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Zack Snyder on Watchmen

Published March 5, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Watchmen Watchmen

It took many false starts by A-list Hollywood directors and producers before Watchmen could come to screens. Zack Snyder is finally the guy to do it. Now that he's done, even he's not sure how it will go over.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Talks Watchmen


"As far as whether or how main stream audiences are going to feel about it, I have no idea," Snyder said. "I was pretty sure that was how it would be with 300. I thought there was no way a mass audience would go for this movie with these half naked guys running around in these leather bikinis giving me a history lesson. It is just not going to work. So, I don’t know. I kind of feel the same way about Watchmen in the sense that I hope that as much as possible people get the irony of the movie and get what the movie is trying to do in the sense of the deconstructive aspect of the movie."

Lest you think you're just getting a kickass superhero movie, Snyder has made great efforts to imbue the film with the morality of the graphic novel source. "It is sort of the tearing down of super hero mythology and sort of understanding how it plugs into pop culture right now and how the super hero movie is the movie. It can be satirized in an intelligent way, not like a Meet the Spartans style, but what does it mean? Why do we love these characters? It goes through the whole thing, the violence and the sexuality and all of it going as far it can go in both directions to say that on one hand we are used to violence without consequence. Everyone is fine, no one gets hurt everyone gets up and PG-13’s it down the street, which I find super irresponsible."



Studios did want a PG-13 Watchmen to maximize business, but Snyder refused. "Basically if you made Watchmen PG-13, because the script I was handed originally for Watchmen, the studio was like, this is PG-13, it's updated to the war on terror, like Dr. Manhattan goes to Iraq rather than Vietnam. Adrian gets killed by Dan in the end. The owl ship crushes him with a cool tagline and no Manhattan on Mars, no Comedian’s funeral, no Rorschach being interrogated. Just like a real franchise-able super hero movie. I think in some ways I f*cked that up a little bit, the whole commercial aspect of Watchmen, but on the other hand I think the movie has a better chance the way it is of sort of and it might not create a revolution, but it can."

So that's what Watchmen is not. Now what is Watchmen? "The thing I try over and over, and it goes back to tone a little bit, that sort of self awareness that the graphic novel has that it is very familiar with its iconology so it is constantly reminding you of the very things that you like about superhero movies, whether it is the romance, whether it is the violence, whether it is the costumes. It is constantly asking you why you like those things. It is sort of saying, 'Do you really like these things? Because if you do, let me just explain to you what the reality of those things are. Let’s review for a second that you think it is okay for a guy running around dressed like an owl and solving crime and flying around in a big owl ship that that is not outrageous or impossible or if that was really true what it would do to humanity or religion or pop culture in general.' Those are the things that the book does and that I wanted to try to get as much as I could into the movie."

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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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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