- Cast: Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie, Matt , Laura Mennell, Danny Woodburn, Carrie Genzel, Salli Saffioti, Niall Matter, Dan Payne, Brett Stimely, Chris Gauthier, Leah Gibson, Apollonia Vanova, Darryl ScheelarvJay Brazeau, Greg Travis, Jerry Wasserman, Sonya Salomaa, Darren Shahlavi, Matthew Harrison, Tyler McClendon
- Director: Zack Snyder
- Writers: David Hayter, Alex Tse
- Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder
- Co Producer: Wesley Coller
- Executive Producers: Herb Gains, Thomas Tull
- Art Directions: François Audouy, Helen Jarvis, James Steuart
- Casting: Kristy Carlson
- Costume Design: Michael Wilkinson
- D.O.P.: Larry Fong
- Editor: William Hoy
- Music: Tyler Bates
- Production Design: Alex McDowell
A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, "Watchmen" is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the "Doomsday Clock" - which charts the USA's tension with the Soviet Union - is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion - a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers - Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity...but who is watching the Watchmen?
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Vancouver, Canada
- MPAA Warning: Graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language
- Production Budget: $100 million
- Production Companies: Warner Bros. Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lawrence Gordon Productions, DC Comics
- Production Schedule: 17 September 2007 - 31 December 2007
During early development in the early 1990s, mainly focused around the screenplay by Sam Hamm, early casting rumors included Robin Williams as Rorschach, Jamie Lee Curtis as Silk Spectre, Gary Busey as the Comedian, and both Richard Gere and Kevin Costner considered for the role of NiteOwl. The project underwent numerous rewrites under director Terry Gilliam and his collaborator Charles McKeown, but got eventually shelved by Warner Bros.
Darren Aronofsky was going to direct the film but dropped out after scheduling conflicts with The Fountain (2006).
In 2004, Paul Greengrass was attached as a director, a script was written and conceptual work had begun when Paramount suddenly decided to put the movie on hold for the time being. A short time after that Greengrass left the project to work on the movie United 93 (2006) instead. After being put into turnaround, the rights were reacquired by Warners in 2006.
The first official image from director Zack Snyder - a test shot of Rorshach holding The Comedian's button - was actually hidden in a trailer for Snyder's previous film, 300 (2006). It features that film's associate producer, Wesley Coller, wearing a makeshift mask in front of a composite New York backdrop, and was created as an experiment by Snyder to establish the mood and look of his proposed Watchmen project. Snyder's wife, Deborah Snyder, bet him $100 that no one would discover it, while he was convinced that someone would find it almost immediately. He won.
Doug Hutchison had expressed interest in playing the role of Rorschach. An online campaign attracted a great deal of support for this casting choice and approaches were made to the studio by his agents in this regard, resulting in the casting director giving the actor an audition, which was put on tape for director Zack Snyder's consideration.
Alan Moore, writer of the original comic book was asked to write a script back in the late 1980s, but declined. The studio then enlisted in the aid of Sam Hamm.
Producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin tried hard to get Ron Perlman green-lighted to play The Comedian.
Sam Hamm wrote an unused screenplay.
Terry Gilliam considered directing this film as early as 1989, but after several unsatisfactory drafts of the screenplay, decided the material unfilmable as a feature production. Gilliam had said he would consider directing it as a five hour miniseries at least.
Both Tom Cruise and Jude Law expressed interest in the role of Ozymandias.
Simon Pegg met with the producers to discuss the role of Rorschach when Paul Greengrass was attached to direct at Paramount, but nothing was agreed for certain before that project went into turnaround.
Zack Snyder based his storyboards for the film on the panels of the actual graphic novel. He has stated that in order to be true to the source when adapting a graphic novel to the screen, the original visual art should be respected as much as the written portion.
Zack Snyder personally asked Dave Gibbons, the artist who drew the original graphic novel, to design the first teaser poster for the film. Gibbons enthusiastically agreed and designed the poster to have subtle visual clues hinting at the film's plot.
Though author Alan Moore preemptively disowned all filmed adaptations of his work, Zack Snyder has said that his ultimate hope is that someday Moore will actually see the film and feel that it is a decent representation of the original graphic novel.
When asked in an interview with ReelzChannel.com about original 'Watchmen' writer Alan Moore's dismissal of his movie, Snyder was quoted as saying "Worst case scenario - Alan puts the movie on his DVD player on a cold Sunday in London and watches and says, 'Yeah, that doesn't suck too bad.'" When this was brought up with Moore himself in a later interview in the British Tripwire comics fanzine, the writer commented "That's the worst case scenario? I think he's underestimated what the worst case scenario would be... that's never going to happen in my DVD player in 'London' [Moore very famously lives in Northampton]. I'm never going to watch this fucking thing."
The rights to produce this movie were acquired in a deal that originally also included adaptation rights to V for Vendetta (2005), also authored by Alan Moore. "Vendetta"-producer Joel Silver was also going to produce this one when Terry Gilliam was still attached as a director.
Warner Bros. initially considered Darren Aronofsky to direct. Aronofsky did express interest in the project, but found the original story dated. Specifically, the director planned to update the story to the contemporary era and replace the Vietnam War references with those of Iraq and terrorism. Uncomfortable with the direction Aronofsky wanted to take, Warner Bros. hired Zack Snyder who had just directed a highly-faithful adaptation of 300 (2006) to great acclaim.
At one point John Cusack was rumored to play Nite Owl/Dan Drieberg and Sigourney Weaver was rumored to play the original Silk Spectre/Sally Jupiter.
When Paul Greengrass was set to direct, he planned to cast Hilary Swank as Silk Spectre and Joaquin Phoenix as Nite Owl. When Greengrass left the project, Swank and Phoenix did as well.
Nathan Fillion was considered for the roles of The Comedian and Nite Owl.
Jessica Biel was considered for a role, but passed.
The choral and organ music used in the first trailers is the cue 'The Grid' from Godfrey Reggio's film 'Koyaanisqatsi (1982)', composed by Philip Glass.
Carla Gugino and Malin Akerman play mother and daughter in this film. They have also played love interests of Ben Stiller. Gugino played Rebecca Hutman in Night at the Museum (2006) and Akerman played Lila in The Heartbreak Kid (2007).