A Puppet Who Can See the Strings: Watchmen Producer Speaks Out

Lloyd Levin, a producer on the much-anticipated and hotly-contested Watchmen, has something to say about the custody battle currently raging between Fox (which had the rights for mumblemumble years and did nothing with them) and Warner Brothers (which supported an awesome movie but should maybe have made a phone call before this to make sure the rights weren’t tied up someplace). Yesterday Levin posted a letter on the entertainment blog Hitfix to elaborate on his position.

Refreshingly, our man Levin is not spouting some party line about how they hope it can be resolved; he is furious about how the movie is suddenly being treated as a hot commodity after twenty years of struggle, and he’s not afraid to call Fox out on their prior disinterest in the property.

There were those who considered the project but who wished it were somehow different: Could it be a buddy movie, or a team-up movie or could it focus on one main character; did it have to be so dark; did so many people have to die; could it be stripped of its flashback structure; could storylines be eliminated; could new storylines be invented; did it have to be so long; could the blue guy put clothes on…

…One reason the movie was made was because Warner Brothers spent the time, effort and money to engage with and develop the project. If Watchmen was at Fox the decision to make the movie would never have been made because there was no interest in moving forward with the project.

…If the project had been sequestered at Fox, if Fox had any say in the matter, Watchmen simply wouldn’t exist today, and there would be no film for Fox to lay claim on. It seems beyond cynical for the studio to claim ownership at this point.

It also seems less than productive to condemn Fox at this point, since I think that Fox is pretty inured to being yelled at for sucking; however, this letter is an honest and revealing response from people who made Watchmen and are still so passionate about it, fifteen years later.

Some good news in this maelstrom of Movie Studio Divorce Court—viral marketing site The New Frontiersman is scheduled to go live soon, with some much-coveted behind-the-scenes information and goodies. For those who can’t wait for some more Watchmen news, some very-vaguely-spoilery new stills are up at TotalFilm.  Maybe these holdovers can slake our thirst for a movie whose timely release is looking more and more questionable.


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