We’re all now well-aware of all the absurdities that went on between Fox and Warner Brothers in their Watchmen lawsuit — Fox sued for rights they didn’t have but sorta had even though it was cheap; they went back and forth until Fox was dubbed as legally having the rights (technicality); then they figured out a way to settle their differences out of court and move forward with their lives (WB gave Fox a bunch of free money that they didn’t deserve). We all are also very much aware of the mad genius that is Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore and his unshakable refusal to have anything to do with a feature movie being made from his legendary graphic novel.
So… what if on March 6, 2009 when Watchmen is finally released to us, a giant black hole opened up and some evil parallel universe over-took our own where Fox was actually releasing the movie, and Alan Moore was as giddy about the movie as The Jonas Brothers after being asked to play the Playboy mansion. Oh, yeah, and he was clean shaven and well-groomed, too! Spooky, eh?
Well, back in October, The Moviefile Blog ran a little piece which looked back at an interview with Alan Moore by Comics Interview Magazine where he completely endorsed the movie and had faith in its production team.
Below is the most mind-numbing excerpt from the interview. Keep in mind that this is 1987.
I have got as much confidence as it is possible to have in the people who are handling the Watchmen film. Sam Hamm is an excellent screenwriter, he’s been signed to write the Watchmen film. I think that it’s got, therefore, as good a chance as any of being a good film [snip]
Darrel: I hadn’t known there was a film in the works.
Alan: Yeah, 20th Century Fox have optioned Watchmen as a film. The producers are Joel Silver and Larry Gordon, who were the producers of 48 Hours. [snip] I’ve spoken to Joel Silver, he seems very enthusiastic and has a good track record of getting films actually made. That said, of course, we’ve been hearing about Silver Surfer and X-Men films for the past 200 years to my certain knowledge. (Laughter.) Whether the film is actually made or not is completely in the air, and how it turns out is beyond my control. But, you know, they’ve got Sam Hamm as writer of it, who is a very good, promising, new screenwriter, and has also got a good background and interest in comics and is the screenwriter, I believe, upon [sic] the new Batman film, as well. [snip] I’ve spoken to Sam, I went out to lunch with him — he came to Northampton and had lunch with me — and I’ve got complete faith in him. I believe that he will try his best to make the film as faithful to the experience of reading Watchmen as he can. I believe he’s got a lot of respect for the material, and that’s all that I can ask for, really, and I’m prepared to sort of stand by what he does.
And who is this Sam Hamm that was to create such an amazing script? Well, this is where it gets OH, so good. If you go to Watchmen Comic Movie you can download and read his full 1989 script, as well as the 2003 script by David Hayter and the 2006 script by Alex Tse. Hayter and Tse eventually teamed up to write the script that was used for the movie, with an uncredited rewrite-polish by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
If you can’t stomach reading the entire script, I understand, but I seriously recommend at least going and reading the first 7-10 pages and really taking in the opening sequence. It’s amazing.
If you can’t even stomach that, I’ll sum it up for you the best I can.
Basically, some terrorists have taken 40 hostages inside the Statue of Liberty and they’re negotiating with S.W.A.T. when suddenly, the Owl Ship shows up with Rorschach, Captain Metropolis (Ozy), and Nite Owl and they go and scramble communications. Then The Comedian comes out of the water, removes his scuba gear, puts his smiley pin on and goes in, shoots a janitor hostage they’re using as a threat and says “The joke’s on you.” No, I’m not making this up. Silk Spectre shows up a little later in her super-skimpy costume and the gang goes about messily taking care of business. Eventually Ozymandias flash-blinds all of the terrorists AND hostages (but he’s OK because he has awesome shades on) and the day is saved. BUT there’s still a bomb in Lady Liberty and the Watchmen struggle to escape before the massive explosion. After the bang bang, a giant Dr. Manhattan shows up and Comedian calls him an asshole.
Only going and reading this script will give you a real idea of what was going on there, but you get the picture. Also included was an ending that involved Ozy actually going back to destroy Osterman before he was Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach saying things like “Two things I hate: street mimes… users of recreational drugs.” NO, I am not making this up, I swear.
You can click HERE to open this little ditty and enjoy it all. I certainly plan on reading the whole thing and dreaming of what might have been in what’s sure to be a giggle-laced hour or so.
To summarize: every single thing that has happened to delay Watchmen this long has been SO incredibly worth it. Alan Moore, you KNOW you’re thrilled it’s gone this way, too.
Here’s a reminder of Mr. Moore’s reasons for hating movies:
They take an idea, bowdlerize it, blow it up, make it infantile and spend $100 million to give people a brief escape from their boring and often demeaning lives at work. It’s obscene and it’s offensive. This is not the culture I signed up for.
Amen, brother. If only Sam Hamm’s treatment would have gotten done like it should have.