Exclusive: Zack Snyder talks Watchmen

The film adaptation is ready to go

A few days ago Empire sat down with director Zack Snyder who, despite exhaustion from putting the final touches on Spartan epic 300 (watch the trailer for that here), found just enough energy to fill us in on the latest goings on with Watchmen. An adaptation has been long in the works for the Alan Moore comic book set in the mid-80s when superheroes are outlawed and now, at last, it seems things are progressing well.

“We’re getting ready to turn a script that we like into this studio,” says Snyder. “They’re pretty excited about it…I think the script that Alex (Tse) has done for us is the closest to the graphic novel it’s been [since development started], for better or for worse. I feel like Alex has done an awesome job. It’s keeping all the things that are cool about the comic”. And despite widespread assumptions, Snyder isn’t planning to update it from its Cold War setting to the present day, despite both eras sharing a political unrest.

“1985’s a problem for people,” he continues. “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”.

Though Snyder’s adopted a heavily stylised, uber-true to the comic look for 300, he doesn’t plan to use any kind of similar blue screen technique for Watchmen. “There are places like Mars and Antarctica [which will need to be blue screen] and then there are certain places where you need to feel the reality…If you look at Sin City, a blue screen city, that’s kind of wrong for Watchmen…There are so many easter eggs in the frames (of the comic) so you want that level of detail in the movie itself. Even though it’s going to be harder to do…I did Dawn of the Dead and now I’ve done 300 and I feel like it’s a combination of the two. I feel like I know how to do it”.

Finally, though the script is almost ready, Snyder insists it’s too early for casting, despite numerous internet speculation (Paddy Considine for Rorschach! – sorry, it’s a habit). “I honestly don’t have anyone at all yet. But there are a lot of people interested. No-one’s seen the script, although I know there are people I could sign up without one”. Adds his producer, and wife, Deborah Snyder: “We’ve been getting a lot of calls since Comic Con…all the people who have clients who are fans of the Watchmen are like ‘Hey, just remember we’re here’".