You have to believe that at least a little part of Joel Silver knew he was stirring the pot when he claimed last week that, had writer/director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, the forthcoming The Zero Theorum) actually made the version of Watchmen he was envisioning when he was attached to the project in the ’90s, it would have been “a much, much better” version that Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation that actually did arrive on the big screen. And really, did you expect the man behind 300, Man of Steel, and Sucker Punch to remain silent? Love him or hate him, Zack Snyder’s movies do have a unique style, and while promoting the 300 sequel, which he co-produced, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Snyder took a few moments to fire back at his accuser. Snyder was asked about the catch-22 of serving the source material, something Silver said he did too much of, and changing the ending to better suit the film medium, which diehard fans roundly criticized him for. His answer was basically, Hey, I’m a fan, too:
Honestly, I made Watchmen for myself. It’s probably my favorite movie that I’ve made. And I love the graphic novel and I really love everything about the movie. I love the style. I just love the movie and it was a labor of love.
And what about that Gilliam movie that never was?
If you read the Gilliam ending, it’s completely insane….[My adaptation of Watchmen is] just using elements that are in the comic book already, that’s the only thing I did. I would not have grabbed something from out of the air and said, “Oh, here’s a cool ending” just because it’s cool.
Snyder was referring, of course, to the proposed Gilliam plot wherein Dr. Manhattan goes back in time to remove himself from the equation. Snyder admitted it achieved a similar end to his own plot, but as you can see above, was dismissive of the means. He also had this to say of the Gilliam ending:
If you love the graphic novel, there’s just no way [you could be happy with Gilliam’s version]. It would be like if you were doing Romeo and Juliet and instead of them waking up in the grave area, they would have time-traveled back in time and none of it would have happened.
Strong words, certainly. Gilliam has been silent on the subject to this point, but we’ll see if it stays that way now. You have to wonder about the point in debating a now five-year-old film versus a 15+ year-old script, but hey, fanboys will be fanboys, right?
I feel like Watchmen came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy – like, when he had his biggest strength.
Ok, Zack, if you say so.