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David Gibbons on Watchmen

Published February 25, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Watchmen Watchmen

Artist Dave Gibbons is the only Watchmen creator available for interviews, as author Alan Moore refuses to be involved in the film. Gibbons finds it a shame too, as he feels the Watchmen movie is actually reverent to Moore's material.

David Gibbons Talks Watchmen

"You no doubt know the reasons why Alan isn't involved," Gibbons said. "I'm really sorry that he has had a bad experience with Hollywood and that he can't see his way to be a part of this because I do think finally that Hollywood has done right by him. Certainly everybody that I've met who's got anything to do with this movie wants to do right by Alan and by me and has certainly used all their powers to make it something that we would be happy with. So it does seem very strange to see my name alone up there and it looks unbalanced because you ask the question, so who's the other co-creator of it."

To Gibbons, it is difficult to articulate those elements that keeps Watchmen faithful to the graphic novel. "It's hard to put your finger on something like that because quite often, it's the individual ingredients in something that give you the final taste of it. It's sometimes hard to tell what that taste is from the ingredients. Basically, what we were trying to do was as lifelong fans of superhero comics, we were trying to get to know them a bit better. We were asking some questions that hadn't been asked before, that do relate to society in general, like why would somebody dress up and go and fight crime? What is a vigilante? The whole title of the book, Watchmen, is from 'Who watches the Watchmen?' Okay, you've got people to watch over us but who watches them? So there's that whole question of responsibility."

Even more than deconstructing the superhero genre, Watchmen talks about human morality in general. "There's also the moral ambiguity of deciding to do something for the good of society that might actually prove not to be for the good of society. Yet, what right does anybody have to decide what's good for people? So there were those issues that we explored there. There were also comments on recent American politics. That time in the western world was a frightening time in many ways because there was the very real threat of imminent destruction. It was a very real fear for Alan and I while we were doing it, that it could all go very badly wrong. There were also, in those times, it was very exciting politically and globally because you had wonderful things like the moon landing, the kind of cultural revolutions of the '60s and '70s, but you did have the Vietnam War and you did have the assassination of figures of hope like JFK or Martin Luther King. So those are the flavors to me that are mixed in with Watchmen, give it its particular character."

The film does change a few elements, most notably excising the giant squid in the end. Gibbons is okay with that. "I think when you're a rabid fan of something, and I am a rabid fan, any change, any deviation from the true gospel, to return to the religious motif, feels like heresy. I'd always felt anyway that really what Adrian Veidt does is a colossally convincing special effect. In the movie, which consists of colossally convincing special effects, it's just one more effect. And I think the ending that they put on it is a really appropriate ending."

Watchmen opens to theaters March 6th.

For the posters, trailers, stills and more info on the film, go to the Watchmen Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros

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