Zack Snyder's says he made Watchmen to "save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world." How does Gilliam feel about that?
Long before Snyder became the guy to finally bring the iconic comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons to the big screen, Terry Gilliam was developing his own, never-produced version with screenwriter Charles McKeown. In that version, rather than engineering a fake alien attack on the world, Ozymandias solved the problem of world discord by convincing Dr. Manhattan to travel back in time and prevent his own creation, which eventually created an alternate timeline in which the Watchmen characters are simply comic-book superheroes and not real people.
After producer Joel Silver discussed Gilliam's ending in a recent interview, praising it as "a satisfying resolution to the story," Snyder responded with some remarks of his own. The Man of Steel director called the Gilliam ending "insane" and a concept that "has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel." He also called Watchmen "probably my favorite movie that I've made."
"I just love the movie and it was a labor of love," Snyder said. "And I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy. So, finally I made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world."
It was only a matter of time before someone asked Gilliam to respond to that, and today -- during a Reddit AMA to promote his upcoming film The Zero Theorem -- it happened. Gilliam first offered his thoughts on his and McKeown's script.
"I always felt it was not the best way to treat it because trying to squeeze it into 2.5 hours is an unlikely thing. I think we wrote an interesting version of it, but I think it needed more time to really work."
Then he responded to Snyder.
"I thought Zack's film worked well, but it suffered from the very problem that I was happy to avoid by not making the film," Gilliam said.
That's a fairly diplomatic response to Snyder's assertion that he saved us all from Gilliam's interpretation. As for the problem Gilliam avoided, we can probably safely assume he's referring to Snyder's almost (except for that somewhat altered ending) ironclad faithfulness to the source material. Gilliam's always been one to play with ideas in his own way, and he clearly did that with the Watchmen script.
So now Gilliam and Snyder have both had their say. Is the battle of Watchmen-That-Is versus Watchmen-That-Never-Was over now, or is someone still going to try and squeeze a comment out of Alan Moore?