View Full Version : Hayter to RUIN "Watchmen" on film

11-21-2001, 02:01 PM
Many of you have probably seen the thread I started about the figures based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' incredible 80's comic series "Watchmen". Sith Worm himself was just recently blessed with the loan of one of my copies of the trade paperback.

If you are unfamiliar with Watchmen, it is simply put, the single best work of "super hero" fiction EVER! Nothing yet has done more to elevate the genre or to lend a logical, human air to the whole concept of costumed crime fighters.

Now David Hayter, the man who sucessfully proved that a super-hero group movie can be done well, is poised to ruin Watchmen. Universal Pictures is the current license holder and has tapped Hayter to pen the script and may even let him direct. Despite his success on X-Men, I fear that he simply does not understand Watchmen or what it tried to do. He is going to yank it down from the lofty heights of literature to the abyssal depths of cheap pulp fantasy. The single greatest indicator is that Hayter himself appears to be refering to the project as "The Watchmen". A common misconception is that "Watchmen", the title of the comic series, is the name of the super hero group chronicled within. Unique to comics, Watchmen was a title for the full story, nothing more. There NEVER was a group called "The Watchmen" at any point in the story. Sam Hamm, co-writer of the first Batman film was said to have penned a script back in the 90s for Watchmen when 20th Century Fox owned the option. I read one portion of that script and the heroes there were unceremoniously referred to as "The Watchmen". History repeats itself.
It may be too early to tell, but judging from the Yahoo News story I just read, my fears are rather founded. That and a two hour film could never come close to doing justice to the twelve intense issues that made up the comic series. Thoughts from fans of the series?

11-21-2001, 02:43 PM
If there was ever a comic book that did not need to be brought over to film, it is Watchmen.

Personally, I think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the greatest thing that Moore wrote, and that Dark Knight Returns is the single best comic ever, but that debate is for another time.

I don't know how this ever got the green light to be made into a movie from DC. Alan Moore, although he doesn't own his creation, has been pretty vocal about what he doesn't want done with the book, and for the most part DC has listened. They didn't go forth with the 15th anniversary because Moore didn't want it. Same with the figures.

I wouldn't be surprised if the movie is only simalar to the book in name and characters alone, if the movie even gets made. The fact that they refer to the "group" as "the Watchmen" means there is an actual TEAM in the movie. There was never a group of the characters together except in flashbacks and the very end, when it was a group of 3, which hardly constitutes a team.

Good lord, first Ben Affleck cast as DD, now this.

11-21-2001, 08:40 PM
Ironically, Watchmen was optioned by 20th Century Fox almost 15 years ago, so the question of DC giving the go ahead for a film version is something of a moot point. You see, Batman had shown tremendous box office success and comic properies were selling like crazy. Then everyone stopped developing them. With X-Men, the trend has begun anew, at least this time with some action on the part of studios. It appears to be for the best, technology has caught up with the super-hero genre.
However, all indicators point to a group, The Watchmen, and their struggle with the mysterious murder of two of thier number. It appears that Hayter didn't even read the source material, just thought, "Hey, these guys would make a great super hero team! For fun!".
I feel about the prospect of this movie about like Sith Worm did about what he foresaw as far reaching license in adapting the Lord of the Rings saga to the silver screen. Funny you should mention "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Wolf. That too has been optioned for film. That, at least, could make a two hour film with minimal sacrifices. Back in the day, even "V for Vendetta", another Moore masterwork was optioned. I always thought William Hurt would be perfect for V. Think about it, you never see his face, and that wonderful, gravelly, British voice would be perfect from behind the Guy Fawkes mask. As for Watchmen (or The Watchmen), you can rest assured that Dr. Manhatten will be compromised in his natural progression. No audience will sit for that on screen in this country! The Comedian will undoubtedly be toned down to a shadow of his former self (though I have always thought that Robert DeNiro would be the best casting choice for Blake/Comedian - just check out his role in Brazil and you will understand why). Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre's costumes will all be ruined by the costume designer who will undoubtedly seek an "original" look. And Rorschach's role will also be downplayed. It will be little more than a farce of a great work. Not to be bitter about things...

11-21-2001, 09:32 PM
They'd probably market it to kids too. With little action figures and sleeping bags...everyone is a good guy, "vs. the EVIL Ozymandias, a billionare industrialist with plans to take over the world!"

The only way a film of watchmen could ever be tolerable is if it was almost a direct translation from the book to the screen.

I can see a movie based on "League" though. Only it wouldn't be a superhero movie, it'd be more like the From Hell movie, which by the way is one of the best movies based on a comic I've ever seen.

11-28-2001, 08:46 PM
Given Hollywood's current skittishness after the Sep 11 tragedy, I would think they would definitely shy away from this one. Anyone who has read the series will know what scenes I'm talking about. And to have it end like it does? It just goes to show that nobody involved with the movie has even read the books, they just wanted a super-hero liscense to cash-in with.

11-28-2001, 10:07 PM
Yeah, since this thread was started I went back and read the series again, there is no way that the movie will have anything to do with the actual book, except by name alone.

Although, this movie might not even be made too. Ever since Batman was released in '89, there have been comic projects that are said to be "in development" but never get made. (Or get made and never released, a.k.a. Fantastic Four:crazed: )

If you think of all the movie projects that are said to be in development, maybe 1/4 will actually get made.

Going back to Watchmen however, very few comic properties get released with an "R" rating for marketing reasons. Watchmen is definately an "R" story. Just goes to show how Hollywood treats the comic medium.

12-04-2001, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by Wolfwood319
Although, this movie might not even be made too. Ever since Batman was released in '89, there have been comic projects that are said to be "in development" but never get made. (Or get made and never released, a.k.a. Fantastic Four:crazed: )

If you think of all the movie projects that are said to be in development, maybe 1/4 will actually get made.

You make a good point about comic projects in Hollywood since '89. 1989-about 1999. However, you neglect to take into account that film craft has finally caught up to the comics. After Batman, comic properties were like spun gold, everyone wanted to buy in while they could. The real problem was that prior to the huge advances in CGI, ushered in by such films as, but not exclusively, Jurassic Park, there was no good way to bring these films to life (without seeming like a glorified version of shows like The Incredible Hulk.
You might say that X-Men revived said interest in comic book properties. Especially in light of the fact that with CGI technology, you can really do a comic book character right! The biggest stumbling block today is in the screenplay department, and getting studio heads to butt out of the process. But then both of those have ALWAYS been problematic. Take the ill-fated movie, The Punisher (with, I believe Dolf Lundren in the title role). That character was riding the crest of a wave of popularity when the movie was made. Yet where was the big P's trademark costume?! According to an interview I read with the director (who's name escapes me), he felt that using the Punisher's costume would make the movie, "too much like a comic". Correct me if I'm wrong here, kids, but isn't that what COMIC fans want to see?! I've never felt like taking on the brutal task of a screening of this comic based nightmare, but it undoubtedly has a lacklustre script and bears only the slightest resemblence to the source material.
As for the fate of the Fantastic Four, thereby hangs a tale. At the height of the comic book license buying spree of the late 80's and early 90's, I believe it was Roger Corman who still held the tail end of his license on that property. The license was due to lapse in very short order, so it came down to make a film or have nothing to show for the film rights. Basicly the film was ordered on a "I don't want it good, I want it Thursday" basis. And that is exactly what they got. I have had the misfortune of screening most of this utter stink bomb and I am pleased that a major studio now has the rights.
It will be interesting to see how many of thes films actually do get made, but I think that in this day and age, given the box office might of X-Men, and the projected success of Spider-Man, you can expect a ratio of 3:1 on films hitting the theatre vs. films hitting the skids. (as opposed to the 1:12 ratio of the 90's). Only time will tell, but I am optimistic. The SFX tech is just going to get better and you will one day believe a man can stretch, or ghost can ride a flaming chopper, or...

Sith Worm
12-04-2001, 08:14 PM
I would like to take this moment to thank Cole for lending me this great book. I am only through the first two issues and i believe that it may very well be the best I have read. Once owning over 3,000 comics (i know this is A small number to some, but alot of comics still) and have read eveyone I have ever purchased. Nothing is half done their is not much action (yet) and I can't put it down great book so far. Last year Cole wrote and self- published a comic called "genre" it had three or four stories he, wife, and, friend wrote. I was blessed with the task of bringing his vison of the "Horror Show" to life. We started and got the group together in Aug. and had it out in Oct. we spent many A night drawing and perfecting the stories over the time period of A month and a half. When the finished product came out it was A pretty cool moment to me, but for Cole it was an acomplishment he had be trying to get done for years. He had done another book with another group, but wasn't really happy with it and finally we made his book in the forword he writes about how he wanted to make this book because of the lack of good reading comics, that the industry was falling to crap (which it was and is) because of art driven books. (Image) I never really thought about it much (being an artsit and loving the art) until I have begun to read Watchmen (not "The Watchmen") I prasie Cole's comments and understand his passion he has for the stories and art. I think that maybe this book should be left alone and not made into A movie at all, for the lack of being able to made correctly...

12-05-2001, 03:01 PM
I am anxious for Sith Worm, my young apprentice, to finish reading Watchmen. An effort I do not intend to rush, due to the comics rich story and art, but I have to keep biting my tongue to avoid spoilers.

I also wish to thank SW for his impassioned words on last years comic effort, "Genre". I am reminded of George Lucas' words about the Special Editions of the Star Wars saga, of films "not being finished, just abandoned". Though I feel he should have left some aspects "abandoned", I know only too well the feeling. We produced "Genre" on a very tight schedule, about 30 days from initial concept to finished work. To this day I do not know how we did it, it seems impossible. The lead story, "The Horror Show", which SW illustrated, is slowly becoming my project of choice and I feel it has been too long abandoned. I gave myself a mere seven pages to introduce an epic tale. This did not do the story or its facinating characters justice, and almost immediatly talks of giving this story its own comic began. Sith Worm will be pleased to know that between Christmas and New Years I am planning another "bullpen" party for the "Genre" creators to discuss "Genre #2" and "The Horror Show #1", which will feature an expanded remaking of the initial issue with added material to further enrich the characters and introduce a few of the lead plot lines. And ultimatly give SW the opportunity to put his considerable talents to work again, bringing my vision to life.

Sith Worm
12-13-2001, 02:58 PM
Alrighty finshed the book and all I have to say is "Nothing ever ends." This is truely in my opinion the greatest comic ever and there is no way in hell it can be justified in one movie leave it alone is what I say...

12-13-2001, 09:17 PM
If you really liked Watchmen, I suggest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman Dark Knight Returns, and Top 10. I think you might enjoy these sophisticated titles as well. Almost everything by Alan Moore and Frank Miller are superb, anything Jeph Loeb does with Tim Sale is also quite incredible as well.

Sith Worm
12-14-2001, 11:47 PM
Odd that you mention Top 10 Wolf! JediCole has just told me about this book and thats gonna be my next read. That or Miracle Man another story by Moore that comes highly rated by the Cole misser...

12-15-2001, 08:18 AM
I can't believe I forgot Miracle Man! That and Moore's run on Swamp Thing are also outstanding.

Sith Worm
12-15-2001, 02:45 PM
O.K. this is kinda creepy now Cole and I had about an hour long talk about Moore's run in ST just the other day! Boy you would fit in good around here...

12-15-2001, 11:27 PM
I just watched the recently released "From Hell" and I must say, it was pretty decent. One of the better comic-property offerings I've seen in a while.

Although this does not change my opinion, I still believe Watchmen should not be made into a movie at all.

One problem I noticed with a lot of comic-property movies being made now is the lack of respect to the source material. If filmmakers followed most of the books more closely, I think there'd be a lot better comic-based movies out there.

Sith Worm
12-20-2001, 01:13 AM
Yeah like Spider-man, has anyone seen the Green Goblin? Besides the fact that he is green and has A glider he looks nothing like himself I think they should have gone with the original costum! I mean they didn't change Spidey's why change GG?...

12-20-2001, 04:59 PM
The reason for Goblin's make-over may well be story-driven. Since I have (thankfully) not been bombarded with spoilers for that film, it is too early to say for sure. That they gave the character a face-lift is not as bad as giving it a character-lift. The helmet for the GG armor does look reminiscent of the mask from the comics, though more stylized. It reflects a nod at least to the source material. Far better than, for example, Green Goblin being the name of a terrible computer virus started by nefarious hacker Norman Osborne! Trust me, this sort of thing is conventional wisdom for screenwriters who "adapt" comics to the screen. Sure it is not identical, but at least an effort was made to remain true.

As for Miracle Man, Sith Worm, if we get to go out to see Fellowship on Friday I'll give you Book 1 to start you off.