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Adapting Watchmen

In an MTV interview, Zack Snyder discussed the challenges he had adapting the Watchmen comic series to the big screen. Here is a rundown of some of the more interesting questions posed to the director.

The biggest piece of information Zack dropped was on the inclusion of original Minuteman Hooded Justice in a scene that most thought he would be cut out of, and in fact, it seems like he almost was:

Yeah, it was hard [to get them all in]. There was a point where Hooded Justice wasn't in the movie. But then I was like, "No, we've got to have him in," so we had to scramble and get him in. Hooded Justice is in the movie, and he beats up Blake.

Of course Zack is referring to the flashback scene in which Hooded Justice walks in on a young Comedian, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is sexually assaulting Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre, played by Carla Gugino. Everyone had assumed that Hooded Justice was going to be replaced by the original Nite Owl in this scene, but it looks like Snyder marked up another point in the faithful-to-the-source material column.

The interviewer also asked Snyder how they came up with the idea for the promo posters they handed out at this year’s San Diego Comic Con which featured all of the main Watchmen characters.

There were some materials that David [Gibbons] had created to advertise the book. We took those and said, "Let's just make some versions of that with Photoshop magic and re-create them almost exactly." [The Sally Jupiter] one we had to make up; that's the only one we didn't have. They were actually designed to be put in comic book stores to advertise the book. They were drawings that looked exactly like that.

When asked what his feelings were on a recent Alan Moore interview where the comic author reinforced his anti-Watchmen movie position, Snyder responded:

I think it's consistent with his stance, and I respect that. Like I say, the point of the movie is not to replace the graphic novel. Look, after the trailer came out, "Watchmen" went to #2 on Amazon and suddenly hundreds of thousands of copies of the graphic novel are selling. That's all I can ask for. If the movie is successful, that's great. But in the end, I want people to read [Moore's] book.

I like Zack’s answer here, but what he often fails to remind people in these interviews is that a Watchmen movie was going to made whether he was involved in its making or not. He just made sure he got control of the project so he could guide as faithful an adaptation as the studios would allow. He took one for the team, and as a fan I’m glad he has our backs.

Of course, there was the obligatory question about the film’s runtime:

Right now, it runs at around two hours and 50 minutes. I'm trying to make it shorter, because it's better if it's shorter, apparently... Look, I just don't want to lose any story line, because you know eventually that's what happens. You start to have to cut characters out, and I just don't want to do that.

And what Zack Snyder interview would be complete without asking him to comment of the film’s ending. Here is Snyder’s usual vague answer which confirms for us again that the right characters live and die, but avoids spilling details about any other aspect of the movie’s climax:

There's something that happens in the graphic novel at the very, very end with one of the lead characters and how he resolves things that is not very Hollywood. ... Basically, the graphic novel offers us a moral dilemma. That's the crux of the book: It offers you a moral dilemma about what's the right thing to do. It's so complex that the true answer of what is right is not an easy one-line fix [typical] for Hollywood. ... In order to create the conversation at the end of the movie, in order to create the debate about whether it's right or wrong, you need to do it a certain way. And that's what we tried to do. ... For the fans, it's not about what happens at the end. It's about being able to have that conversation after the end.

Hurm. Now, I’m reading between the lines here, but to me this sounds like we should expect some pretty big changes in the movie’s violent climax, but that the motivations, choices and outcomes for each of the main characters will remain consistent with the comic series. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see.

8.13.08 Source: MTV.com

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