He’s the X factor. Matthew Goode’s character, Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, has been featured in almost none of the advertising for Watchmen so far. Fans have gotten quick glimpses of him, but have not yet had the chance to really get a feel for how Goode plays one of the more integral characters in the book. The reaction to his Adrian might be what I’m most interested in seeing when the movie is released, as it’ll be the most immediate reaction from the fanbase – as opposed to the sheer amount of time people have had to get used to the movie versions of Nite Owl, Rorschach or Dr. Manhattan.
There are a lot of spoilers in the interview that follows. If you haven’t read the book, simply stop here. If you have read the book but don’t want any of the changes spoiled, also stop here. If you want to read an interview with a guy with a sense of humor about his career and this job, and who is obviously uncertain just what he’s gotten himself into… read on.
Goode: What do you want to know?
Q: You were hear doing a costume fitting today, is that the story?
Goode: No, we filmed something this morning, I was putting a cancer
agent… thing, whatever part of the story. That took five minutes and
then I’m getting into the super suit thing for a test later on. If
you’re around you’ll see me looking like an idiot.
Q: In the book Adrian has one of the more… interesting outfits.
I know, it’s slightly worrying! I definitely remember reading and when
he said ‘You’ve got it,’ I was like, ‘Excellent, this is great,’ and
then I’m reading the book and going ‘Oh… my god… I’m in a pair of
pants, seemingly.’ But luckily they’re sort of slightly cooler. When I
first came to LA [for the costume fitting] I think I felt pretty good
because Patrick came out and went “Dude, it’s fucking awesome!” He sort
of looks quite Batman-y and I’m sort of in a similar thing. It’s more
of a suit than just pants; I wouldn’t have the legs for it. It would
ruin the whole effect, my skinny, pasty English legs.
Q: So of course we have to ask are you familiar with the comic?
Goode: You know, I wasn’t. I met someone who was involved with the cartoons, the Invincibles or whatever it was. . .
Q: You talking about Pixar?
Goode: Yeah yeah yeah… What’s it called?
Q: The Incredibles?
The Incredibles! Yes, and so I knew that that was sort of loosely based
on the novel, and I was told a bit about it, but I wasn’t into that
area of comics and graphic novels, so it was all very new to me. But
apparently it is the best graphic novel ever written, according to Time
Magazine. So when I did finally get around to reading it, it was so
much more complicated and adult and intelligent then I was expecting,
so therefor it was a pretty easy decision for me to go “Fucking hell,
if you want me I’m in.”
Q: What struck you as a strength – was it the political side of things? Was it the characters?
Goode: I think what was interesting – I’m not saying I have a very
intelligent set of friends, but, I suppose I do, but I don’t think it
necessarily needs that huge amount of intelligence. We all discussed
the politics and apathy and is it possible for a world to unite and
religion, all that sort of thing. The only sort of answer is if we were
attacked from another planet, if there was an outside force, then
surely everything would have to come together; I thought that was a
really interesting concept. With energy issues that we have now, it’s
incredibly relevant, and I feel very proud that it was written by a
Brit. So I think all of these things sort of jump out particularly
quickly at you. I think the idea that you can have a lot of fun… it’s
treading a very nice line between… is it’s almost a little bit camp,
which is sorta new to me. It’s fun yet it actually has some sort of. .
. and I don’t think anyone’s going to actually watch it and go, “well
goddamn, this is relevant! We need to make changes.” But those comments
will be made. Ultimately it’s fun.
Q: Zack was talking about how
things change in meaning when they go from the page to live action. How
do you keep control of that campiness?
Goode: Have you seen the hair? With difficulty!
I think what’s funny to me on this show in particular is that I came
right from Brideshead Revisited, and you can’t really get any more
different. I was in that every day; this I sort of swan in fairly late
and do a couple of hours and deliver a monologue then I fuck off and
play golf for a couple of weeks! But I mean it’s the same as anything:
you learn your lines, you have a chat with Zach. The movie’s bigger
then any one particular actor, character or anything, and they’re all
so intermeshing. I think I’m sorta dealing with it as I go on really.
The first day, I mean the very first day I’m standing there in this
bright purple jacket, blonde hair and I’ve got women who work for me in
my office wearing particularly little, and there’s 200 people standing
around and I’m like “You want me here?” It’s just work really. But god
knows what it will look like but we have Zach; when he did 300 people
were sort of watching the rushes going “What the fuck is this guy
doing?” but ultimately they were blown away. I know he’s a bit of a
visionary and he’s got so much energy, and in Zach we trust.
One of the great things about the book is that you can finish it and
argue with your friends about whether or not what Adrian did was right.
What’s your take on it?
Goode: Ah yes. I mean, there is that, the big question on morality,
blah blah blah, and we’ve seen it in films like Saving Private Ryan.
Saving the one with the possibility of more dying and with this it’s
saving the world with, you know, it’s like 15 million people, or
whatever that particular figure is, when, as a ratio compared to the
rest of the world – when you put it into that kind of perspective it
does seem like a good equation really. [laughs] But obviously it’s a
horrific thing to do, 15 million people. What the…! The thing is it’s
the line of insanity of war; is it absolutely, crystal clear, cold,
‘I’m doing it that way and you can fucking deal with it, I couldn’t
give a shit what you think.’ I tend to think that it’s because of his
eating a ball of hash and suddenly being in love with Alexander the
Great, is he metro-sexual, all that kind of rubbish… at the end of
the day I don’t want him to be maniacal in the slightest. But we’ve
still yet to film all that stuff, so Zach might come back and go “Yeah,
he’s crazy!” I think you want him to be as human as possible, and as
cold and clear cut, and yet show some remorse for what he’s done. I
think that’s something we’ll see how that plays out. I mean we’ll try a
few different things and I’ll have a few eye twitches. Wing it, that’s
Q: The scene you were shooting this morning with
inserting the cancer agent, that’s not in the book. Is there a beefing
up of his role, since Adrian is not in the book a whole lot.
always sort of my worry is that all of a sudden you get stuck with a
lot of exposition – and exposition is fine, but in the book when he’s
talking to his Vietnamese work group, it’s suddenly that four or five
pages of blah blah blah blah. That’s quite worrying to do because, how
the fuckk am I going to do that without boring myself to death and make
it interesting? So that’s been broken up, as you obviously have to do.
With any adaptation to make it interesting you have to put it in a new
sequence. I wouldn’t say there’s been a “bulking up” but rather than
Adrian just being bing! at the end there’s been sequencing changes,
which I think have been done well.
Q: You don’t ever play Adrian at your own age, right? You’re always playing older or younger, I’m assuming.
That was one of the things. He’s meant to be in his forties as with the
rest. Obviously with the [Crimebusters] in the 70s when it was first
set up, at Watchmen headquarters, that was sort of about my age. But
he’s meant to be a particularly fine specimen of man. Suspend your
disbelief! Although I don’t sort of play him at my age, it’s sort of
meant to me that he’s a walking advert for Oil of Olay kind of thing.
There hasn’t been too much prosthetic stuff for me. Poor old Jeffery
[Dean Morgan] on the other hand – he’s gone through the gamut of
sitting in makeup for seven hours and getting a bit tetchy as one would
do. Yeah, he goes from, like, 20 to 67.
I tell you what, you’re going to love the opening of the movie, and I
have to say, this is where I don’t think enough can be said for stunt
men, stunt people or whatever you want to say, but: shit the bed! He
gets the crap beaten out of him. I mean, thrown across room, busting
through tables. ‘In the book, it’s like the Comedian’s Dead, bash,
done. Where as you really get to see why he’d dead in this one, and I
think it’s a great opening to the film. And I just think the less I am
involved with swinging punches the better because they make it look so
Q: But you do have some action scenes at the end.
Goode: In Karnac.
Q: So did you do training? Did you do training at all for the fights?
Do I look like I have been? [laughs] No, they’re very, very busy with a
lot of different sequences, so we were doing initial
kind of training. As you can see I’m still not very good. I think we’re
going to get round to doing that in the next. . . it’s more around
then, so I’ve got a little time off. So whenever they call me in I’ll
be in my spandex and ready to go I suppose.
Q: Are you looking forward to being an action figure?
It’s all slightly embarrassing really, but the action figure is
actually in one of the shots and I’ve been staring at it – staring at
myself – and I have to say it’s incredibly life-like. So yeah, I think
it’s something I’d probably put it in the shitter. But it’s there for
people to enjoy when they come round to their house, or people might go
“God you’re an asshole.” So yeah, whatever.