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Snyder’s Take On Watchmen

In an interview in this month’s Wizard magazine, Watchmen director Zack Snyder talks about how he almost didn’t want to take on the difficult task of adapting the legendary comic series into a film because he “was too scared of the baggage that it had.”

He explained that when he heard that that Warners was dead set on making a Watchmen movie, and that they were going to update the story to make it “modern and super-cool” that he decided he would shoulder the responsibility of the project. He felt the studio misunderstood what they had with Watchmen, thinking it was standard superhero fare.

It's not a movie. It's something else. Sure, it's a story. A guy gets murdered and we have to find out who killed him and why. But it's also so much more. Comic books and comic book heroes used to be counterculture. People who read comic books were on the fringe, and then Hollywood sort of hijacked the superhero and now…superheroes are the man. They're corporate America. That's just the way it is. Spider-Man is a f---ing Happy Meal. That's all there is to it, and he generates tons of revenue. It's the same with Batman. I don't care how dark he is. He's still part of the machine.

Snyder also explained, very directly how Watchmen was different, and that he hoped that in the least, his adaptation would bring awareness to the original comic series to an audience that likely had never heard of it before.

Watchmen" says, "F--- the man." That's what it is and that's what it does. In every way it does that. It's counter-intuitive to a superhero movie in every way. There's no way that you have any idea where this movie is going. If you don't know the book, you're going to be like, "What the f---? What is this? Why?" I said, "If I can do a two-hour advertisement for the book, then I've succeeded." I'm not trying to replace the book. I couldn't. If I wanted to do that it would be a mistake. But I think if I can get people going, "Yeah, I have to check that out because this movie was awesome. I want to see what everyone is talking about."

Snyder also got into the reasons why he felt the film never got off the ground in the past, blaming it on studios watering down or removing the darker aspects of the Watchmen story in order to make it fit into the typical superhero format.

I guess my point is that, you asked me why the movie hasn't worked in the past, and I think that's part of the reason why it's been so difficult. This movie without the irony or the irreverence…because you can imagine where [Nite-Owl] can't have a scene where he can't get it up, that's got to be out of the movie, right? The Comedian can't rape anyone. That's not cool as a superhero. How are we supposed to feel about him? You can't just kill a pregnant woman, but those are the things that he has to do. He has to do those things. If he doesn't do those things, he's just a superhero. He's like The Punisher.

Snyder also explained that the genre deconstruction that is inherent in Watchmen's story can be understood by general audiences, now more then ever, since comic book movies have become part of the pop culture vocabulary.

Yeah, because now they know rules. You can break them now, where before they didn't know the rules because there were no rules.

9.4.08 Source: Wizard

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