Exclusive: Which Studio Is Watching Watchmen?
Back from the dead and looking for new blood.
FilmForce has confirmed that the long-in-development feature film version of Watchmen is not quite as dead as fans feared after Paramount put it into turnaround last summer, just months before it was slated to film.
Good news first. Producers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon have officially set up Watchmen at Warner Bros. (Entertainment Weekly reported a few months back that Gordon and Levin were in talks with Warners.) This studio makes sense as it belongs to the Time Warner empire, as does Watchmen's comic book publisher, DC Comics. Warners has revitalized the comic book movie genre with its gritty, A-list Batman Begins and looks to stay the course with next year's Superman Returns and V for Vendetta.
Like Vendetta, Watchmen is based on a work by lauded comics scribe Alan Moore. With the buzz beginning to turn positive for Vendetta, Warners is understood to want to have another Moore property on-hand should Vendetta prove a success.
Now for the not so good news. Politically charged filmmaker Paul Greengrass no longer appears attached to direct Watchmen, which is a shame considering how well he understood and respected the material. Furthermore, David Hayter's script also appears to have been set aside; Watchmen is now considered an open writing assigment, which means the development process begins anew. Hayter's screenplay adaptation was widely praised online (including by myself) for its fidelity to the complex source material.
IGN FilmForce contacted Mr. Hayter, who was surprisingly candid about these recent developments. "I believe that Paul's schedule dictated that he move on after Paramount was unable to meet their commitment to make the film on the previously set timetable, though I am not certain whether Warners still has Paul in mind for a later date, or if they are just starting again with a new director.
"As for the script going up as an open writing assignment, I have not heard that definitively, but it wouldn't particularly surprise me," Hayter advised IGN. "I would, of course, be disappointed, and do not personally feel that this is a necessary step, as the screenplay is pretty perfect as it is. However, the same concerns raised at other studios have been raised at the WB ( i.e., too complex, too dark, too many characters) and after five years of work on this project, I am no longer willing to continue messing with material that I have meticulously developed for the past half a decade just to please another timid studio. I believe that Watchmen must be embraced wholly for what it is – a complex, hyper-intelligent epic – rather than turned into something simpler for studio comfort. In the latter case, it should not be made at all.
"If another writer wants to undertake that route, then I wish them the best, and fervently hope the film is not ruined as a result. As a fan, I did not revive interest in this project only to see it go the way of Daredevil. That said, I know that both Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin's integrity and belief in this project is solid, and I wish them all the success in the world."
Ultimately, said Hayter, "Nobody wants to see Watchmen done right more than myself."
I sure hope this is good!! I would love to love this (yeech) Michael Bay project.
HNR can now confirm that Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Rock) is set to roll into town to shoot his next mega flick, the live action version of Transformers! Set construction in North Vancouver is set to begin in February 2006 with a Spring start tipped.
Sorry Frank, the first one charmed us with creative style, you can't recreate the first time. Stop after Sin City 2. Please!
Writer/Director is insane!
We talked to Frank Miller recently and he told us a little about the development of Sin City 2, due out August 18 next year. Here's what he had to say:
"I'm finishing the script right now for Sin City 2 – I can't wait to get back behind the camera. If I have my way, there's going to be five [films] – but that's if I have my way! Five would take care of all the graphic novels – but there's new material that I'm writing for the second one. There'll probably also be a separate graphic novel that I'll do. It's a Nancy Callahan story that I've been wanting to do."
And on a Holiday Note...
Hollywood Holiday Cards:
Brett Ratner's X-Mas
Yes, this latest installment in our Hollywood Holiday Cards feature is a little blurry, but no amount of rubbing your eyes will change what you're seeing: Brett Ratner, the famed fauxteur currently shooting the latest X-Men project, dressed as some kind of mini-Wolverine at the center of his cast of mutants. (Click the image for a larger version.) At first, we thought that Ratner had wastefully demanded that his wardrobe department make him his own "Wolverstein" (the name of his character as revealed on the inside of the card) costume, conjuring images of the leather-clad director nearly beheading his DP with his claws while trying to demonstrate a needlessly showy camera move. But then we noticed how bunchy the legs of his pants seem around the ankles and figured he's just playing dress-up in Hugh Jackman's clothes, hopefully sparing the cast and crew unnecessary lacerations by their excitable director.
The inside of the card is after the jump: