David Hayter has released test footage from his unmade Watchmen film starring Iain Glen. The Watchmen brand has recently seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Damon Lindelof-created HBO series. The show takes place in an alternate version of our world riddled with masked vigilantes; it serves as a sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ beloved comic book maxiseries of the same name.
The original Watchmen follows two generations of superheroes from 1938-1985. The story’s gritty approach to realism resonated with comic book fans around the world; Watchmen took the superhero genre and fused it with reality (the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, radioactive particle tests, etc.) in a way no one had seen before. The comic was almost adapted into a film several times before Zack Snyder’s 2009 film; one of those times was when Universal hired David Hayter (fresh off of the success of 2000’s X-Men) to write and direct a version in 2001.
Now, the HBO show has given us a different set of vigilantes set in modern-day America (following and adhering to the events of the original storyline). The acclaim of the new series has prompted David Hayter to post a video of test footage from his original film (which would've released in 2003). The video features Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) as Daniel Dresibeg (Nite Owl) and Ray Stevenson as Rorschach depicting an early scene in the classic narrative; the interaction shows Rorschach paying Nite Owl a surprise visit, following the death of the Comedian. You can view Hayter's clip via his Twitter account below.
For any curious #Watchmen fans,— David Hayter (@DavidBHayter) November 26, 2019
Here is the final, color corrected clip of the Watchmen test I directed in 2003.
Iain Glen as Nite Owl, Ray Stevenson as Rorschach.
Score by the brilliant @joekraemer
A different incarnation of the same scene made its way to the big screen in Snyder’s movie, with Patrick Wilson playing Nite Owl and Jackie Earle Haley inhabiting Rorschach. Hayter’s version apparently never came to fruition due to creative differences with the studio. In the wake of that defeat, he went on to write The Scorpion King and X2: X-Men United; however, Hayter eventually received story credit for the 2009 version of Watchmen.
The Watchmen we ended up seeing was as faithful of an adaptation anyone could hope for; Snyder's shots and the script seemed to follow its source material verbatim. The most notable differences came in the form of Ozymandias’ reactor explosions (instead of a giant squid) and the overall increase of superhuman strength. One can’t help but wonder what the Hayter-directed version would have looked like; that fact that Universal kept some of Hayter's story ideas begs the question: would Hyter's movie have been less or more faithful than Snyder’s? Snyder’s affinity for the genre suggests the former.
Source: David Hayter/Twitter