Between the 10th anniversary of Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen, the Doomsday Clock comic series, and Damon Lindelof’s continuation on HBO, we’ve been getting quite a lot of Watchmen content lately. Sensing that the train is running hot, David Hayter (writer of the first two X-Men films) decided to drop some never-before-seen test footage from his 2003 stab at the iconic comic book series.
And folks, it is some serious stuff.
Starring Iain Glen as Nite Owl and Ray Stevenson as Rorschach, the clip depicts the first conversation we see of the two characters. It’s only four minutes long and is clearly ripped from some ancient VHS that was left on a shelf for too long… and yet it is just awesome.
No disrespect to Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley, who played the hell out of Nite Owl and Rorschach respectively in Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation, but Glen and Stevenson’s refined takes on the characters in David Hayter’s take just works better.
There’s a distinct pulpy feel to the proceedings but without any of that dreary grimdark flair Snyder likes to splash everything with. If those four minutes aren’t enough to make you wish for Hayter’s take on Watchmen over Snyder’s, then his follow-up tweets on what his movie might’ve been will change your mind.
The writer/director acknowledged Glen’s great performance and revealed that not only would his take have been set in modern times, Stevenson only came onboard when Daniel Craig “bailed” last minute.
But perhaps the most interesting Watchmen tidbit from Hayter was him wanting Denzel Washington for the role of Dr. Manhattan. If there was someone who could sell a glowing blue god who likes walking around naked while sprouting monologues about the folly of man, it’s definitely Denzel.
But as history tells us, David Hayter’s 2003 version of Watchmen never got off the ground and we wouldn’t get that long-awaited film adaptation until Zack Snyder came into the picture years later.
While it was an absolute shame to miss out what was shaping up to be a very interesting take on Watchmen, it seems like history is making up for it by giving us the HBO continuation, which has been stuffed full of great moments, like Laurie Blake’s giant blue dildo, Jeremy Irons playing a manic Adrian Veidt and the brilliant “remixed” origin story of Hooded Justice.