designer, Michael Wilkinson, gave me very specific direction on the design of the suits. Obviously, we are all aware of what Dave Gibbons did. Some character designs are very faithful to the book. Others will be completely different.

This isn’t the first bit of costume news that we’ve seen so far. Official photographs that have been released on the Warner Bros. movie site have shown some costumes as well. The first photos came back in early November 2007 when we got a peek into the Watchmen “war room.” In one of the photos, blurry images, perhaps even Brown’s illustration work, are seen on the wall behind Snyder. Even out of focus you can see that Nite Owl, Ozymandias and Silk Spectre are wearing updated duds.

We also got a really good look at the costume of Dollar Bill, one of the Watchmen’s original “masked heroes,” which was published on the official movie site as apart of a Dave Gibbons blog entry in December 2007.

Back in November of 2006, Adam Hughes, concept artist for the Watchmen movie, spoke to Newsarama.com about how hard it is to design costumes for a film whose audience includes a critical mass of graphic novel readers:

In doing something like this, I find that I end up thinking about two completely different groups within the movie’s audience at the same time: the die-hard comic book fans who will not permit even an iota of alteration; and then you’ve got your non-comics readers who will be turned off the minute somebody walks out in a leotard. You have to come up with something that allures and entices them and their debit cards and their dollars without being so radical that it turns off the die-hard fan. It’s actually pretty hard work.

Most fans realize that some updating is needed, especially in the case of Silk Spectre, whose costume in the comic book looks, according to Hughes, like “an outfit that you could pull right out of Victoria’s Secret.” The biggest fan fear is that the updating leans too far toward the vacuformed rubber mold look (complete with fake nipples) which may align with more mainstream superhero types such as Batman or Wolverine, but not with the “masked heroes” of Watchmen.

1.9.2008
Sources: SyFy Portal, Newsarama.com

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