For director Zack Snyder, pic is his second comicbook adaptation, after Frank Miller’s “300.” Also directed reimagining of horror classic “Dawn of the Dead.”
Producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin have been trying to make “Watchmen” into a movie since the late 1980s.
Screenwriter David Hayter penned his draft several years ago as he prepared to direct a version of “Watchmen” that didn’t happen. Shares credit with Alex Tse, who joined the project after Hayter and was charged mostly with reinstating several elements that had evolved away from the graphic novel, such as the 1980s setting.
In addition to co-creating the graphic novel with Alan Moore (who chose not to be involved with the film), Dave Gibbons contributed some artwork, designs and support.
Larry Fong, director of photography, also shot Snyder’s previous film, “300,” with fidelity to the graphic novel as a top priority.
Composer Tyler bates has worked on all three of Synder’s features. His “Watchmen” theme avoids the bombastic sound of other superhero movies.
THE VISUAL SUSPECTS
Sony Pictures Imageworks conceived and executed the effects for Dr. Manhattan, which involved creating a suit featuring motion-capture markers and 2,500 blue LEDs to simulate the character’s glow. Also did all the Mars scenes, including the glass palace.
The Moving Picture Co. created the New York environments and scenes with the Owl Ship.
Intelligent Creatures worked on Rorschach’s mask, replacing actor Haley’s head in every shot in which he had it on.
CIS Visual Effects Group created the opening title sequence that recounted the altered history of the “Watchmen” world.
Rising Sun Pictures did effects for the upcoming director’s cut in which the main film transitions to the animated Tales of the Black Freighter sequence.
New Deal Studios supplied fire effects and miniatures for the tenement rescue scene.
Specialty costume company Quantum FX helped outfit the superheroes.
Imax partnered to release the pic on its jumbo screens.
U.K.-based the smiley co. owns the trademark yellow badge that became pic’s most prominent image.
sony music licensed most of the classic rock used in the film, including songs by Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin.
“The Outer Limits” theme and clip (courtesy of MGM and overture ENTErprises) refer to an episode of the classic TV series that inspired the book’s ending.
Shot at CMPP Studios in Vancouver as well as a few locations around the city.
Malin Akerman and Carla Gugino play the mother-daughter SilkSpectre duo.
Patrick Wilson gained 20 pounds for the role of Nite Owl II, while Billy Crudup was able to bulk up digitally to play mo-cap Dr. Manhattan.
Jackie Earle Haley relied on body language and voice to play Rorschach.
The death of Jeffrey Dean Morgan‘s Comedian sets off the whole mystery.
Matthew Goode went bad as the scheming Ozymandias.
BELOW THE LINE
Production designer Alex McDowell drew upon “Dr. Strangelove’s” War Room for Nixon’s NORAD bunker, one of nearly 200 sets.
Editor William Hoy, another “300” alum, had to juggle multiple storylines and flashbacks during the funeral for the Comedian.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson looked into 1970s NASA technology to design Nite Owl’s costumes, while Ozymandias’ look borrows from the Burton/Schumacher “Batman” films.
Vfx supervisor John “DJ” DesJardin was lauded by all the supervisors at each of the visual effects facili- ties that worked on “Watchmen” for making their jobs easier with concise instructions and useful feedback that was always in sync with what Snyder wanted.
Greg Cannom, special effects makeup, took on the task of aging characters such as the Comedian, who appears in sequences set as far back as the 1940s all the way up to the 1980s. Cannom, a three-time Oscar winner, also created look-alike makeup for actors playing such real-life figures as JFK and Richard Nixon.
“Prop master Jimmy Chow was assigned the difficult task of giving physical form to the graphic novel’s world. That meant designing everything from Hollis Mason’s award statuette”Prop master Jimmy Chow was assigned the difficult task of giving physical form to the graphic novel’s world. That meant designing every-thing from Hollis Mason’s award statuette, “to stacks of plot-specific newspapers at the newsstand and the characters’ various weapons and tools.”to stacks of plot-specific newspapers as well as the characters’ various weapons and tools.