The film adaptation of “Watchmen,” one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time, is set to hit the big screen on March 6 with high hopes set by longtime fans. And there’s a quality bar set even higher by director Zack Snyder’s (“300”) painstaking attention to detail.
Access Hollywood’s Dish of Salt, Laura Saltman (a “Watchmen” novice) and Scott “Movie” Mantz (a true fanboy) sat down with the cast of the highly anticipated film adaptation of Alan Moore’s groundbreaking 1986 graphic novel on Wednesday and talked about the source material’s influence on the movie.
Jackie Earle Hayley, who plays the masked, gravel-voiced anti-hero Rorschach in the film, weighed in on the graphic novel’s huge impact when it was first released in 1986 in twelve monthly installments.
“It changed the way people looked at comics. It changed the way people write comics,” he said. “That’s the first graphic novel that I read, and I was under the assumption that graphic novels and comics were kind of child fare. Man, that’s a work of literature, you know.”
“It is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to the comic book world for sure,” agreed Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays The Comedian, and whose murder at the outset of the story becomes the central mystery to be solved by his since-retired former fellow superheroes.
“I remember I read it and I put on a pot of coffee. I shook my head, I mean I was just like, ‘What did I just read?’” Jeffrey recalled.
“And I read it three more times before my meeting the next day,” he added.
The dense and groundbreaking storyline of “Watchmen” is, in part, a reason why it has endured in fans’ hearts for so long.
“I think the point is you’re taking every cliche and everything that usually works in a comic book movie or in a comic book, and turning it upside down,” said Patrick Wilson, who plays the Nite Owl, a former superhero filled with middle-age inner doubt and conflict. “That’s sort of the goal.”
Matthew Goode, who plays Adrian Veidt, also known as the Alexander the Great-influenced superhero Ozymandias, added, “I suppose it starts to reach a point where people who’ve grown up with the superhero thing are now grown up. And they want grown up stuff.”
“I think it was great that ‘Dark Knight’ came out and did what it did. I think ‘Watchmen’ is going to take all those adjectives to a whole other level. I have a hard time still kind of saying this is a super hero movie,” Jeffrey said.
Hollywood’s recent fascination with costumed characters has saturated the market — but with its subversive story, “Watchmen” won’t be confused with its contemporaries.
“We’ve seen so many movies now, and so many great comic book movies. It’s nice to have one that can maybe jerk it around a little bit and open new doors. That’s the exciting thing,” Patrick said.
Regarding the question of whether ‘Watchmen’ could be translated properly to the silver screen, Jeffery stands firmly behind his director.
“I think Zack took this unfilmable book and knocked it out of the park,” he said.
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