Patrick Wilson understood what it meant to comic book fans when he accepted the role of Nite Owl in Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. The actor recently told MTV that he had done his homework on the character and the role before even meeting with Snyder.

“I did all my homework and became a huge fan of the comic,” Wilson said. “My buddy always fills me in on what this means to the comic world. I knew before I even met with [director] Zack [Snyder] that I was walking on hallowed ground.”

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One of the biggest places that Wilson studied was in the physicality of the character. In the comics, Dan Dreiberg is portrayed as being out-of-shape when he returns to action. “His physicality I was always completely conscious of,” said Wilson. “The drawing of him looking so sad and very dumpy with slumping shoulders…that’s very informative to me. When the guy takes his shirt off that’s not a fat dude. That’s a big dude who maybe got soft but he’s not just a big tub. It’s funny some people have a different interpretation of that. And I keyed into Alan Moore likening him to a soldier coming back from a war and feeling lost, not knowing his place in society. I was like, that I can dig into.”

You can see Wilson’s take on the character first-hand when Watchmen hits theatres on March 10, 2009. Adapted from the comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the movie stars Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie, Carla Gugino and Matt Frewer.