(Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan)
Billy Crudup is a well-respected actor with a variety of
roles to his credit. Science fiction fans may know him best as estranged
son Will Bloom from Tim Burton's Big Fish, but he's also had prominent
roles in Almost Famous, Without Limits, The Good Shepherd, and Stage
(Spoiler Alert: While nothing is overtly revealed
here, the conversation assumes that readers are familiar with the graphic
Q: Billy, talk about the experience of being the
only guy in a motion capture suit for the film. Was it a burden?
Billy Crudup: It was a burden for about the first
day, until I saw what everyone else had to go through to get into their
costumes. They also had to work out, and watch what they were eating, and
all that. After that, I was just happy as a clam. I basically just came
in, put on my pajamas, stood on my apple box, and tried to figure out Dr.
Q: How did [director] Zack Snyder approach you
with the material?
BC: He just sent me the script. It was pretty
mundane, actually. I had never heard of the graphic novel, though I
recognized the cover because my brother is a big graphic novel fan and I
remember seeing it in his apartment. I was shocked by the script. They
told me that it was about superheroes basically, and I had all these
superficial expectations for what a movie or a graphic novel about
superheroes would be like. I've read a lot of those scripts. And this
subverted every one of those expectations from the first page, which got
me so excited. When I met Zack, I just sat back and let him operate. He
showed me every single frame of what he was going to do, and his
enthusiasm was just infectious.
Q: You're playing an omnipotent being. Do you
have to bring humanity to the role, or do you just completely detach?
BC: I think the graphic novel and the screenplay
attempt to ask that question and answer it at the same time. So the
experience of playing Dr. Manhattan was the experience of asking that
question each and every day. Does he have any humanity left? I think
mostly, he was distracted by what--to him--was a higher order of problems.
How does the universe operate? How do particles fundamentally function?
He's grappling with these giant issues and yet he's asked to be a dutiful
man at the same time by his government. So he was trying to attend to both
of those and trying to maintain a relationship at the same time.
Ultimately, I think he discovers that he's no longer as interested in
people as he is in the universe at large.
(Matthew Goode as Ozymandias )
Matthew Goode has made a promising beginning to his career
with roles in Woody Allen's Match Point and Scott Frank's The Lookout. The
two are appearing in the upcoming adaptation of the classic Alan
Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel Watchmen, with Crudup playing Dr.
Manhattan and Goode Ozymandias. They sat down at this year's San Diego
Comic Con to answer questions about the film and their roles.
Q: What was the experience of meeting thousands
of fans at the Comic Con?
Matthew Goode: I couldn't believe it. You come in
backstage, behind this curtain and you can just hear this wall of noise.
7,000 people murmuring . . . and then 7,000 people cheering. For me at
least, there were these horrible worries about intellectual inferiority,
because everyone out there knows the book so well. But then you see the
footage and the reaction, and the fears are all dispelled. It made me
start thinking that this could be--and hopefully will be--a really seminal
piece of work. Maybe that's assuming a bit too much, but it should be like
the book itself. I hope it can be that good.
Of course, if I'm being cynical--which I usually am--
I'd say that we're getting ahead of things. We're talking about the
trailer--and I'm probably doing a disservice to it by saying so--but the
trailer isn't the movie. We haven't seen the scenes yet. We haven't seen
how the characters interact and we haven't seen the full flesh of who they
are. Obviously, the cast and crew saw them on set because of the
interaction that we had, but we'll have to see. I want to see that world,
I want to see how it comes together. And I have faith in Zack's ability to
bring it to us.
Q: Did you find yourself still liking Ozymandias
after what he does at the end of the picture?
MG: I do. You can say he's much maligned. And
everyone has their own arguments about what he does. Quite rightly, too:
there are only gray areas with him. Nothing's black and white. One of the
things I love about him is the difference between the public persona and
the private persona. There's this intense isolation around him. He only
has one real friend--Dr. Manhattan--who he doesn't really think twice abut
killing. That's who he is. He's a very practical man and there's no great
plan coming from anybody else about how to save the world. He has a
solution, but it's cold and it's real and it is an equation. Killing
millions to save billions. It's quite mathematical really.
(by Rob Vaux)