Who watches the Watchmen?
Hopefully all of us will, come March 6th. For those of you just joining us, Watchmen is considered by many to both the Holy Grail of graphic novels and one of the hardest stories to adapt for the silver screen. The term "development hell" probably doesn't even to explain how long this epic has been bouncing around Hollywood. It's been an arduous road, but fans have been salivating in anticipation ever since Warner Brothers and Zack Snyder (and his creative team) joined forces to finally make a film version a reality.
Enter Fox. A little less than a year ago (with the WB-financed production fully underway), Fox filed suit against Warner, citing that they had the rights to the materials. Things grew quiet on the legal front for a while, but with the film in the can and promotions moving into high gear, the drama has reared its ugly head once again. The case of who has the film rights is finally moving forward, just in time to throw a monkey wrench into everything.
For the most part, everything that's been revealed thus far in this saga online has been little bits and scraps of news and rumor, along with a ton of fanboy editorial commenting. However another entry has been made in the legal drama surrounding one of 2009's most anticipated movies and this one carries quite a bit of weight behind it.
Lloyd Levin, one of the producers on Watchmen, wrote an open letter and sent it to Drew McWeeny at HitFix. Drew posted it yesterday and it's just too good to pass up. Here's a taste of what Levin shares:
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.
There's a lot more to digest, so head over to HitFix to get the whole picture. It's frustrating that this sort of thing might derail and delay the release of the movie, but in a way it's peversely fitting. It's been such a struggle to finally get this movie done, what's one final hurdle? Here's hoping that true justice will be done.