INTERVIEW: Watchmen Director Paul Greengrass

CHUD.com has delivered an in-depth interview with the director of the coming Alan Moore comic book movie adaptation Watchmen. This is a multi-parter, so stay tuned. First, part 1...
Q: You’re working on pre-production right now?

Greengrass: It’s gearing up now. It’s sort of about two months in now, about six weeks in.

Q: How did you first become aware of the novel, and how did you become involved with this project?


Greengrass: I was going to say that the interesting thing from my point of view – I got a call in November or December, not that long ago, saying had I heard of Watchmen and was I interested in doing a film. I said are you kidding, of course I had heard of Watchmen. But the interesting thing from my point of view is that I’m not a person steeped in comic book lore. That’s not where I come from. It wasn’t something that – I didn’t sit as a child and read millions and millions of comics.

I’m a Brit, as Alan Moore is, and Watchmen I read at the time that it came out. The reason I read it is because at the time there was a lot of pieces of work done in this period of the mid to late 80s that were, due to the state power, sort of dark and conspiratorial and reflecting the acute paranoia of the late Cold War. I was very involved in doing different sorts of work then, but one of the things I did at the time was a book called Spycatcher [available at Amazon.com here], which at that time caused a lot of stir because it got banned by the British government. It was a kind of book about spies and I actually wrote it with a guy who was inside our MI-5, which is like our version of the FBI sort of CIA type of thing. It was really an expose of what was going on. At the time that that came out, there was a kind of fantastic prolonged twelve month period where it was a court case and it became a great set piece encounter – conflict, really – trying to define where the boundaries lay between the government’s desire to protect national security and our right as citizens to know what is done in our name.

The whole Spycatcher affair became a great controversy over here. At the time there was a lot of work done that reflected that kind of paranoia. There was a lot of drama done, there were films done, Spycatcher – and Watchmen. They were often linked together in the press, the zeitgeist was paranoia. That’s really where I come to Watchmen. That is why I am convinced I can make the film, because I understood from personal experience the milieu that gave rise to Watchmen. I understood a lot of the references that Alan Moore used. He just happened to be expressing that paranoia in the medium of the graphic novel, the comic book, where I and others were working in different mediums. But we were all part of reflecting the same mood.

Read the rest of this interesting article at the source below, and stay tuned for part 2!
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EarthsMightiestAdmin
3/15/2005
CHUD

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