People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Friday, January 16, 2009
  First Watchmen post of '09!
Great news today for comic book geeks: The lawsuit filed by 20th Century Fox trying to block the March 6 release of the Watchmen film has been settled. I'm no entertainment lawyer, but as a huge fan of the original book, dirJeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian (AP Photo/Warner Bros.)ector Zack Snyder's work and movies in general, I'd been keeping an eye on this story, which first started to get serious around Christmas time when a judge agreed to hear the case. I was never that worried that the finished film wouldn't get its planned release date, at least not over this lawsuit, but it's nice to know that it's settled and the movie will come out as intended. Presumably Fox – which passed on the film, and then apparently decided they did want a a piece of it after all when the trailers first hit to incredible buzz, and I assume The Dark Knight's huge success, which proved there is a market out there after all for intelligent, complex films about superheroes didn't hurt either – is getting a ton of money in return for dropping the suit.

I came across an interesting open letter by one of the film's producers, Lloyd Levin, about a week ago. He's been trying to get the film made for more than a decade now, and I found his input on this situation to be pretty insightful. Here's his take on the Fox issue:

From my point of view, the flashpoint of this dispute, came in late spring of 2005. Both Fox and Warner Brothers were offered the chance to make Watchmen. They were submitted the same package, at the same time. It included a cover letter describing the project and its history, budget information, a screenplay, the graphic novel, and it made mention that a top director was involved.

And it's at this point, where the response from both parties could not have been more radically different.

The response we got from Fox was a flat "pass." That's it. An internal Fox email documents that executives there felt the script was one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years. Conversely, Warner Brothers called us after having read the script and said they were interested in the movie - yes, they were unsure of the screenplay, and had many questions, but wanted to set a meeting to discuss the project, which they promptly did. Did anyone at Fox ask to meet on the movie? No. Did anyone at Fox express any interest in the movie? No. Express even the slightest interest in the movie? Or the graphic novel? No.

Read the whole thing here if you're interested. It's a little moot now that the case has been settled and Watchmen is officially on track for its March 6 release date, but I'm a sucker for inside stories about how Hollywood actually works. And as a longtime fan of Watchmen, which was considered unfilmable up until footage from Snyder's film started coming out, I can say that if this film is half as good (and loyal to the source material) as it appears to be, the project's 15-year-long trip to the screen will have been worth every minute.

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