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Watchmen: Tim Blake Nelson says Damon Lindelof enlarged his role just for him

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Nov 11, 2018, 11:48 AM EST

While not much is known about Damon Lindelof's Watchmen "remix" coming to HBO, we do know that it'll have one hell of a cast. Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, and Tim Blake Nelson have all been confirmed for the graphic novel adaptation, which is currently in production.  

Speaking to Collider, Nelson (who is playing Looking Glass) revealed that Lindelof was originally unsure of casting him in a role that might not have been meaty enough. After some soul-searching, however, Lindelof decided to expand the part, as he very much wanted to work with the Holes actor. 

"I talked to [Lindelof] on the phone, and it was an evolving process for Watchmen, which in part is what makes Damon so interesting. He, like the Coens, is very much in control, but he also improvises, to a degree, with what he has. And so, I was approached for Watchmen by his (producing) partner, Tom Spezialy," Nelson said. 

"I read it and I read my character, and I found him interesting, but one doesn’t want to leap into television without knowing where a character is headed. And Damon, frankly, said, 'Well, I’m not sure about this guy and whether there’s going to be enough for you, to where you would want to play this role. I’m not sure that having you in this role would be gesturally right, in terms of the casting, with what I have in mind for him. You may be, in a sense, too big of a gun to shoot a fly.' But then, he started thinking about it and he changed his take on the role. He said, 'You know what? I really would like you to be a part of this. Here’s how I wanna enlarge the role. If you’ll trust me, then I’d really like you to come on board.' What he had to say was certainly enough, but more importantly, the pilot script and what it seemed like he wanted to address with the show, which is way beyond your run of the mill comic adaptation, really intrigued me."

Looking Glass is not a character that appears in the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, but as we said, Lindelof is playing fast and loose with the iconic source material.

During a chat with Empire Magazine, Nelson described Looking Glass as "interesting" and "intriguing," admitting that he didn't fully understand the character, something that was meant to be intentional. In that very same report, an alleged casting was mentioned, painting the character as:  “A good looking cop, the native Oklahoman isn't simple as his rural accent makes him appear to be. A top interrogator and behavioral scientist, he may also be a bit of a sociopath.”

“I’ll only say that I haven’t encountered a false note,” Nelson added in his Collider interview. “And I’ll also say that I’ve been allowed to color my own work, in a way that’s very specific to the world that I knew, growing up. That’s been great for me. It’s been really rewarding, and I very much appreciated Damon’s openness to that.”

The first look we saw of the series was a cryptic photo of a Rorscach-esque individual in a policeman's uniform and a yellow mask over their face. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Jeremy Irons would be playing an older version of Adrien Veidt/Ozymandius, while Jean Smart portrays a currently-unnamed FBI agent. 

Tim Blake Nelson next appears in the Coen Brothers' Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western anthology film that arrives on Netflix Nov. 16.