While I have been slacking on writing a review
for The Watchmen, the graphic novel by Alan Moore, there is news
on the latest film adaptation. CHUD
gave Paul Greengrass, the director of
Watchmen, a call to ask some questions on
current developments for the film.
Get ready for the Watchmen.
Before we get into the question, I just wanted
to point out the title change for the film. Instead of The Watchmen,
the film will drop the 'the' and be titled Watchmen.
Another thing that blows me away about the film adaptation is how hard it
is going to be to make. The graphic novel spends a good majority of its
time hanging out with retired heroes. Even though there are murders going
on, there seems to be only one hero involved with trying to discover what
is going on. So, this book mostly covers ordinary heroes [no super powers]
re-telling the old days and why they ever became a costumed hero in the
first place. The Watchmen story takes a completely different, and
strange, look at characters who decide to become costumed crusaders for
no apparent reason.
Only on the back third of the graphic novel do other heroes come together to stop some sort of phantom menace.
Anywho, CHUD was able to get a hold of Greengrass
to hear what he had to say on Watchmen. Here are a couple snippets
Q: What are you working on
at the moment? Costumes and sets?
Greengrass: Itís a bit like how do you fit fifteen people through a small door simultaneously. Thatís what pre-production is like in the early stages. How do you fit an American football team through a door thatís about two feet wide and three foot tall. You have to crew up first of all Ė not first of all, these are in no order of priorities, these are just the things you have to do. You have to start designing sets and wardrobe. You have to start really analyzing how youíre going to make the film. You have to start working on the screenplay. You have to start thinking about casting. You have to start thinking about budgets. Weíve made a good start.
Itís interesting the kind of issues that first raise their head, really. How do you deliver the Citizen Kane of comic books to screen? That is basically the problem. Itís a bit intimidating to be honest. I believe two things, really: I do believe, obviously because I am here, that you can make a film based on Watchmen the novel that is both truthful to the novel and also works in two hours. I really do believe that, I wouldnít be here if I didnít.
The second point is that I believe in an odd kind of way that itís twenty years since Watchmen, give or take a year or two Ė certainly twenty years since it was set Ė and I think in many ways a lot of what Watchmen was about is very, very relevant to today.
I think that those are the two things that beat most passionately inside me.
Q: How did you first become aware of the novel, and how did you
become involved with this project?
Greengrass: I was going to say that the interesting thing from my point of view Ė I got a call in November or December, not that long ago, saying had I heard of Watchmen and was I interested in doing a film. I said are you kidding, of course I had heard of Watchmen. But the interesting thing from my point of view is that Iím not a person steeped in comic book lore. Thatís not where I come from. It wasnít something that Ė I didnít sit as a child and read millions and millions of comics.
Iím a Brit, as Alan Moore is, and Watchmen I read at the time that it came
out. The reason I read it is because at the time there was a lot of pieces
of work done in this period of the mid to late 80s that were, due to the
state power, sort of dark and conspiratorial and reflecting the acute paranoia
of the late Cold War. I was very involved in doing different sorts of work
then, but one of the things I did at the time was a book called Spycatcher,
which at that time caused a lot of stir because it got banned by the British
government. It was a kind of book about spies and I actually wrote it with
a guy who was inside our MI-5, which is like our version of the FBI sort
of CIA type of thing. It was really an expose of what was going on. At the
time that that came out, there was a kind of fantastic prolonged twelve
month period where it was a court case and it became a great set piece encounter
Ė conflict, really Ė trying to define where the boundaries lay between the
governmentís desire to protect national security and our right as citizens
to know what is done in our name.
For the rest of the interview, head over to CHUD.
For further movie info, go to the Watchmen