Today at Comic-Con in San Diego we had a chance to sit in on a Warner Bros. panel where Mr. 300 himself, Zack Snyder, discussed his upcoming adaptation of the highly anticipated graphic novel, Watchmen.
Watchmen is 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 - is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion - a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers - Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity... but who is watching the watchmen?
"I was supposed to announce the cast at Comic-Con," Snyder laughed, "but it's not like I'm making a movie a movie that nobody cares about which would be sad." The director stated when it became clear that the majority of attendees already knew who the cast was.
He proceeded to break down the cast which will feature Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan. Malin Ackerman will be Silk Spectre. Jackie Earl Haley will be the aforementioned Rhorschach. Matthew Goode will be Ozymandias and Patrick Wilson will be the Night Owl.
He then talked about putting certain scenes together. "So lets say you have Rhorschach shooting a gun through the window and then he goes to investigate. If you've seen the graphic novel the way that's laid out... if you don't shoot a guy than you're full of shit. That's pretty much how it's going to be and I've done that throughout the whole book."
The audience hung on Snyder's every word often clapping after every sentence. It became easily apparent that the "fan boy" audience is one that Snyder feels quite comfortable relating to, and they see him as someone who can bring the stories and comics that they hold dear to life in the proper way.
"It's my hope that we all want to please Alan (Moore; creator of the Watchmen graphic novel). I think that's a noble thing to want to do. There's nothing wrong with getting the guy who created the thing to not hate it."
"I feel like we have this material and it's amazing," Snyder said when talking about working with something as multilayered as Watchmen. "I have the utmost respect for it. My opinion is I am going to try and make the best movie I can, and stick to the material as much as I can. So that when Alan does put the DVD on... which probably won't happen, he'll say, 'You know what? They didn't f*ck it up that bad.'"
Closing out his discussion Snyder talked to some fans who wondered if the characters "troubled pasts" would play a big part in Watchmen?
"Absolutely." Snyder declared, "Like I said, pretty much everyone's back story is going to be in the movie."
Watchmen comes to theaters March 6 from Warner Bros. Pictures.