HUMANITAS Trustee Damon Lindelof Shares Details About His New Pilot 'Watchman'
Damon Lindelof is taking on one of the most beloved comic titles as his follow-up to HBO's The Leftovers: Alan Moore's Watchmen.
The drama is currently a pilot but fully expected to earn a series order given its creative auspices, IP and impressive cast.
Lindelof grew up a diehard fan of Watchmen and has said over the years that the book continues to influence his work. "From the flashbacks to the nonlinear storytelling to the deeply flawed heroes, these are all elements that I try to put into everything I write," he said in 2009 ahead of Zack Snyder's feature-film take. Lindelof enjoyed the movie take and praised it as the "most married-to-the-original-text version of Watchmen that could have been made."
That said, Lindelof said in a five-page post on Instagram that his take on the property is not an adaptation but instead a "remix" of Moore's original material, with the potential series not serving as a direct translation of the comic. "Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor [re-created] nor reproduced nor rebooted," he wrote, adding that he wasn't "making a 'sequel' either."
"This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built. … But in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. … Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them."
That said, The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up all the details (so far) about Lindelof's Watchmen take for HBO, including the cast and creative team. Bookmark this page as THR will update as more information becomes available.
Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) serves as writer and exec producer of the Warner Bros. Television drama. Nicole Kassell, who directed Lindelof's The Leftovers, will helm the pilot. Lindelof posted June 27 that production on the Watchmen pilot has been completed and called Kassell a "magnificent" director. "Yesterday, she called wrap on the pilot of Watchmen ... and let there be no doubt — she was the pilot, navigating our owlship flawlessly from takeoff to landing. It was an absolute honor watching her work as she led our phenomenal crew (I love you, ATL!) each and every day ... and should we get picked up, all of you will get to see her extraordinary talent for yourselves. Her shirt says it all. Thank you, Nicky... for everything." Tom Spezialy and Joseph Iberti also exec produce.
Lindelof's take is set in an alternate history where "superheroes" are treated as outlaws. Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original trailblazing graphic novel while attempting to break ground of its own.
Character details surrounding Watchmen are being kept under lock and key. Here's everyone who has been cast (so far) along with any cryptic information about who they may be portraying.
Regina King (The Leftovers)
Jeremy Irons (The Borgias) as an aging and imperious lord of a British manor.
Don Johnson (Miami Vice)
Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman)
Adelaide Clemens (Rectify)
Andrew Howard (Hatfields & McCoys)
Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow)
Frances Fisher (Titanic)
Jacob Ming-Trent (SuperFly)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down, Aquaman)
Sara Vickers (The Alienist)
PATH TO THE SCREEN
First published in 1986 and collected in 1987, Watchmen was created by Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins. The series was named one of the 100 best novels by Time. Rumors of HBO tackling Watchmen first surfaced in 2015, when the cabler noted it was in preliminary discussions for a TV take on the property. Snyder, who was briefly attached to the HBO project in 2015, adapted the comic and brought the title's "Minutemen" crime fighters to the big screen in 2009 with Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson starring. The film, produced by Warner Bros. with a $130 million production budget, grossed a disappointing $107.5 million domestically and $185.3 million worldwide. Snyder is not attached to Lindelof's HBO take, which was first announced in June 2017. HBO picked up Watchmen to pilot in September 2017, when it opened a writers room and ordered back-up scripts — both a good sign of a likely series pickup.