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Watchmen in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Watchmen

Patrick Wilson • Malin Ackerman • Billy Crudup • Matthew Goode • Jeffrey Dean Morgan • Jackie Earle Haley
DIRECTOR: Zack Synder

The Comedian, Silk Spectre II, Dr Manhattan, Ozymandias, Nite Owl II and Rorschach
Set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the Doomsday Clock – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – moves closer to midnight, a masked vigilante named Rorschach (Haley) sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.

After his former colleague, The Comedian (Morgan), is murdered, he reconnects with his past crime-fighting legion, a disbanded group of retired superheroes, Daniel Dreiberg, aka Nite Owl II (Wilson); Laurie Jupiter, aka Silk Spectra II (Akerman), Jon Osterman, aka Dr. Manhattan (Crudup), Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias (Goode), and glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past – their mission was to watch over humanity … but who is watching the Watchmen?

U.S. RELEASE: March 6 2009, Nationwide • Rated: R


Jeffrey Dean Morgan“I didn’t come up in the world of graphic novels or comic books. They called me and said, ‘Zack Synder, the guy from 300, is directing this movie,’ and they sent over, I kid you not, I’m still going to yell at Warner Brothers for this, a Xeroxed copy of the graphic novel. That was my introduction to it. I remember looking at it and I got to page three and I threw it over my shoulder and went, ‘Well, I’m dead already, awesome project.’ I called my agent and I was like, ‘Thank you man,’ and he said, ‘Can you just keep reading it, you jackass.’ And I did, and read it two more times. I’ve also read the thing in color, I bought a copy of the book, and I’ve read it probably 50 times, so I’m a fan now.”

JACKIE EARLE HALEY on wearing a mask for practically the entire film:
Jackie Earle Haley“It was a scary process, because as an actor you’re first incredibly excited, it’s a break of a lifetime to get to play Rorschach, and then your second inclination is, oh my God, I’m going to have a sock on my head for the whole movie. So I was a little bit concerned about it. When you’re an actor your face is your main conveyance. But, at the same time, there’s something incredibly motivating about the mask when you’re playing Rorschach, because it’s his face. Somewhere along the line I crossed the line and became a geek. You would think that playing the scenes I did in the film without the mask would have been more satisfying, but it wasn’t because at that point it was all Rorschach, and I really bought into the fact that there was no Walter.”

MALIN ACKERMAN on her Silk Spectre II suit:
Malin Ackerman“It was so uncomfortable. I’m not going to develop a latex fetish at all. It was definitely phenomenal looking, don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and the design was incredible, but if I were a superhero I would wear sweats and a t-shirt, and add a belt to fashion it up. We trained for the fight sequences in sweats and running shoes, but you’d put the costume on and you’d have to start all over again, because you couldn’t even bend your elbows. It was a difficult challenge in its own terms, but the end result was pretty fantastic.”

PATRICK WILSON on his film reunion with Jackie Earle Haley:
Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II“When I heard Jackie was being considered I got so excited and I kept crossing my fingers that he was going to get it. We got to hang out more than work together on Little Children, because those characters overlapped only a couple of times. The first day we worked together on Watchmen, we were both in our [superhero] suits. It was like a very weird sequel to Little Children, it certainly gave us a lot of laughs.”

Billy Crudup“The interesting thing about Dr Manhattan is he really doesn’t care, and I think that’s part of the conceit that Alan Moore [who co-created the graphic novel] wanted, what if you give someone all the power in the world and they have lost their humanity? He’s much more interested in the way that particles interact. He’s totally lost when it comes to a connection to people; the complexity of human interaction baffles him in a way that makes him feel alone. He’s kind of lazy morally, and that was an interesting characteristic to play.”

Matthew Goode,“I found Adrian a very hard character to play. I remember thinking when I first read the script that was so rich and yet there was so much I didn’t know about my character. I don’t think I’m the only one that felt that, there are a lot of grey areas for all of them. I don’t think you can just immediately buy into it and go, ‘This is going to be a great movie.’ I’d met Zack and I’d seen 300, and it took seeing the artwork for the movie and hearing Zack speak about what he wanted to achieve and, even then, you’re like, ‘I hope it works.’”

MORGAN on his favorite scene:
“I think it was the Keene riots. I realized how big a thing this was, it was so huge. This movie had the feel of doing this small little independent film that we all had our own money invested in, because everybody cared so much about it, and yet you’re doing a movie that is massive, like the Keene riots. Seeing New York with Archie (Nite Owl II’s flying machine) floating above, and 500 extras, and fires burning out of control, you just got the impression that things were really out of control. Are we shooting here or is this going to burn down? Am I in danger? It was pretty phenomenal.”

HALEY on Rorshach’s raspy voice:
“It’s the first thing that I heard when I read the novel, there’s something about him that just felt like that was the voice, and that’s the voice I put down on the audition tape. And Zack was happy with it the way it was, so we just stuck with it.”

CRUDUP on his motion capture suit:
“It was very distracting but the fact of the matter is, you discover that it’s kind of what you do all the time anyway. It’s just a more elaborate version of dress up; I’m wearing somebody else’s clothes, pretending to be somebody else. Typically you’re given at least some of the artifacts of your character, whether it’s a wallet or a watch, but in this I had quite the opposite of everything that he possessed. So, I had to use my imagination a lot and I had to shut out the other actors who insisted on laughing at me.”

“I think all of us had the same reaction, and Billy was such a good sport about it. I mean, he comes out in white pajamas looking like a Christmas tree, with dots on his face. But after a while you got used to it, and he’s such an amazing actor that you got into his performance.”

WILSON on Nite Owl II being compared with Batman:
“I think Dan is so far from Bruce Wayne, he’s more like Clark Kent. I remember the first day I was in the Nite Owl suit, they hadn’t painted it yet so it was all black. I remember calling my buddy and saying, ‘I look like Batman.’ I don’t know what it’s like to play Batman, but knowing Nite Owl now, it was exciting to think what Dan would think playing Nite Owl, because that’s the point of this: what Dan feels like in the suit, not just how Patrick feels.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
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