- Title: UK: World premiere of film adaptation of comic book classic, 'Watchmen' kicks off
- Date: 24th February 2009
- Summary: POSTER SHOWING 'THE COMEDIAN' CHARACTER FROM 'WATCHMEN' JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN, WHO PLAYS 'THE COMEDIAN' IN 'WATCHMEN' SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN SAYING: "They sent me xerox-ed copy of the graphic novel, if you can believe it, and got to page three and saw 'The Comedian' (his character) get thrown out the window and I was like: 'Well, what the hell is this, why did you send this to me?' And basically I sat down and continued reading and realised what I was reading was such a seminal piece of work and here I am. Met with Zack the next day and he said: 'Are you in?' and I said 'Hell yeah'." FANS AT BARRIER (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN SAYING: "You know, very aware of the fact that they questioned everyone from Zack being the director to all of us actors. And we went in wanting to stay as true as we could to the graphic novel and make the best movie we could and it was very much a passion project for all of us involved. We wanted to get it right for Watchmen fans " DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER AND WIFE, PRODUCER, DEBORAH SNYDER, ON RED CARPET (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER SAYING: "I mean, yeah there was a lot of pressure but I loved the graphic novel for a long time and so I think a lot of the pressure I put on myself. You know, we just wanted to get it right." ZACK AND DEBORAH SNYDER TALKING TO MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR, ZACK SNYDER, ON THE FREEDOM HIS LAST HIT '300' GAVE HIM, SAYING: "No, no, no way. I think that '300' really helped us to say, okay, look, it can be rated R. It can be something you don't get right away, but but people like it." FANS AT BARRIER (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR, ZACK SNYDER, ON ALAN MOORE, SAYING: "Look, you know Alan has famously said 'I don't want anything to do with it' and I just try and respect that as much as I can."
- Embargoed: 11th March 2009 12:00
- Reuters ID: LVA25COQ94IQVLY5NX99EWZ0EXL5
- Story Text: The cast of new mega-budget superhero movie 'Watchmen' attend the film's world premiere in London.
It's been a long road, but 'Watchmen' finally had it's world premiere at London's Leicester Square on Monday (February 23).
The tagline to the film reads, "They watch over us, but who watches them?" Taking more than 20 years to produce, and branded 'unfilmable' by one director, it looked like the answer to that question - as far as cinema audiences were concerned - would remain: "nobody".
After several aborted attempts to make the movie, with directors such as Terry Gilliam and Darren Aronofsky attached to the project at different stages, the new 'Watchmen' certainly didn't suffer from a lack of funding in it's final production, with a budget in excess of 100 million U.S.
The comic and film are set in an alternate mid-80's Cold War America, where Richard Nixon is still President, and the world stands on the brink of nuclear conflict.
Superheros - who, in this world, are for the most part costumed vigilantes without any super powers - have been outlawed. The murder of one masked crime-fighter, 'The Comedian' indicates they might also be hunted. When fellow superheros come out of retirement to investigate the murder, they discover a plot that threatens to push a world on the brink of nuclear holocaust over the edge.
As with his previous blockbuster comic adaptation, '300,' director Zack Snyder chose to use the original graphic novel almost as a storyboard and screenplay.
"It's really strange, you know, because when you draw a comic book you run a movie in your head and then you grab the pictures, and when you sit and watch this it's just like that," said Dave Gibbons, the illustrator of the Watchmen comic told Reuters Television. "It crystallises into the pictures and Zack has followed them really, really closely. So yeah, it's very flattering."
Liberal doses of sex and violence have been added to the screen version of the story. One of the fight scenes alone features more compound fractures than any film before it.
Snyder, whose wife, Deborah, co-produced 'Watchmen', said that the record breaking success of '300' played no small part in allowing him to make the film in his own way.
"I think that '300' really helped us to say, okay, look, it can be rated R. It can be something you don't get right away, but but people like it," he explained.
The actors in movie - which doesn't have any major starpower attached to it - said they are aware of the pressure of delivering a movie - not just from the studio, from but those toughest of critics: the original comic book fans.
"You know, very aware of the fact that they questioned everyone from Zack being the director to all of us actors. And we went in wanting to stay as true as we could to the graphic novel and make the best movie we could and it was very much a passion project for all of us involved. We wanted to get it right for Watchmen fans," said Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays The Comedian.
Malin Akerman, who plays the sexy Silk Spectre, said she realised only after making the film how much of a big deal it was for comic fans.
"We went to Comicon (the U.S. annual comic book convention) in San Diego, which was a thrill. I mean we had 6,000 people at our panel and that's when it sort of hit that this could be quite a big cut film and the pressure was on and we all became huge fans, so we were putting our own pressure on ourselves to make it the best we could possibly make it," she recalled.
One person unlikely to be fan of the film is the man who penned the original comic book, writer Alan Moore, who also wrote the cult hit comic 'V for Vendetta'.
"I think Alan's views on Hollywood are quite well known and I'm really sorry he's had a bad time and I'm having a good time and I'm really sorry that he can't share it," said Gibbons of his co-creator.
Snyder didn't want to guess on whether Moore could be convinced to watch the cinema adaptation of his work.
"Look, you know Alan has famously said 'I don't want anything to do with it' and I just try and respect that as much as I can," he said.
Watchmen opens across cinemas in the UK on March 6.
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