EDITORIALS

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Confirms Watchmen's Darker Elements are Fully Intact

by
August 7, 2008
Source: Rope of Silicon

Watchmen

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?

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  • I never read it, but I think staying true to the source material is more honorable than trying to make everyone(studio) happy. You may ruffle some feathers, but bringing a story like The Watchmen to the silver screen, well, that's what comes with it.
  • Nick
    It's hard to gauge how successful this movie will be once it comes out. The tricky thing about making this movie is that while its critically acclaimed, it's not as main stream as Batman or the X-Men in that just about everyone knows those comic series. I hadn't even heard of Watchmen until a few months ago when I started reading comic books. The demographic of people who read comics and loved Watchmen is gonna be significantly less than those that like Batman. The real challenge is for them to make a movie that not only appeases the hardcore fans but also draws in people who have no idea what the book is about.
  • Power corrupts, and man is flawed... put those two thoughts together and apply them to a superheroes, and that's Watchmen, at least in my opinion. "Super" is funny word though. How many perfect people do you know? If you dig a little deeper into them would they still be as perfect? Watchmen is a story about people heroes. It's a screwed up story for a screwed up world, and I'm very happy to hear they'll be keeping all of the screwed up little bits in it.
  • Brian
    Xerxex >> Manhattan doesn't let anything happen. He's existing in all time simultaneously. He can't SEE the future, he's existing in it.
  • Kail
    That was one of the most hard hitting scenes in the graphic novel, when I read that I literally thought "Holy shit, this guy means business" it was so like... out there, so unexpected, you'd never think a comic book hero would do that, and that got me MORE into the book, if they didn't include that scene I don't think the movie would be that good and would probably be a dissapointment.
  • Xerxex
    I had the go over that scene a couple of times, Manhattan just lets it happen and Blake just does it, no remorse or anything.
  • Jezza
    Did you just compare Iron Man and F4 in the same sentence?
  • I'm glad to hear this. One big point of Watchmen is how they're not the traditional definition of superhero - they're basically humans first - "masked vigilanties." The only hero with any paranormal powers is Dr. Manhattan and he can't even relate to humans anymore (also realistic). I think based on Dark Knight mainstream audiences will be more accepting of this concept of all too human heroes than we think.
  • Squiggly_P
    Most of the Rorschach scenes are pretty disturbing, especially his flashbacks during his interview scenes. I just read the book again a few days ago, and I think the whole thing is filmable - maybe with some of the dialogue / narration dropped - but the ending is gonna be friggin hard. There's some scenes there that might come off as maybe cheesy (hell, they're borderline in the book), tho I think the bits after that, and the rest of the movie - if done right - will probably make up for any of that. I can't wait for this flick to come out.
  • twispious
    did you call dark knight "a darker film"?please.that shit was so safe and bounded by rules it was completely and utterly cowardly to push the limits.i hope they make this really really violent,but with reason & story.dark knight?pfft.
  • The Delightful Deviant
    i just read that part in the graphic novel earlier and i was curious if Snyder would keep it, kinda glad the movie is intact, gets my hopes up and makes me genuinely anxious to see it now.
  • JM
    just look at 300, it was r rated and did amazingly well, and the dawn of the dead remake which some people didn't like too much was still good. the director has a good track record. I look forward to seeing this film, however I think the teaser is a little misleading, and some people may be a bit dissapointed if they expect a run of the mill comic book hero film.
  • JL
    I think a lot of people are justified in saying that Zach Snyder is a risky choice for the direction of this film adaptation. Given the movies he's directed in the past, the argument can be made that he misses the point a little bit, sacrificing theme and moral undertone for stunning visuals and special effects. This is evident in his making of 300 and his remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004. Romero's original version was a very good political satire, and the remake suffered from the loss of some of this cleverness. However, if Snyder is a true fan of the graphic novel, this may turn out okay as long as they don't shorten it and they keep the gritty details in tact.
  • Reza
    @ 10 showing some of the violence in dark knight would've just been tasteless. christopher nolan had taste in not showing those parts and wasting precious movie seconds on seeing someone's jaw cut off. rather, he chose to focus on the joker's madness, rather than the short-term consequences of that. violence is cool and all, it gives the movie a real flair. but the dark knight was cerebral as hell and any egregious amounts of blood and gore would have distracted from nolan's movie magic. don't substitute cowardice for taste.
  • breach
    Though I only knew of Watchmen from the film coverage, every update and backstory on the characters makes me more interested, it sounds very dark and badass. From what I see, this will be epic. R just means this isnt some kid's movie, which I like. @ Jezza No shit, Fantastic 4 is dog vomit compared to Iron Man. F4 was more than a joke, it saddened me that they even bothered to disgrace it more with a second film.
  • Curtis
    god i cant wait im so glad Zack thought of the fans before anything, though i haven't read the graphic novel and not a huge fan yet but after that amazing trailer im totally going to see it.
  • ImaginaryVisionary
    I'm still not sold on this film. I think it looks cool, but I think this is going to be disappointing all the way around. I think it's going to tick off some fanboys, and I think those unfamiliar with the material are going to be sitting in their seats thinking "what the F^%$ is going on!" While I agree you have to stick to the source material, this movie is going to cause a lot of controversy with scenes like this, which will help and hurt the film. Typically I'd say religious boycott's do not affect a film, but I was proved wrong with the Golden Compass. I think that film suffered tremendously by it being called out for it's ties to atheism. If this film attracts the wrong type of attention from conservative America....it's going to have a tough go. As it is, I've seen this trailer in theaters 5 times, and I've heard more snickers than ew's and ah's over what we've seen so far. On top of that, I'm having a hard time buying "Denny" from Grey's Anatomy as such a hard ass. For some reason I think he's going to come across corny and contrived. I'm genuinely excited to see this film, I think it looks pretty bad ass, but I think the bar has been raised while at the same time this movie is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouth's who are already getting full on comic book remakes. They just may not bite at this film like we think.
  • Dave V.
    I really need to read this novel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cheeba Cheeba
    Most people seem to be missing the point about the graphic novel....don't think of this as a 'super hero' vehicle....if you are expecting Ironman or Batman then you will most likely be very disappointed....this is a socio-political commentary....the hero stuff is just a means of conveying its message across to the public....think of this along the same lines as Apocolypse Now....on the surface a war film but beneath so much more. I have no idea how this film will come across but if it stays true to the graphic novel it will hopefully make alot of people question who they are and the world we live in. The fact that Alan Moore who wrote the Watchmen is refusing to see it may say alot about how this film may turn out...Hollywoodised BS. Fingers crossed that the movie is as uncompromising as the novel and that the underlying message is still conveyed.
  • Dude, wasn't that a MAJOR spoiler?! Duuude! thank God I own the novel, but man, I think that was one scene that you could have left for surprise! Anyway... yes, I think this is a good sign, that they're keeping the movie as true to the origins as possible rather than making it family-friendly. I think Alan Moore is pissed enough. Zack didn't want to give him another excuse.
  • Just finished reading the comic, I'm pretty excited about the film, the dark side of it is what makes the story interesting, so the darker the better.
  • SlashBeast
    I also think it's far too early too make a judgement call on this film, I've hated Snyder's past work but I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this. But this movie has a huge task ahead of it, contrary to popular belief Watchmen is not a very mainstream graphic novel and most people I know have not even heard of it and were confused as hell when they saw the trailer. The movie has got to please fans and also mainstream audiences without alienating either.

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