As the release date for the much-anticipated Watchmen movie draws near, the marketing machine behind the film is starting to turn its gears, hoping to lure those moviegoers not familiar with Alan Moore's groundbreaking graphic novel into theaters next Spring.
Of course, in order to promote the film adaptation of a hallowed comic book like Watchmen, the filmmakers have to first win the approval of fanboys. To further that end, the Watchmen movie official website scored an exclusive interview with Watchmen illustrator and co-creator, artist Dave Gibbons.
The interview is being done in three installments, with Dave Gibbons responding to fan-generated questions. We here at Screen Rant have shaved Part 1 of the interview down into nifty little cliff notes for your quick-reading pleasure:
Watchmen Comic Movie: Watchmen has been keeping you pretty busy these days. How much of your week is dedicated to interviews and appearances related to the film adaptation and your new book Watching the Watchmen? Do you even have time to create comics anymore?
Dave Gibbons: ...I am involved in reviewing various materials that are being produced in connection with the Watchmen movie...the motion comics...video games, new editions of the book, sculptures...I’m off in a few weeks to do a mini-tour with Zack to publicize the movie. I’m then doing a mini-tour of the UK to publicize the Watching the Watchmen book and a similar mini-tour of the US to do the same...I’ve also done pieces of licensing art, to get the definitive look of the movie characters...It’s often the case that this kind of work is done by people who aren’t connected with the original property, with the inevitable lack of authenticity and so on...hopefully my approach to it will filter through to the final products and they will be, to that degree, much more faithful to the original graphic novel.
As for creating comics, I actually wrote a script the other day — first script I’ve written in a few months — for Hellblazer, funnily enough...but yes, you’re quite right — Watchmen is keeping me pretty busy. But...it does make a change, being on the side that gets to say what it likes or doesn’t like about a piece of artwork, rather than being the guy who’s submitting the artwork and waiting for the feedback.
You’ve been involved with the development of the Watchmen film while Alan Moore, who co-created the comic series with you and is a close friend of yours, wants nothing to do with it. How do you walk the line between staying friends with Alan and being an active and vocal promoter of the film?
Dave Gibbons: First of all, I’d have to say that I don’t necessarily see that there is a conflict between staying friends with Alan and being an active and vocal promoter for the film...Alan has had some bad experiences with Hollywood. He’s also had some less-than-happy experiences with DC. He’s decided that he doesn’t want anything to do with movie adaptations of his work...When he first heard that [Watchmen] was going to be a movie, [he signed] a piece of paper which removed his name from the movie and [gave] his share of the income from the movie to me...Obviously, Alan made this decision before he really knew anything at all about the movie and it was long before shooting started,...it’s not as a reaction to this production.
I’ve had no real prior experience with Hollywood...so far, my experience is very, very good. I’m being very well-treated, my input is being sought, and I did feel that I’m able to have a positive effect on what’s being done with the movie and everything to do with it.
Alan doesn’t have a problem with me doing that...when I was doing my Watching the Watchmen book, I did ask him a few questions...he didn’t have a problem with that. But at a later stage, he said to me during one of our phone conversations...that he didn’t want to have any further conversations with me about Watchmen.
And that’s fine. If that’s what he wants, I’m happy not to talk to him about Watchmen at all. The last thing in the world that I want to do is to upset Alan. If he’s happy with that state of affairs, then that’s absolutely fine with me.
Now, I am an active and vocal promoter of the film, because...[Director Zack Snyder] through all the other people working on the movie...[are] totally committed to this...If at any point I felt that wasn’t the case, I would say so. I’m not being paid just to say good things about it. There’s no point in me saying that the movie’s really good if I didn’t genuinely believe that it was really good. So within myself, I can perfectly reconcile being friends with Alan and being involved in the film in the way that I am. I hope I’m being true and faithful to both...
Would you like to collaborate with Alan Moore again on another comic project? If so, are there any particular projects that the two of you have discussed?
Dave Gibbons: I’d love to collaborate with Alan on another comic project. On any project. We’ve always enjoyed the things that we’ve done together although we’re completely different people....We do end up on pretty much the same wavelength when it comes to comic books and I think we’ve both done some of our best work together. I think we’ve enjoyed it as well...
As far as any future project, there’s just one particular thing that Alan has mentioned publicly, so I’m free to mention it. Alan and his friend Steve Moore (no relation) are going to do… I think it’s called “The Boys’ Book of Magick” or “Everybody’s Book of Magick,” ...As you know, Alan has been very interested in magick (with a “k”) for a long while and he wants to do a primer that kind of brings magick out of the fusty, gothic area that it’s traditionally inhabited and make it something that’s a bit more light and a bit more accessible to modern readers. Some time ago, I agreed to do some illustrations for that...what they will be, I’m not sure, but I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Alan and Steve on that at some point in the future.
The lawsuit between Fox and Warner Bros. over who has the rights to the film, do you have any thoughts about that matter? Are you worried that the film might not get released on time or even at all?
Dave Gibbons: Well, I’d really as soon kind of pass on this. I’m not a lawyer. I imagine that lawyers will sit down and discuss this at length, and eventually will come to some kind of agreement about it....personally, I’ve got no doubts that the film will be released and that it will be released on time. I really can’t see that it’s in any of the parties’ interest for the film not to be released in a timely manner.
[THE NEXT PART OF THE INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]
[YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!]
There is a moral ambiguity at the end of Watchmen, a choice one of the main characters makes to sacrifice a few million lives to save the world. I’d like to know what is Dave Gibbons’ opinion on that choice? Was that character right or wrong? Did he really want to save the world, or was he just serving his own ego?
Dave Gibbons: ...Well, I think we deliberately left it ambiguous. There are arguments on both sides. Often, very hard decisions have to be made in the real world...So, from the heart, I would say that [CENSORED] was wrong. And I think he really wanted to save the world, but the problem with people of [CENSORED] is their ego can’t see their ego.
Good interview, nothing too revolutionary (in Part 1, at least). Still, it's always nice to hear Gibbons speak on the subject of Watchmen--especially the part about what it's like to walk the eggshell path of being Alan Moore's friend.
Head over to Watchmen Comic Movie if you want to read Pt. 1 of the Dave Gibbons interview in its entirety, then head back here to let us know if Gibbons' testimony is a glowing enough endorsement for you to have your butt firmly planted in a theater seat when Watchmen (hopefully) hits theaters on March 6, 2009. 'Til then we'll keep our ears the ground and post Pt. 2 of the Gibbons' interview as soon as it hits the Web.