HBO is taking on one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time with a new TV show based on Alan Moore's Watchmen. Creator Damon Lindelof has described the show is a "remixed" version of the comic books - not a direct adaptation or a sequel -and the pilot recently cast a number of actors as original characters - including Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson and Don Johnson. However, we still don't know how many of the characters from the graphic novel will appear in the show, or who will be playing them.
Although reviews were mixed, many Watchmen fans feel like Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation (especially the Director's Cut) was a near-perfect adaptation of the comics, and there's no denying that it had a fantastic cast. Jackie Earle Haley's gravelly voice fit the bitter, violent vigilante Rorschach to a tee, while Jeffrey Dean Morgan expertly captured the brutish machismo of The Comedian. But now, a decade later, there's plenty of new (and matured) talent out there. Before we hear official casting news for Watchmen's classic characters, here are our picks for actors who could be great in those roles.
- This Page: Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Ozymandias
- Page 2: Rorschach, The Comedian and Doctor Manhattan
Jay Duplass and Callum Keith Rennie as Nite Owl
There are two characters who have held the mantle of Nite Owl in Watchmen: the original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason (played by Stephen McHattie in Snyder's film), and his protégé Dan Dreiberg (who was played by Patrick Wilson). Hollis began his career as a police officer but, having been inspired by comic book superheroes, later decided to get into the colorful career of vigilante crimefighting with the Minutemen. Veteran TV actor Callum Keith Rennie, whose recent credits include Marvel's Jessica Jones and The Man in the High Castle, would be great casting for the role.
As for Hollis' successor - Dan Dreiberg is the ultimate geek: someone who idolized superheroes so much that he actually became one of them, and even after retirement keeps his outfit, gadgets, and ship down in an effort to preserve those days. Unlike Rorschach, Nite Owl II never quite manages to feel completely comfortable in his superhero guise, at one point describing it as "sort of an embarrassment... a schoolkid's fantasy that got out of hand." Either half of the filmmaking/acting duo of Jay and Mark Duplass could be great in this role, given how well their works have explored the challenges and anxieties of modern masculinity. However, we'll give the edge to Jay Duplass, who last year offered a sober critique of the traditional superhero mythos of good guys beating up bad guys in an interview with IndieWire. For that reason Duplass isn't interested in blockbuster superhero movies, but he could be perfect for the role of Dan Dreiberg.
Tatiana Maslany and Jessica Walter as Silk Spectre
Most recently best known for playing Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development and voicing Mallory Archer in Archer, Jessica Walter first shot to fame in 1971 after starring in Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, Play Misty For Me. Perhaps it's too predictable to fan-cast Walter as a haughty, distant maternal figure... but she's just so great in those roles. Sally Jupiter (neé Juspeczyk) was the original Silk Spectre and is a complex character: nostalgic for her crime-fighting days despite the violence she suffered at the hands of The Comedian, and eager to mold her daughter in her own image.
With that in mind, the actress cast as Laurie Juspeczyk would need to be strong enough to push back against those expectations. Given that BBC's acclaimed sci-fi series Orphan Black came to a close last year, it would be great to its enormously talented (and hard-working) lead Tatiana Maslany in a new heroine role - and we'd love to see Maslany and Walter clash in a mother-daughter dynamic.
Alexander Skarsgård as Ozymandias
True Blood star Alexander Skarsgård is a popular choice among fan casts for Watchmen - and with good reason. With his blond hair and chiseled jawline, he's a dead ringer for the character as portrayed in the comics, and can convey both vulnerability and unshaking intensity in his roles. Adrian Veidt a.k.a. Ozymandias doesn't reveal his hand until near the end of Watchmen, when it's revealed that he murdered The Comedian in order to protect the secret of his plans to repair the world through a horrific fake alien attack that would claim the lives of millions of New Yorkers. Ozymandias' is a character that blends extreme intelligence with extreme arrogance, but is ultimately trying to save mankind - even if his "less obvious heroism" takes the form of mass-slaughter.