Hot on the heels of the fucking incredible trailer for his adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, Zack Snyder has been quoted saying things about his planned film version of Alan Moore’s Watchmen that have completely erased any final misgiving I may have had about him working on the project.
I never had a lot of misgivings, by the way. After meeting him on the set of 300 and seeing the enthusiasm and respect he had for Frank Miller’s original graphic novel, I knew that he was going to bring that same level of enthusiasm and respect to Moore’s work. If the movie didn’t turn out well (and let’s face it, adapting Watchmen remains a daunting task filled with potential catastrophes) it wouldn’t be because Snyder was slacking off or didn’t care about the material.
Then I talked to him again at ComiCon, and the latest draft of the script, done by Alex Tse, came up – and Snyder was dead honest about it. Usually at a ComiCon roundtable you’ll get people blowing as much smoke as possible, but Snyder was upfront with thinking the draft needed more work.
He actually still seems to be on that kick (and I agree – I read the last David Hayter script, which is fantastic, and the first Tse draft, which retains most of the Hayter script but adds some superfluous and Hollywood-esque action and dialogue). But he’s also talking about something I never thought anyone would do – he’s setting his movie in 1985, the year the book came out.
I loved Paul Greengrass’ take on the material, and I still wish I could see the movie he would have made. But with this quote:
“1985’s a problem for people. The Cold War’s a problem for people. But these are things I’ve been trying to [tell people] would be cool. I like that Richard Nixon is the president in it. I think that’s important. Those kinds of things tell you exactly what kind of movie this is – it’s not Fantastic Four, you know.”
Snyder has made me sit up and really get excited. I’m not sure that setting the movie in ’85 is the best idea, but it’s a BALLSY idea. While I personally would prefer to see the story moved into the present to reflect the current world (which Hayter did), making Watchmen a period piece is an interesting idea, and indicative of someone who is bringing his own personal vision to the project.
There’s more from Snyder at Empire Online, including his statement that Watchmen won’t be done all green screen like 300. Click here to read it all.