Damon Lindelof's Watchmen show is a strange beast, in equal parts appearing far removed from the world of Alan Moore's graphic novel that inspired it, while also showing slavish devotion to the source material. One of the directors of the series Steph Green spoke to Collider regarding the Emmy-nominated episode "Little Fear of Lightning", which conjured up the graphic novel's iconic giant squid monster for the television screen. Green revealed her excitement over bringing the monster to life and the importance of tying its reveal into the emotional journey of the character played by actor Tim Blake Nelson.
"I think in seeing some of the early work from Tim Blake Nelson, they had figured out he really was the character to experience the sort of pain and trauma and reality of the squid attack. He would be the sort of vessel for that storytelling, which I think was such a brilliant, brilliant move. So by the time I got the script, his life was going to have been shaped by the squid attack. And I was just so lucky that I got this sort of origin story narrative to work with Tim. And I got to do the squid attack. So I was dancing when I got the script. I was so excited."
A couple of decades ago, filming such an elaborate scene for a tv show featuring a giant squid rampaging across the city would have been unthinkable. Now, thanks to a combination of practical effects and CGI, Green was able to provide viewers with a bird's eye view of the wanton destruction caused by the creature as it fell into Times Square.
"The camera was on this huge zip line that moved away from the face of the young boy screaming, "What happened?!", and it zipped back really quickly over all the destruction. And then you'll see there's a big Ferris wheel, that big large Ferris wheel is VFX. And the minute you pass through that, you're in VFX build land. And it's built to be exactly the distance to Time Square where the squid actually fell. And the camera backs up, and designing that with the VFX team was really, really fun just to conceptualize and kind of figure out how we would reveal the squid."
That reveal turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire nine-episode run of Watchmen, and one of the most-watched clips from the show on Youtube. Still, apart from the more showy aspect of the episode in terms of the giant monster attacking the city, Green views its narrative bedrock as a somber reflection on intergenerational trauma.
"I think Damon really wanted to look at the internal mechanism of trauma intergenerationally and through one's life, which is to that character in the support group who talks about his mother, having lived through the squid attack and that there's intergenerational trauma that's come down to him. And I think it's part of the greater race conversation."
This news comes to us from our friends at Collider.