Who's watching the Watchmen? Director Zack Snyder hopes YOU are.
In the February/March 2009 issue of Complex, we brought you a "Shotcaller" interview with Watchmen director Zack Snyder (click here to read the article). Like his adaptation of Alan Moore's epic graphic novel, our feature was so deep that we had to edit some of the brilliance out just to make it fit on newsstands.
To see the complete version of the film that Snyder wanted to put out, you'll have to wait for the director's uncut ultimate blowout version of Watchmen on DVD, but you can get all the extras from our interview right now. Read on for Snyder discussing his relationship with Alan Moore, being spoofed and his awesome upcoming projects...
Interview By Justin Monroe
Complex: Sucker Punch, which is on deck, is an original story you wrote. Have you been looking forward to doing something without source material?
Zack Snyder: It's fun. I don't mean to sound weird but I get so immersed in the source material when I'm working on a movie that I kind of lose the line between what I thought of and what was in the book. [Writing something original from scratch], the initial process is way different. But once it exists and you start to actually work on making it real, then the approach is kind of the same, for me anyways.
Complex: How does it feel to have 300 spoofed in Meet the Spartans, one of those horrendous parody films?
Zack Snyder: I think it's pretty funny. You can't get upset about that. If the thing didn't hit pop culture in the knees pretty hard, there'd be no reason to spoof it. My favorite parody of 300 is Robot Chicken's 1776. They nailed it. I saw that and I'm like, "I'm going to make that into a movie!" [Laughs.] I can't wait to see Robot Chicken's Watchmen parody.
Complex: You've respected Watchmen creator Alan Moore's desire to have nothing to do with Hollywood adaptations of his work, but do you secretly hope he calls you one day to say he accidentally saw the film and thinks you did a great job?
Zack Snyder: Do I respect him and think he's amazing? Yes. Do I hold that hope for that? No. That's a pipe dream.
Complex: If he were inclined to view Watchmen, do you think he'd be proud of it?
Zack Snyder: We've tried as hard as we can into keep the ideas intact in the hail storm that is Hollywood, so, whether he is or not, I'm personally proud of what I've been able to jam down their throats.
Complex: Early on, did you make any special gestures to Moore to try to get his blessing?
Zack Snyder: I did not. By the time I came along, that ship had sailed.
Complex: What do you think went wrong with previous adaptations of his work?
Zack Snyder: I don't want to make any assumptions about what's good and bad, but I will say that I tried not to make assumptions about what Alan thinks. I think that's what has been done by a lot of people.
Complex: You're doing Cobalt 60, from artist Vaughn Bode's work. He was big in the graffiti world. Were you into graf growing up?
Zack Snyder: I wasn't, but Vaughn was one of those artists I did follow, and I was aware of his influence in the graffiti world. I can't say I was connoisseur of graffiti art, but I was certainly aware of that influence.
Complex: What attracted you to Cobalt 60 originally?
Zack Snyder: I used to be a huge fan of Heavy Metal magazine growing up, and I was exposed to Cobalt there and fell in love with the character and the world. I've tried to track it down and pursue it myself to make a movie out of it. Also I felt like the thing that's cool about Cobalt is it does have a culty kind of underground quality to it that I really like.
Complex: What made you want to remake Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man?
Zack Snyder: Well, Bradbury's a genius. Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books of all time, and The Illustrated Man as a collection of short stories ranks up there. When you read it you realize how influential it is on so many other stories and people.
Complex: The Illustrated Man's tattoos move on his body and depict future events. How will technological advances in special effects figure in to your portrayal of that?
Zack Snyder: Some of the stuff that we learned with Rorschach [whose mask features constantly changing ink blots] I think will inform a lot of what we do with that because you can do anything almost now.
Complex: Have you decided which stories you'll use?
Zack Snyder: It isn't all of them but it's a lot of them. More than you'd think. We have a couple right now. We've written a few extra and we're probably going to decide how we're going to approach those last few. We have like a few extra so we can so we're not locked in. We can go, "Maybe this will be better."
Complex: How do you maintain the crew's passion when you're working with CGI and green screens?
Zack Snyder: I know, that's hard because it's abstract, so it's hard for them to stay frosty and everything, but we keep a pretty healthy pace. And a lot of the people I work with, I regard as family. In that sense we all have a pretty good time. We're glad to do work.
Complex: What diversion helped get you through the filming of Watchmen?
Zack Snyder: I gotta say the [2007-08] football season. We shot through the football season. The Packers went pretty far and that really was my distraction. I was born in Green Bay, so I'm bit of a Packer fan. Brett Favre has Godlike status at our house. My wife would be like, "Oh my God, are you kidding me? On your only day off, you're going to watch a football game?" And I'm like, "Yes, we are."