With Damon Lindelof‘s authorized adaptation “remix” of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic 1986 DC Comics limited series Watchmen set to premiere on HBO in 2019, actor Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) is sharing some important details on his role in the series. Speaking with Empire Podcast, Nelson revealed tht he would be playing Looking Glass, a character who does not appear in the original series:
“My character’s name is Looking Glass, and it’s a really interesting, intriguing character. I don’t really completely understand him, and that’s intentional. Damon Lindelof metes out facts about your character as you go along […] so I’m learning as I go along who this guy is, and trying to … It’s almost like fresco painting. The clay is always wet.”
Empire also shared what they report is the official casting call description for Nelson’s character: “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.”
Speaking with Collider, Nelson described Lindelof’s approach to the project’s tone as “absolutely right;” and how he and Lindelof approached fleshing out the character from what was first planned:
“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.
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.”
Nelson’s revelation follows up on reports earlier this week that Jeremy Irons is set to play an older version of Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias aka the chief antagonist/protagonist of the original comics series. In addition, Jean Smart (Fargo, Legion) is on board as Agent Blake, an FBI agent assigned to track down vigilantes.
The cast for HBO’s Watchmen includes Irons, Nelson, Smart, Regina King, Don Johnson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk.
In May 2018, Lindelof shared a series of Instagram posts to update fans on progress on the project (with a pilot directed by Westworld and Castle Rock‘s Nicole Kassell – and to emphasize that his vision was not a direct adaptation of the original graphic novel, but rather a “remix” that’s utilizes important elements from the original story while telling its own narrative. Here are some excerpts from those posts:
“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.
They will however be remixed, Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with ‘Watchmen.’ The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica.”
“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely.”
“Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks…”