Jeffrey Dean Morgan Confirms Watchmen's Darker Elements are Fully Intact
As beautiful as the trailer for Watchmen looks, we can't forget that the story is just as important as the visuals. For those who are familiar with the complex story, you know that it's very dark and sometimes discomforting. Ever since Zack Snyder was announced as the director, he's been keen on keeping very true to the graphic novel, even going as far as keeping the film R rated, which should be a great relief to fans. The fact that the story won't be cut down to mirror more glossy family-friendly movies like Iron Man or Fantastic Four is most certainly a good thing. But how dark will Watchmen be? Our friends at Rope of Silicon caught up with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and made sure to ask him about a rather disturbing scene. He indeed confirms that they shot it and that the film will be as dark as the graphic novel itself.
The scene in question is the one shown in the photo released by Warner Brothers above. In it, Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a young version of The Comedian, and is confronted by a pregnant Vietnamese woman after Dr. Manhattan and Edward Blake have fought in the Vietnam War. She questions him about her pregnancy and he says he's just going to forget it. She smashes a bottle and cuts his face, scarring him for the rest of his life. In retaliation, he pulls out his gun and shoots her in the chest. Morgan confirms: "Yeah, yeah, we're staying very true to this whole thing and yeah, that's there. It had to be. It's a big time defining moment for my character. It had to be there. It's the history of the scar, the whole deal. You can't take that away man." Obviously there's more, including a rape scene involving Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter, that is intact as well, but as I said, this all a part of the story and it wouldn't have been the same without it.
"Getting into the heads of these characters was kind of an ordeal. The actions of The Comedian are brutal sometimes." He continued, "This is stuff that's a little different than anything I have ever done, and it was stuff that I had a hard time with. There are a couple of things The Comedian does, and I never ever in a million years thought there was something I would have to think twice about, as an actor, but I could make no excuses for it. There were a couple of rough days of filming where I was just like, 'this is tough.'"
Discussing this will immediately draw out complainers who will attempt to claim that the film could've done without such scenes, but I disagree. It's hard for me to explain the relevance on my own, which is why I'll jump back to another quote from Morgan. "The arcs The Comedian goes through are substantial to where his very being is questioned and he questions himself," and without them, his character wouldn't be this well-defined. "At first glance you think you are playing this bastard, just a mean son-of-a-bitch but the more I looked at the layers to this guy… How do you read a book about a guy that does the things he does and yet you sympathize with him? How the hell does that happen? I found that fascinating." If you're curious to hear more, be sure to head over to Rope of Silicon for the full article.
With Watchmen confirmed to be as dark as the graphic novel, I'm certain most fans are going to end up debating its potential box office success. However, The Dark Knight is undeniable proof that darker films that push the boundaries of the acceptable, even at PG-13 levels, can still be successful. I think the most important aspect of filmmaking is not how family accessible it is or how marketable it is, but instead, whether or not the filmmaker really achieved what they set out to do. Zack Snyder wanted to make as faithful of an adaptation of Watchmen as cinematically possible, even if that meant going into very dark and disturbing territory. It would've been a great disservice, and probably worse for the success of the film, if he did anything else. So although you may find this (and many) scenes particularly disturbing, I believe it will in fact be accepted as part of the more grand experience with this adaptation. Anyone agree?