Here’s another of our Comic Con interviews. This one with Watchmen director Zack Snyder:
First and foremost, thank you.
Snyder: My pleasure.
I really wanted to see this thing get made and get made right, and it looks like you're doing it.
Snyder: I'm trying.
Well, it's interesting because the reaction to the trailer was amazing. Maybe 85 percent of fan's fears were taken right away by the trailer. But there's one thing they keep worrying about, and that's the ending. Can you let them know that they have nothing to worry about?
Snyder: Let me just say this about the ending. Patrick hinted at it in that article [from Entertainment Weekly] that he talked about. I was thinking, 'What is Watchmen?' I believe that the crux of the movie is that it offers a moral choice. That's Watchmen. Let's just say that, without getting too spoilerish, a certain character in the movie survives that makes a moral choice, that is what we would consider; what an audience might consider, questionable, but on paper you could make an argument for. That's what it's about. I have got to say, you pose that to a studio… you tell the studio that this guy who kills millions of people, he's going to be okay at the end. That's tough. It's not like Lex Luthor ends up on an island. I'm saying this guy is right. That's a different thing. That's the movie, that's the fun.
Look, I love Iron Man, I think Iron Man is awesome, I think Robert is amazing in the movie. I walked out of the movie and said, 'That was great! Let's get a beer.' And that was it. I've always said that you walk out of Watchmen and say 'Okay, what's up? No, Adrian's wrong.' Or you get a beer and [mimes a drunken argument]. Or you're in a fight.
Do you think the success of Dark Knight and other films recently have opened the door for a little bit of a darker tone for superhero or spectacle-type movies?
Snyder: Sure. I'm a huge fan of Dark Knight, by the way. It's an amazing movie and that's part of the awesome thing with Dark Knight — it's not just a superhero movie, it's a good movie. People can just say 'That's an awesome movie that might have Batman in it.' That's just cool. It's like Heat with Batman, that's what it reminds me of. But the difference is that the first Batman movie — not the first, but the one before this one — people are like, 'Ooh, that's a dark movie,' and I go, 'Yeah, it's dark, but don't forget that Batman gets to go to the Himalayas and train with ninjas to become a super fighter.' I want to do that. That's not dark, that's super cool. That's awesome — my parents died, I get to go to the Himalayas and become a ninja! That's cool, I'm sorry!
In Watchmen there's nothing like that. Dan can't get an erection because he doesn't have his suit on, that's a different kind of dark. I do think that what Dark Knight does do is it makes people or critics or whoever's going to see the movie, when they sit down, what they're anticipating can be a little bit different. They're a little more open-minded to a movie that's not exactly like bubblegum, popcorn, in your face, action freakout, but that takes an hour for the Comedian to get buried. It's also not… yeah, there's a plot, Rorschach is trying to figure out what's happening, but that's really not the movie.
How on Earth are they going to make a Watchmen video game?
Snyder: The Watchmen video game… yeah, I know, I know. The first thing I said is that it can't have anything to do with the book. There can be no sequences, but we can take ideas from it. We got one version of it, and then my buddy Peter and I ended up having to go 'Let us write it. This is crazy.' What they were doing, I thought it was crazy and I couldn't stop it. So I said 'You know what? Let us do it.'
Has there been a battle with the studio to franchise it? If you were going to make it?
Snyder: No, no one's brought it up.
Cut the book in thirds or something?
Snyder: There was a discussion of cutting the movie in half because it's so long, but there's no ending in the middle, unfortunately. Mass audiences would have been like 'What the fuck?' It would have been worse than any Lord of the Rings ending.
How about Ozymandias’ dog, is he in there?
Snyder: His cat? Yes. Bubastis, he's in the poster over there. If you go outside, you'll see him.
Was it difficult to finding some areas to cut out of the film?
Snyder: It was, but the things that end up getting taken out are like [the detectives] doing their thing. That type of stuff, you take that out, and then you separate the Black Freighter from it, since Black Freighter now exists on its own, you really start to see that a lot of the movie is there.
One of the storytelling themes in the original graphic novel is this use of dual stories with parallel narratives, split frames, symmetry. Did you keep that theme for the movie?
Snyder: As much as we can. It's a different medium because it's linear, although we do make reference to it a lot, the idea of symmetry. I always mention that there's a sequence in the movie, about twelve minutes long, that's basically Manhattan on Mars thinking about his origin story. There's a picture of he and Janey — he drops it on the ground and we go through his story. It's kind of like slightly non-linear, and then also, for whatever reason, also slightly chronological, which is kind of my favorite part of the movie. It is what I would say the most purely Watchmen-y thing — it has nothing to do with the story, no plot aspect to it at all. Meanwhile, everyone's on Earth going along and we go to this twelve-minute aside that has nothing to do with anything except to understand Manhattan a little better.
If the movie was coming out tomorrow, what do you think the running time would be?
Snyder: If it was coming out tomorrow, it would be close to three hours. What I have right now.
When you were working on 300, you said your job was basically to fill in the spaces between Frank's panels. How is that true of Dave's panels?
Snyder: It's still kind of the same job. People go, 'Oh you have no individual vision, because you just copy these storyboards from the graphic novels,' and I'm like yeah, I wish it was that easy. That'd be awesome. When you actually take the panels and think 'How do you shoot this like a film?' you actually start to realize there's not a lot of continuity, there isn't a lot of stream of consciousness. It's a little different. It goes in different directions if you need to get it to go somewhere else. It's a ton of work. But I think it's the same exercise applied of trying to move a linear moment through a panel in the book.
8.5.08 Source: WatchmenComicMovie.com
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