Male celebrities at Comic Con tend to really dress down. Male celebs rarely ‘dress up’ for junkets anymore, but they do wear something expensively casual. At Comic Con, though, it’s a t-shirt and jeans. That’s what Patrick Wilson, the Nite Owl, was wearing at the Watchmen roundtable interviews last week.

But female celebs get all dolled up. So Carla Gugino (Silk Spectre) and Malin Ackerman (her daughter, Silk Spectre II) were dressed to the nines, looking beautiful and sexy in fabulous dresses. I’ve had worse jobs than sitting across from Carla Gugino in a little black dress (her, not me), even if I had to ask her about getting raped.

Be aware, spoilers are ahead. You can’t talk about Watchmen in any substantive way without hitting a spoiler or two.

What was it like playing superheroes?

And these aren’t your typical superheroes either.

Wilson: The easy answer is that it was great. I wasn’t that familiar
with the comic but I have a friend who has been my best friend for 20
years, and every Wednesday he has gone out and bought new comics ever
since I have known him, when we were 18. I’ll use his quote from when I
told him I was thinking of doing Watchmen: ‘If you are ever to do a
comic book movie, this is the one to do.’ So I feel like that’s sort of
the answer: if you’re ever going to do it, this is the one.

Gugino: It’s so interesting to play such intricate, complex characters
that happen to be superheroes or crime fighters. It’s almost like an
amazing perk to the job – it’s almost like a manifestation of what’s
going inside of them. So often the outside individual is just cool
looking and kick ass, but here it’s not incidental to the character. It
is definitely a perk of the job.

Ackerman: It doesn’t feel like you’re a superhero. They feel very human.

Gugino: The characters feel very human, and once you get into those
costumes you become these superheroes, but you still feel like a human
being who… if you studied karate for your whole life, you’d be great
at it. At first you think ‘Wow, these are superheroes’ and then you
realize they’re just people. You can relate to them so much more.

Carla, one of the more interesting and controversial things in the book
is the relationship Sally has with Blake. It begins with a brutal rape,
but at the end of her life she has a real affection for him. What are
your thoughts on that relationship?

It was a real fascinating thing, and that’s what I love about
human beings and what I love about acting – you get to get inside
somebody else’s minds and have their experiences. There is no black and
white, it’s all grey, everyone is capable of everything. I talked to
Zack about that the first time we sat down and I said, ‘I find this
fascinating and I love that you don’t expect her to react this way.’
She has a real soft spot for him, and in a way he is for sure the love
of her life, and if you’re going to use terms like soul mate, there was
a deeper connection. There was something beautiful created from that.

[Wilson and Ackerman start laughing]

Gugino: What’s going on?

Wilson: Sorry.

They’re laughing about rape.

I know! I say rape, they giggle.

Ackerman: You said something beautiful was created and he said [not too sure] ‘Well…..’

Gugino: Oh yeah. But the rape was so brutal, and Zack said, ‘Are you
okay if I make this really brutal?’ It’s not sexy, it’s awful. And I
said yes, because it has to be that, it’s intrinsic. But the fact that
it’s the case sheds more light on who she is. We both loved that
psychology, and obviously Alan Moore created that. But yeah, it was a
really interesting thing to play.

The Nite Owl seems like a guy everybody feels bad for. He’s the guy everybody wants to do well.

He’s awesome. I miss him. I do. I think I’ve talked about this
earlier, but I think there’s this thing for him where you pull for him
because you know he’s trying to do the right thing. You see him trying
to find his way. It’s not so much that he’s sad – that’s too easy to
play, that’s a primary color. His struggle… the notes in the Absolute
Edition likens him to a soldier coming back and not feeling part of
society. That’s something I can dig into. He’s not understanding where
he fits. The misfit in all of us, in some respect we all have that. He
just really longs for [what he could have had], I feel that he was
really cut short. I feel that he could have enjoyed a great career and
I think you see him in that [Crimebusters] meeting – he really wanted
to get that group together and it just doesn’t work. I think he’s
genuinely upset and pissed off when Comedian burns the map. It’s this
incredibly complicated relationship he has with Rorschach, and the
Laurie comes into the picture and you think there must have been some
issue years before but it was never explored because Dan was always
terrible at talking… I wanted him to do good in so many aspects of
his life, his personal life, his sexual life. I know we always snicker
about that, but what is more perfect, the greatest metaphor ever? He
can’t get it up.

Except when he’s in costume.

Wilson: That’s the thing. It’s all snicker, snicker, funny, funny, but when we
do actually consummate it, the way that we shot that… I’m anxious to
see that, we both are. It’s always weird shooting stuff like that, but
Zack’s idea of how he wanted to tell that story, of what sex and
sexuality meant to this people and when it comes fruition it’s so spot
on. There are so many levels to the guy. Everybody’s got that guy:
‘Come on, man!’

Watchmen is unique in its depth and scope. Were there ever days when
you looked at the script and wondered how you were going to make this
all work?

A lot of days. I do feel that in all creative endeavours, if
you’re doing something worthwhile and something that’s a challenge, you
shouldn’t feel like you know what you’re doing. But you’re doing
everything you can to find that. Zack is one of the most
well-researched… his storyboards are phenomenonal, but every day he
would say ‘I have a new idea.’ It was a constant process of discovery.
That’s what’s so great is that so often as actors, and especially in
comic book movies even though they’re getting so much better, you
wonder how can I find something human in this? In this case it’s about
how can I come up to the plate and fill in all of the dimensions?

Malin, can you talk about Laurie’s romantic dilemma?

You know, I never understood why she left Dr. Manhattan.

Wilson: Dude, hello.

Ackerman: Oh right, that’s why! We’ve all been teenagers, we’ve all
been young. There’s a saying that every seven years we change, there’s
a major change. She met Dr. Manhattan at such a young age, she was
intrigued – he was a blue man who was naked! But in all seriousness,
she didn’t have her own life yet, she wasn’t her own person. She was
forced by her mother into this life, she was with this group of people,
met this amazing blue man, so when she finally realizes that she’s
starting to find her footing in life she also realizes that Dr.
Manhattan is looking at her as more of a molecule than a person. I
think when she finally finds Dan she finds herself and finds that human
quality. It’s a beautiful relationship that builds – it’s sweet and
real and beautiful.

Have you tried wrapping your head around what it would be like to sleep with Dr. Manhattan?

Oh, I have tried wrapping my head around it. I think it would be exciting!