Watchmen: The Old Script

I had a copy of this Watchmen movie script in the mid-90s. Actually, I still do. It was written by then-hot screenwriter San Hamm, who’d written the first Batman movie. It is the reason I have been dreading a film adaptation for so long.

At the time, several names were thrown around — Robin Williams at Rorschach, William Hurt as Ozymandias, Kenneth Branagh as Nite Owl. (My vote for Dan Dreiberg at the time: Dan Aykroyd.) Thankfully this never got made. This is the script that appeared before Terry Gilliam tried to make it, and then Gilliam’s idea died again because Terry and Alan Moore concluded that it couldn’t and shouldn’t be made. Also, Warner wouldn’t let them stick to the book as closely as they wanted to.

While I strongly believe that a 12-part HBO miniseries is the ultimate way to tell this story on film, I am still optomistic about Zack Snyder’s version. But I urge you to grab your most plentiful alcoholic beverage — it does not have to be your favorite, there just has to be a lot of it — and read the old, long-dead script this weekend. If possible, invite friends over and each take a part. If you don’t have the time, read the beginning and the end. The middle bits are actually not that bad, considering the time, the Batman influence, and the fact that they were trying to make it into a 90-minute rollercoaster. They actually tried to stick to one of the main plots, so I give them credit there. But the first scene and the final scene are unforgiveable.

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