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 12:00 AM, 09-NOVEMBER-06
Snyder: Watchmen Remains True

Zack Snyder, who will direct an upcoming film version of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel Watchmen, told SCI FI Wire that Warner Brothers likes his take on the material, which goes back to the source for its inspiration, closely following the original 1985 setting and alternate-history American mileu in which Richard Nixon is still president. That faithfulness to the graphic novel, which has been famously considered unadaptable to film, ironically, provided the key to unlocking the script, Snyder said.

"That was the thing," Snyder said in an interview following a Nov. 8 screening of footage from his other upcoming graphic-novel adaptation, 300, in Hollywood, Calif. "What they tried to do is turn it into a movie. And that's not really how we approached it. ... [Co-writer Alex [Tse] and I were [like], 'What ... [about the] graphic novel do we love? Let's do that!' And I think that when we delivered that version of the script to them, and it was long, of course, ... it's not [a metaphor for the] war on terror, it's not like trying to be, like, bulls--t updated. You know, which gets confusing. And then Adrian [Veidt]'s story gets all, like, lost with that. So ... that was the thing that cracked it: Just going back to the source. Saying, 'OK, why does this work here?' It seemed really obvious. It was weird. ... It's pretty exciting. They're pretty excited."

The studio offered a few notes, but Snyder said that the draft was accepted pretty much as is. "We've shown ... Alex and my official draft to the studio," he said. "And I feel like they're really excited now. They feel like it's a movie, and they get it now, and they're into 1985, and they're into the Cold War and Nixon and all the cool bits. So we're really excited. We're doing another little bit of changes, and then, I mean, knock on wood, we'll get going."

One element that Snyder introduces is a title montage sequence that will walk the audience through recent decades of the alternate-history United States, starting with the Kennedy assassination and Vietnam War and taking viewers to the current day, which is 1985.

Snyder added that he was in a private airport during his travels recently and came across the real Henry Kissinger, who was traveling with his own entourage. Snyder said that he attempted to approach Kissinger to ask him to play himself in the film, but was blocked by Kissinger's wife from speaking with the former secretary of state.

Written from 1986 to '87, Watchmen is set in 1985 in an alternate-history United States in which superheroes, called "costumed adventurers," exist, the Cold War is threatening to turn into a nuclear conflagration, Nixon is president, and the heroes have been outlawed. When one of their number is mysteriously murdered, the others spring into action. The Hugo-Award-winning graphic novel, by Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons, is considered a landmark in comics and a heavy influence on films, books and comics since. Patrick Lee, News Editor


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Medium 1.6
Smallville 1.4
Supernatural 1.1

Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 8/6/07 - 8/12/07. Fewer than 10 listings appear because fewer than 10 regular original SF&F; shows appeared on broadcast networks during the time period.