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Zack Snyder Fan Q&A — Part II

Watchmen movie director gives answers to fan questions about the “Black Freighter,” Rorschach’s mask, the soundtrack, and more…

Here it is — The second part of our exclusive Q&A with Watchmen director Zack Snyder. If you missed it, please remember to take a look at the first part of our “interview.”

In this second part, Snyder goes into details about certain aspects of the production, including visual effects, the costumes, the soundtrack, and more.

Again, I’d like to thank Zack Snyder and everyone over at WB who made this possible, as well as all the fans that submitted such great questions.

We’ve listed the names of each of the fans who before each of their submitted questions. Now, on to the Q&A…

Alan C: We know that the “Black Freighter” is being produced as some sort of add on to the film for home release. What I want to know is will the “Black Freighter” parts cut back and forth to the newsstand and the comic as it does in the book? Will the DVD release have an option to include the “Black Freighter” scenes in context with the film (as they happen in the book) or will it just be a standalone extra?

Zack Snyder: It is my intent right now, and of course all this could change, to create a version of the “Black Freighter” that thread throughout the movie. As I write this, I have already shot the ins and outs of the News Vendor and Bernard… So we’ll try them in the film and then certainly we’ll at least see them on the DVD, but if it works awesome, then it works awesome, and it could end up in the film. I just want to make the best movie I can.

Noel M.: What changes have you made to the costumes from the comic and why?

Zack Snyder: We’ve approached each character individually regarding the design of their costume. In most cases, we have remained very close to the graphic novel. Although in some cases, we’ve made adjustments. I think Nite Owl and Silk Spectre have probably been changed the most from the original designs. We felt these changes were necessary because we live in a comic-book cinema world where costumes have been fetishized to a huge degree. The costumes, as they’re drawn, might not be accessible to many of today’s audiences. I also felt that audiences might not appreciate the naiveté of the original costumes. So, there has been some effort to give them a slightly more… I would say modern look — and not modern in the sense of 2007, but modern in terms of the superhero aesthetic. It was also important to me that they appealed to my own taste as a moviegoer. Lastly and possibly most important, I wanted to be sure that they comment directly on many of today’s modern masked vigilantes — who shall remain nameless…

Oscar: I was wondering what is the approach that you and Tyler Bates want to take with the soundtrack as far as sound and mood? Are you planning on using the songs mentioned in the graphic novel?

Zack Snyder: I am planning to use quite a few songs mentioned in the graphic novel. Watchmen is incredibly smart in its use of music references, both obvious and subtle. We did extensive research to make sure we hadn’t missed any of the great music opportunities that exist within the book. As far as the score itself, once we wrap principle photography, Tyler and I will have much more time to sit and look at the cut together. Tyler has spent time on set with us and has begun looking at footage with Bill Hoy, our editor. We have started to formulate a philosophy for the score — but it’s really just the beginning.

TK8103: As we all know, one of the most intriguing elements of Rorschach’s costume is the changing patterns on his mask. How is that going to be accomplished on screen?

Zack Snyder: As you can imagine, the most effective way to render the ever-changing inkblot that is Rorschach’s face is with the use of visual effects. So, we created a blank mask and strategically placed small green tracking markers on it. The markers will be used to track the contours of his face throughout the shot. There is also a hole that reveals Jackie’s [Jackie Earle Haley] eyes not only so he can see, but also to help to the VFX artists later while they animate Rorschach’s face. The opening allows them to see what Jackie’s eyes were emoting. When completed, his open-eyed, green polka dotted face will have been replaced by a CG element, a slowly changing inkblot pattern. We’ve gone through and analyzed the many inkblots from the graphic novel and have assigned them each different emotional characteristics — so that when Rorschach is experiencing something in a scene, the shape on the mask reflects his emotions in a graphic and abstract manner. I have had the opportunity to see some of the early tests and I am very pleased with how it is coming together.

Soupdragon: Will the fight scenes involve a 300-style of variable speed action or will they be filmed straight?

Zack Snyder: Each of the fight scenes is a little bit different and they are individually influenced by both the situation and the characters involved. Overall, it’s probably not as extreme in its use of variable speed as 300, but I still want to make sure that the action is cool. It goes without saying that I like action. So, although it might not be exactly like 300, it’s still going to have quite a few intense fight sequences and a style of its own. I have been fortunate enough to have Damon Caro on board as my Stunt Coordinator choreographing the fights. Damon worked with me in the same capacity on 300 and is truly the best when it comes to creating innovative fight sequences. He has put a lot of time and energy into fight training with the actors and the stunt team and the results are apparent.

Cory Brown: Watchmen was such a milestone event in comics. While I’m sure Alan Moore didn’t write it while saying to himself “I'm going to write a milestone event in comics,” he was definitely dealing with fertile if largely untouched ground by placing a superhero story in the midst of more adult themes, an idea which has become commonplace in comic books since then. As a filmmaker aware of the abundance of super hero films today (not to mention the last 25 years of  comic books), do you look at Watchmen as just an adaptation of a great story or also as an opportunity to draw your own lines in the sand regarding super hero films (or film in general)?

Zack Snyder: I think Alan’s work is absolutely groundbreaking and whether he sat down to do that or not, that’s what he did. I think that for me, it’s about adapting that great work into a movie, but it’s also certainly about making a film that does hopefully to the cinematic superhero genre, what the book did to the comic book world. It’s my hope and my intent to shine a light on the current state of superhero movies and what they mean to pop culture, and what they mean to people who enjoy them, and comic book fans. So yeah, I guess if you want to say, “draw a line in the sand”, those are strong words, but it’s strong material, so that might be just what’s happening.

Remember, if you missed it, check out part I of the Zack Snyder Q&A where Zack answered questions about the process of adapting the story from the comic book page to the screen and much more! Meanwhile, discuss these questions in this forum thread.


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