It’s been four years since the film version of Watchmen disappointed everyone, but the past week has seen a sudden and rather unexpected burst of Hollywood infighting among various parties attached to the movie. Last week, Hollywood uber-producer Joel Silver revealed to ComingSoon the crazypants ending that Terry Gilliam was planning when he was attached to the movie, and also accused director Zack Snyder of being “too much of a slave to the material.”
In a new interview with the Huffington Post, Snyder hits back, accurately describing Gilliam’s ending as “completely insane” and explaining that his whole purpose in making Watchmen was to maintain the purity of Watchmen’s creative essence. “I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy,” says Snyder. “I finally made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.”
It would be wrong to read this statement as “ZACK SNYDER ATTACKS TERRY GILLIAM,” because Terry Gilliam probably has no idea that this is happening. Still, it’s clear that Snyder believes that another director would have changed Watchmen too much – perhaps by adding in a two-minute music-video sex scene, or diluting all the female characters into variations of Bland Hotty and Sassy Boozehound, or somehow thinking that the coolest thing about the Watchmen graphic novel was all the fight scenes, or some other purely conjectural alteration that would have definitely ruined Watchmen if the director of Sucker Punch hadn’t rescued it from the director of Brazil.
And now that we’ve gotten all that passive-aggressive Internet snark out of our system, we should point out that Snyder has some thoughts about the reaction to the film, which earned mehhh reviews and ehhhh box office (although worth remembering that Roger Ebert loved it). “I feel like Watchmen came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy – like, when he had his biggest strength,” says the director of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. He concludes: “I think if that movie came out now – and this is just my opinion – because now that we’ve had Avengers and comic book culture is well established, I think people would realize that the movie is a satire.” (Lest we forget, Snyder also made 300, which was a satire about your fraternity.) Anyhow, presumably this will end the Great Watchmen Skirmish of 2014, unless Alan Moore emerges from his subterranean kingdom to loudly pronounce that, really, Watchmen probably could’ve just stayed a comic book.