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Comic-Con 2008: “Watchmen” Panel

Warner Bros. panel for Watchmen was moderated by Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly.  In attendance were Malin Ackerman (Silk Spectre), , Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Matthew Goode (Ozymandias), Carla Gugino (Sally Jupiter), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian), Patrick Wilson (Night Owl).  Co-creator of the graphic novel Dave Gibbons was also in attendance as was director Zack Snyder. Here are the panel highlights courtesy. Here are the panel highlights courtesy

  • Before the panel starts, SHH notes that they were told by Carla Gugino that Zack Snyder created a special title sequence for the start of the movie that’s not in the original Moore-Gibbons graphic novel.  It was created to show the passage of time fromthe early days of the Minutemen to where they are in the film.
  • Snyder recapped how the project came to be.  He was contacted by WB.  He felt that if he didn’t say yes, the project would ahve been done poorly by someone else.
  • He says the cast and crew have all remained as consistent to the book and characters as possible.
  • Gibbons talked about being on the set and was excited: It was like “being a kid at Christmas”.
  • Asked about Alan Moore (who is notoriously against any of his material being translated to the big screen), Gibons said: “I wish that Alan could have the same sort of excitement and experience that I have.”

They screened a few clips, here are SHH’s summary of what was shown:

Okay, no full frontal nudity, but it starts with Manhattan blowing up guys in Vietnam as promised, really blowing them up into atoms. That’s followed by an image of the Comedian’s smiley face with a drop of blood splattered on it like the classic image from the comics. We see Rorschach walking into a room, which is the Comedian’s lair and we get to see the first images of the ink on his mask changing shapes. Next image is of Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg (aka Night Owl but out of costume) sitting down with a lot of angst on his face (probably after finding out about the first deaths?) There is a scene with the Minutemen from the ’50s with the Comedian and Sally Jupiter in their early guises.

We see the formation of the palace on Mars which looks pretty amazing since it’s extended from the trailer, as well as an image of a watch as we see the early stages of Dr. Manhattan’s transformation. Another shot of the modern Silk Spectre unveiling the Owl Ship, pulling the covering from it. Lots more images of clocks and watches and more of Dr. Manhattan’s transformation, again from the trailer.

The next image was really cool, showing Nite Owl and Silk Spectre kissing from the dream sequence with the nuclear mushroom in the background… very cool, as well as a shot of President Nixon, The Comedian being slashed by his Vietnamese girlfriend/wife. A little bit of Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias, and some of Silk Spectre and Night Owl fighting crime. At this point, there are a lot of images that went by very fast, but essentially, it’s all stuff that’s in the comics with little bits of each of the characters. Rorshach looks very cool, though we never see him unmasked. There was no actual dialogue or narration in the clip reel as well as no titles, just some great scoring presumably by Tyler Bates and it all ends with the sequence of the Comedian being thrown out the window with the blood-splattered smiley face button following him, which looks amazing, just like the graphic novel. It looks great and hopefully they’ll shot it again!! (We love Zack for doing that for 300 a couple years ago.

Back to panel highlights:

  • Asked about whether the movie will be as dark as the book, Snyder said that is a reflection on “all of us” and that the movie is about “what is darkness?”.
  • Snyder said that they tried to incorporate all the supplemental material with no images into the movie.
  • Here’s what Jeffrey Dean Morgan had to say about playing the Comdian:”There were days that I got home from work and I’d be in a daze. He does some particular things that I wouldn’t naturally do as a person, but like Dan’s character, we all pull for the Comedian.” (big laugh) “Every day was a challenge. I found getting into the costume and putting a cigar in my mouth helped get me into the mood to kill people.”
  • The Smashing Pumpkins song used over the clip reel was chosen because tonally it made sense but also that it had irony.  It doesn’t think it’ll be included the movie’s soundtrack though. also had a chance to talk to several of the cast and crew from the film and have provided the interviews for download.  I’ve included the direct links below.

Zack Snyder

Dave Gibbons

Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino & Malin Akerman

Jackie Earle Haley & Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Billy Crudup & Matthew Goode

Click here for another report from the panel (via /Film).