Exclusive: Joel Silver Talks Terry Gilliam’s Defunct Watchmen Film

Long time comic book fans will know that Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of Watchmen wasn’t the first attempt at bringing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic comic to the big screen. In fact, after the series was originally published, Twelve Monkeys director Terry Gilliam was quick to board an adaptation of the project with producer Joel Silver. The project fell apart as so many films do, with Gilliam departing because he found the material “unfilmable,” and ever since there has been much speculation about what might have been if he had made the film.

ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype got the opportunity to interview producer Joel Silver about his upcoming film Non-Stop and asked him about his original attempt at making Watchmen and how it differed from what Snyder made.

Zack came at it the right way but was too much of a slave to the material.​….The version of “Watchmen” that Zack made, they really felt the notion. They went to Comic-Con, they announced it, they showed things, the audience lost their minds but it wasn’t enough to get a movie that would have that success. What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script–who had written a script that everybody loved for the first “Batman”–and then he brought in a guy who’d worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of “Brazil”]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from “Watchmen” only became characters in a comic book.’

“So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, “Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.” It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.”

You can read the full interview with Joel Silver by clicking here. What do you think of these differences from the original “Watchmen”? Would have rather seen that film on the big screen? Sound off below!