Zack Snyder

The director tells us what to expect out of his two latest Blu-Ray Live experiences

Blu-Ray Live is pushing the home video market in an exciting new direction, and Zack Snyder is utilizing this medium like no other director before him. On July 21st, he will be releasing both Watchmen: The Director's Cut and 300: The Complete Experience on cutting edge high-definition special edition Blu-ray discs that will take the audience deep into the filmmaking process. Using state-of-the-art technology and advanced filmmaking techniques, the director and his team have created what is known as: "The Maximum Movie Mode". This entirely new way of watching movies will enable audiences to climb inside Zack Snyder's brain. He will be unleashing his perspective right into your living room for an experience like no other. It's just shy of having the man literally teleported into your home theater. Seriously, who wouldn't find that exciting?

Watchmen: The Director's Cut will run 186 minutes in length, with twenty-five minutes of never-before scene footage added back in. This fresh clips include more of Rorschach and the notorious "Death of Hollis Mason" scene. Snyder has filmed Director Walk-Ons, where he gleefully interrupts the movie to take you in for a closer look at the filmmaking process. Picture In Picture Video will include actor interviews along with an intense behind the scenes look at what went into making Watchmen so special. A reoccurring Timeline will keep you up to date on our own American history and how it has been tweaked for the plot. And the Graphic Novel Comparison will allow you to view the actual graphic novel along with the movie itself. As if that weren't enough, Snyder will also be hosting a Community Screening during this year's Comic Con that allows you, the viewer at home, to watch the movie along with him and a crowd full of screaming fans. Afterwards, you can upload your own audio commentary for the world to hear.

Blu-Ray Live is about total immersion. It will allow people to dissect their favorite films like never before, and Snyder is set to pioneer this exciting new shift in the home video market. We recently caught up with Zack to hear more about these exciting Blu-Ray discs. This is what the director had to say:

Why do you think its important to have your movies represented in this new immersive format?

Zack Snyder: The truth is, these movies are the kinds of movies that fans like to comment on. This new technology allows me to see how fans took in a particular scene. I get to see how they reacted to certain parts of the movie. That is something I am interested in. Just as a filmmaker, and as a fan of movies. I want to know people's response to the things that I designed. I want people to bring their own experiences to it. I want to know what they perceived about the changes made from the graphic novel to the screen. Maybe there's a lot that they are right about. This is fertile ground for future discussions.

From a consumer's stand-point, what is the difference between this version of the Blu-Ray disc and the upcoming "Ultimate Edition" that you plan to release in the future?

Zack Snyder: I don't think the "Ultimate Edition" will have the Walk-On feature. The "Ultimate Edition" will be more about incorporating the Tales of the Black Freighter into the actual film. Basically, the way it will work is, we shot ins and outs to the Tales of the Black Freighter. It will be the director's cut slightly tweaked to accommodate the Tales of the Black Freighter. There will be cool new sequences where we go into and come out of that comic book. That is the big, big difference. As far as finding out how we made the movie, and all the technical details, this new Blu-Ray disc is where it's at.

Is there ever a risk of having too many editions?

Zack Snyder: I think there would be on a movie that wasn't as cool as this. The thing with Watchmen is that it's a film that is customized to have different versions. It does get exhausting to say that there are three different versions of this movie that exist. There is the theatrical version, a director's cut of the theatrical version, which is twenty-five minutes longer, and then the Black Freighter version, which is another twenty-five minutes longer. The new scenes are not deleted scenes. People ask me, "What are the deleted scenes like?" I don't look at them like that at all. This is really about completing the idea. This is the way the movie was for me. I had to squash it down to a length that was suitable for theatrical audiences. Even that version is almost too long. The final version is a much fuller version, as far as the graphic novel goes. This is what I originally intended the movie to be. When I shot it, I knew stuff was going to get cut out. It was cool to know, in the back of my mind, that there would be a more complete edition. It used to be that the theatrical version was the hard cover version of the book. And the VHS or DVD was the paperback version that you could throw away. That has changed, especially with the pressure of IMAX and 3D. The theatrical version needs to be the more commercial version of the film. The more hardback, customized version has become the Blu-Ray. You can't get a more immersive experience than this. If you want to watch this, and you are sort of interested in parts of it, you can explore that. But if you are a crazy cinephile that is obsessed with movies and how they are made, this thing can bring you directly into it world. You can drill down as far as you want with the movie. Making this Blu-Ray became about customizing it for different audiences members. You can have different experiences, because you can choose to watch different things on the disc. That's how this evolves. The cool thing about Blu-Ray is that it does things simply downloading a movie will never be able to do. This is not just about watching the movie. This is about becoming involved in the experience. You don't just download it and watch it. You don't just watch it on your Ipod. You not only get an awesome transfer, but you get to play with the material. This is the first time that you have a Blu-Ray that is challenging the equipment. It is really quite amazing. Even me, standing here talking about the movie, going, "Blah, blah, blah!" There is something about having the filmmaker in your living room that is unique. It would be like if I came over to your house and showed you the movie, and walked you through it. It's not just a commentary. I can tell you to pause the film. And point certain things out. That is a different thing entirely. I can stop the movie and go, "Hey, look, here's another documentary that I prepared and brought over." That is pretty neat.

Why did you decide to re-release 300 on Blu-Ray again?

Zack Snyder: We had all of this material that we wanted to put in a single place. We could do that with this amazing Blu-Ray transfer that we have. This new technology allowed us to create three new paths that the viewer can choose from in watching the movie. And you can go back and forth between them. Creating the Legend, Bringing the Legend to Life, and The History Behind the Myth. The way the technology works allows you to do a lot of new stuff with the Blu-Ray. The experience becomes transcendent. Its more than just watching the movie play itself out. It's cool to give the film a second life. You've seen it, now you get to see it in a different light. You can watch it in a number of different ways, depending on what path you take.

How much new footage does the disc contain?

Zack Snyder: I think I have done ten new interviews for the movie. With some of the old interviews, we've been able to take the best pieces from them, and redo them. This is a combination of all those things.

Is it easier for you too look at the film with this much time having past?

Zack Snyder: Yes. I could look at the film with a slightly different perspective. I was having these technical conversations about the film. Now that I've gotten away from it a bit, the conversations have become more philosophical. That's kind of how the movie works. It's a cyclical experience. I will probably start talking about the technical aspects again in the future.

Is this a different version of the film?

Zack Snyder: No, there was only one cut. It's the same one you've always seen. I think there may be a couple of deleted scenes on there. But those were outtakes we weren't ever going to incorporate back into the movie. It's interesting to have all of this stuff in one place. We did our homework when we made the movie. From a historical aspect, I have seen all of the angles. And I am pretty acquainted with the graphic novel. But when all of that information is pulled into one direction, it's interesting, even for me. Its fun.

Both Watchmen: The Director's Cut and 300: The Complete Experience will be released on Blu-Ray on July 21st, 2009.