Late last year, we were invited to visit Zack Snyder's Vancouver based Watchmen set. And everyone that attended the sneak peak tour of this iconic comic book adaptation in the making had to agree: It was like taking a fieldtrip to some sort of fanboy Mecca. At every single turn, exhilarating gasps of awe would escape from the collective lips of our group. It was a massive geek-out, and we were seeing a true culmination of cool coming together to form what could only be called a graphic novel on steroids. Yes, the vibe surrounding this future masterpiece was enough to vibrate the equator back an inch or two. A small tsunami formed within our group, and its swirl is but a modicum of the praise you will hear in the next few months for this highly anticipated work of pulp greatness.
If you aren't familiar with Watchmen and its legacy, don't worry. Almost every single publication that you frequent will catch you up to speed by the time of it's March 6th, 2009, release date. Some have called the 1986 cumulative mini-series the greatest literary work of the last half of this century. Created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the twelve-issue comic book is the only illustrated work to ever win the coveted Hugo Award, as well as the only graphic novel to appear on Time Magazine's 100 best English-language novels of the last 90 years.
Set within an alternate reality version of 1985, the plot follows a group of superheroes that are investigating the mysterious death of one of their own. The United States is edging towards a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and these so-called "heroes" must deal with their own neurosis and failings. The book has been called a brilliant deconstruction of the superhero mythos, and it has gone on to influence many other publications and films held within the same genre.
For many years, the graphic novel was thought unfilmable. It wasn't until Zack Snyder, the man responsible for the big screen adaptation of 300 and the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead, came aboard that things really started to come together for this unimaginable adaptation. At this point in the game, it looks like Snyder has done everything in his power to acclimate the story for the big screen. Having viewed the costumes and sets, its safe to say that Watchmen the film looks like it just might hold up to the heritage and family tree of its paper-paged forefather.
While in Vancouver, we were whisked through the "War Room", where all of the film's preproduction and concept art hangs for immediate referencing. We also got to climb around and play on a real life-sized Owl Ship, as well as take a trip through the completely recreated streets of New York City circa 1985. The excursion played like a wicked jaunt through some sort of mythical wonderland. Director Zack Snyder was generous enough to give us two separate interviews, and he also allowed us to watch the filming of a scene where protesters firebombed an electronics store. I even managed to steal a glance at Jackie Earle Haley in his Rorschach costume. Something few, up until that point, had managed to do.
Possibly the biggest fan favorite out of the dozen or so characters that litter the Watchmen landscape, Haley had this to say about playing his masked vigilante, "My approach was to look at the graphic novel. All of the information is in there, so it's about digging in and opening it up. What drives this guy is what he experienced as a child. He was victimized, unintentionally, by his mom. So, it was interesting to me. We live in a world of grays. And there is so much complexity to described behavior. It can sometimes justify wrongs for greater the goods." Jackie went on to describe his work in-depth, an interview we will be able to share with you in the near future, when our full set visit hits the Internet.
You can also look forward to interviews from Malin Akerman as Laurie Juspeczyk (aka Silk Spectre II), Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias), and Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg (Night Owl II). We will have a very detailed set visit report for you the closer the movie gets to hitting theaters. You can look forward to seeing Watchmen on March 6th, 2009. And it won't come a moment too late. That's for sure. Also look for more information on Watchmen to come out of Comic Con 2008. We will be there for all of the good stuff.