"Zack Snyder dishes Watchmen from the Owl Ship"
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: July 28, 2008
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Mike Richards: We're in San Diego at Comic-Con and last year director Zack Snyder of 300 fame launched the DVD release of that movie and it went on to do very well. This year he's back showing off parts of his new movie, Watchmen and I got to talk to him earlier in the day.
Mike Richards: Alright welcome back to Dailies on location and we're here at Comic-Con. We're in the Owl Ship now. Zack Snyder, director of 300. Now he's here getting everyone ready for Watchmen. So when it comes out you would have been working on it for 3 years. At this point are you like, "Let's get this movie out so the fans can see it?"
Zack Snyder: Yes and no. I just, I mean, cause right now there's a lot of visual effects in the movie so as they come in, I see them, and the movie looks better and better. So everyday when we see a new Manhattan shot or some cool thing I'm like, "Ah that's cool." I mean, of course you wish they'd all happen at once, you know. The way it works is a shot comes in and you're like "Well that could be cooler." And you kick it back, and they kick it to you again -- so it's not.
Mike Richards: It doesn't come in in a fluid way. You've got to keep kicking it back until you like it.
Zack Snyder: Shot after shot. Yeah. So you keep kicking them back and getting them back. And you know we work with the visual effects department to really make them, you know, get the best possible shot that we designed. So that process can't happen overnight you know. But it's fun. I mean, I think that, I think that I'm anxious for the movie to come out but I'm also, you know, its an honor to work on a movie that's super cool.
Mike Richards: And you know to be patient because 300 took 5 years right?
Zack Snyder: Absolutely. Well, that was 5 years from when we first, yeah, opened, cracked the book, and said, "Let's make this into a movie."
Mike Richards: So you know how important Comic-Con can be to a movie if they're happy with it, which, cause 300 got so much of its kick-start here. I think people have credited that. How nervous are you that tomorrow, you're gonna have your panel tomorrow with the Comic-Con fans, what are they gonna see and are you worried about it?
Zack Snyder: Well, I think that you have to be a little bit worried because you no one knows anything, um, and we just do the coolest work we can and if the guys like then that's great. I'm showing them about 3.5 minutes of sort of, there's a couple of shots that overlap from the trailer, for insistence. It's kind of a non-MPAA version of Manhattan killing the guys in Vietnam.
Mike Richards: Now Watchmen is such a beloved, obviously, set of graphic novels but it's also I think some of the most complicated superheros to put on the movie screen, if not the most. I'm you, I get almost any project in the world I want after 300, right, pretty much anything you wanted and this just seems so tough. Was that part of the draw?
Zack Snyder: No, no that wasn't part of the draw. That was a reason not to do it. I think if anything, when they asked me to do it, I kind of felt like I didn't want to do it, you know. I kind of felt like it was a, you know, I was a fan of the book and it was one of the few things I read and not gone like, "Oh that should be a movie."
Mike Richards: People have described it as impossible to make a movie of.
Zack Snyder: Yeah, and so I guess part of the reason why, I mean, when we finally came around to actually making it into a movie, the reason why was because they had asked me so. At that point I felt like a sense of responsibility now like I couldn't just, you know, "Child on the street... I think he would be fine, I will just let it go."
Mike Richards: So if you pass on it, and someone does a bad job then you did it.
Zack Snyder: I'm not saying someone's going to do a bad job, just not, it's my fault no matter what happens after that. So, I guess, I just, it felt like I wanted to do just the best we can and try and fix it cause the script also, I mean, the script was great but it was all updated. It was like, you know.
Mike Richards: It was not set in 1985 because the movie is set in 1985.
Zack Snyder: 1985, yeah. Nixon's 5th term, which is a huge deal to me, but when I got it of course it was modern times war on terror trying to be very, I don't know what. But anyway, I didn't like that and so we just tried to get as much of the book back into the movie as we could.
Mike Richards: You said that this movie kicks other superhero movies in the gut. Describe that.
Zack Snyder: I just think that it, in the sense that it takes away, or it puts out into media, or pop culture, ideas that, that in some way threaten, like, sort of superhero mythology, you know. So, in that way, it's dangerous. But, I mean, look, I'm a huge comic book movie fan so it's hard for me to say that, like, you know.
Mike Richards: So an un-comic-book movie a little bit.
Zack Snyder: It is, it is. It's a deconstructive story, like, it takes all the things that you take for granted in a superhero movie or that you, what it does is it sort of, the things that are the gimmie in a superhero movie, it actually goes, "Wait a minute, let's talk about that," you know, and I think that's the cool part of it, you know.
Mike Richards: Hancock was like that a little bit. Is this a trend?
Zack Snyder: I don't know if it is. I mean, Watchmen is Watchmen. Is it a trend? It's like, it's hard, you know, it's like, it was around before Hancock. And Hancock is cool, you know, but it's, you know, it's, I think, Watchmen is different.
Mike Richards: It was around before this superhero phenomenon.
Zack Snyder: Absolutely, absolutely. And it, it comments on a different thing, you know. Watchmen comments on superhero comic books. And I think the one thing that's cool is cinema has caught up with the superhero comic book in pop culture. I mean, I would say that "Look, my parents know that Bruce Wayne's parents were killed. You know, murdered by a mugger, you know. And they know that Superman comes from Krypton or whatever. They're very, you know, your average moviegoer has a lot of superhero knowledge now that is ripe for Watchmen too. Sort of deconstructing absolutely. Not to mention the fact, the other thing is, look, in the end I think the movie, if I made a 3 hour commercial for the graphic novel then I'm pretty happy.
Mike Richards: The movie is 3 hours long and you're trying to cut that down. How's that going?
Zack Snyder: You know, it's a slow process. It's not easy. I don't want to do anything stupid and ruin the movie so I just... baby steps. So it hasn't gone too far down from that.
Mike Richards: Zack Snyder, thanks very much. Enjoy the rest of Comic-Con and good luck tomorrow with the fans.
Zack Snyder: Awesome, a pleasure.
Mike Richards: Zack Snyder, such a smart and talented guy. Watchmen comes out March in 2009.