When the Watchmen script was sent to actor Patrick Wilson, it included a note, possible from his agency, telling him to look at the Dr. Manhattan part. But months later, after producer Deborah Snyder had seen Wilson in Little Children, he was told to look at Dan Dreiberg.
There was a sense of loss in Dan and a real sadness, that you sort of saw in 'Little Children. Even though it was completely different physically, you saw a guy who was once the captain and is now finding himself lost. I think that's what Debbie and, hopefully, Zack saw.
Wilson, who put on 20 pounds to play the pudgy, retired superhero, explained that that even Watchmen author Alan Moore felt the same way about the dynamics of the Dan Dreiberg character.
Alan Moore sort of likens Dan to a guy coming back from the war and feeling lost. He doesn't really fit into society. It's one of the most complex characters I've ever played. I certainly didn't feel like, 'Hey, I'm doing a superhero movie. I can just relax and be cool in a suit.
Yet, Wilson does look very cool in his vacuuformed rubber hero suit. In fact, some fans think he might look a little too cool, and not as frumpy as his out-of-shape counterpart on the pages of the original comic series. Many have in fact made comparisons between Dreiberg’s superhero persona Nite Owl and a more well know caped crusader. How does he feel about that?
I think the similarities to Batman are intentional, but there's certainly no Bruce Wayne in him.
Wilson, who will appear opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the new film Lakeview Terrace, went on to explain that “lost” characters, like Watchmen's Dan Dreiberg, appeal to him as an actor, even though they can present a challenge to portray.
I try to push it as far as I can. I look for dynamic characters with a real arc or who change in some way... I've seen a lot of actors who work very hard, and then you see it on screen, and it looks easy. The hardest thing to play is a character who is lost. It's much easier to say, 'I'm going to run across the street.' There, you know what you're doing. But trying to play somebody that doesn't even know where to run but wants to run, that's very difficult.
Now the real buzz lately is about a possible Watchmen sequel, but, to be honest, all of that buzz has been artificially hyped up and manufactured. Maybe a Watchmen sequel has been discussed, but that discussion seems to be isolated to the media.
It’s all been talked about. Financially, they like to do that. But all of us, [director] Zack [Snyder] included, all go, ‘How on Earth could you do a sequel or prequel?’
While Wilson acknowledged the presence of a clause in his contract that allowed for sequels, he was quick to add that these types of arrangements are pretty standard these days, citing their presence in Snyder’s previous mega-hit, 300.
Even the guys from ‘300’ might have had a sequel. It’s the most ridiculous option. It’s sort of a financial way to protect the studio, and I would do the same thing.
All of this sequel talk came up during my set visit back in January of 2008, but everyone who was asked said the same thing — How? Why? The truth is, Watchmen is a single story with an ambiguous ending. A sequel would be a big mistake. A prequel would just seem pointless as it would not be able to give new insight to characters that have been fully fleshed out already in the original story. So, would Wilson want to be in a sequel or prequel to Watchmen?
Certainly, artistically, I can’t fathom how it would happen. But hey, if Alan Moore writes it, I’d love to read it.
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