Thank Your Deity Of Choice That Terry Gilliam’s WATCHMEN Movie Was Scrapped
Alan Moore set out to make his seminal work, Watchmen, unfilmable when he was writing it. That was in the late 1980s when technology wasn’t advanced enough and Dr. Manhattan would have been nothing more than a naked guy painted blue if a film was made. Movie making technology evolves at an exponential rate every year, and a lot of things Moore and artist Dave Gibbons presented in their story was able to be translated to film (as much as Moore hated it) less than a decade later. The first person to attempt to turn the influential series into a movie was director Terry Gilliam. He got the ball rolling in 1989 but failed, then he took another shot in 1996. The former Monty Python member and director of films like Brazil and 12 Monkeys got pretty close to pulling it off before it was scrapped and eventually realized by Zack Snyder in 2009. In a recent interview with Gilliam‘s then Watchmen producer Joel Silver, it turns out Gilliam finding the movie to be unfilmable was a blessing in disguise.
SuperHeroHype caught up with Silver on the red carpet of his new film Non-Stop. They chatted about a few things, but they were able to get a question in about Watchmen. Silver told the site that Zack Snyder came in and was “too much of a slave to the material” whereas they weren’t in their attempts. Gilliam had Batman writer Sam Hamm and Brazil co-writer Charles McKeowan come in and do a draft. Silver describes what that version would have looked like:
What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from “Watchmen” only became characters in a comic book.’
So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, “Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.” It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.
Snyder followed the comic almost to the letter for the most part, but people were still angry he left out the giant space squid at the end. Can you imagine what the response would have been like if Gilliam‘s meta/incredibly loose adaptation had been made? Alan Moore says he never watches movies based on his work, but I’d bet even he would have had something to say about this take. Zack Snyder is a divisive filmmaker, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to give him a big round of applause on Watchmen and remaining faithful to the source. Watchmen did OK at the box office and was well received by fans and most critics, though it wasn’t a huge success. Gilliam‘s version is one of those fun ‘what if‘ stories that so often happens with comic book movies. What do you think about Silver‘s comments?
Source : SuperHeroHype