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Jackie Earle Haley on Watchmen

Published March 7, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Watchmen Watchmen

Jackie Earle Haley spends most of Watchmen wearing a mask. As Rorschach, his visage features a morphing inkblot. For a portion of the film, he is captured and sent to prison under his real name, Walter Kovacs. To Haley, there was little difference.

Jackie Earle Haley Talks Watchmen


"Not much," Haley said. "I donned freckles. Yeah, I mean I looked at that and was thinking, 'What should I do there?' To me, it’s just, the guy is Rorschach. Walter is long gone, and I think he’s Rorschach, with or without the mask. So I’ve pretty much kept it in the same world. I don’t think that he throws on his mask and he completely changes his identity but I think when he’s in the middle of an interrogation or something, it might pump up his adrenaline and his syntax just like I think anybody would."

Haley can actually fight. He has a black belt in Kempo and Tae Kwon Do but that wasn't the style Rorschach was supposed to use. "He’s kind of more boxer-y but he does have some legs and stuff. I think what helped me with already having some experience with Martial Arts is that I didn’t need to show up two months before and start with the basics. I know everybody kind of went into fight training, and then into choreography. So I got to skip all of the fight training and just go into choreography. Then I also had the additional help that my character was covered so I had a kick ass stunt guy who was able to do most of it. But I did do some of it, and it was neat that the guys didn’t have to spend so much time teaching me how to throw a punch. It was just going right into the choreography of it."



The distinctive mask was a CGI accomplishment, but Haley got a sense early on of what it would ultimately look like. "We had some fixed Rorschach masks for stunt work and stuff that was further away from the camera, so obviously we could see an exact still representation. Then one day [visual effects supervisor] D.J. showed up on the set, he opened his computer he said, check it out. What they did with the blots I thought was incredible but it was kind of a challenge or concern, like wow, how am I going to go about this, kind of acting with the sock on my head, that first you’re kind of nervous, because you’re taking away your main tool, which is your face as an actor. But at the same time, you’re playing this character Rorschach, so there was something incredibly motivating by putting this thing on, so I think I struggled with it for a little while, just internally, and then I think as time went on all of that was just kind of reconciled in here and becoming Rorschach was a much easier process as time went on."

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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