Exploring WATCHMEN's Doctor Manhattan

Watchmen actor Billy Crudup found the process of CGI acting surprisingly easy. Locating the humanity in his god-like character, Doctor Manhattan, was more difficult.
Billy Crudup, who breathes CGI-enhanced life into the nearly omnipotent superbeing Doctor Manhattan in Zach Snyder's highly anticipated Watchmen, told Sci Fi Wire's PATRICK LEE, in a group interview at San Diego's Comic-Con International, that he actually enjoyed providing the template for a computer animated character.

"It was a burden for about the first day," he said of wearing a motion-capture suit covered in lights, with reference dots on his face, "until I saw what these guys [his fellow actors] were in, and then they also had to go work out and watch what they were eating, blah di blah, blah, blah. I was as happy as a clam. Basically came in and put on my pajamas, stood on my apple box, tried to figure out Doctor Manhattan..."

Doctor Manhattan is a former scientist named Jon Osterman, who finds himself transformed into a giant blue humanoid who can manipulate matter, space and time with his mind. He is the only superpowered member of a group of costumed characters in the movie, based on Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel, which is set in an alternate-universe 1985 New York.

Crudup (The Good Shepherd) said that the graphic novel and the screenplay attempt to ask and answer a difficult question: Does the good doctor have any humanity left?

"Mostly he was an entity that was distracted by what for him were a higher order of problems," said the veteran indie actor of his character. "Which is: How does the universe operate, or how do particles fundamentally [interact]? And he was being asked to be a dutiful man at the same time by his government, so he was trying to attend to both of those while trying to carry on a relationship, and I think ultimately he discovered, through his own journey, that he was no longer as interested in people as he was in the universe. So I think my experience of doing it was the experience of asking that question each and every day."

You can find video clips of cast interviews over at our sister site, Comic Book Movie.

Watchmen opens March 6, 2009.
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