Watchmen is a 2009 film adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comic book limited series Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder. The film stars Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie and Carla Gugino. Set in 1985, the film follows a group of former vigilantes as war begins to break out between the United States and the Soviet Union. The film began shooting in Vancouver in September 2007 for release on March 6, 2009. Like his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but unlike that film, he chose not to shoot all the film using chroma key.
Following the novel’s 1986 publication, the film adaptation was mired in development hell. Producer Lawrence Gordon began developing the project at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. with producer Joel Silver and director Terry Gilliam, the latter eventually deeming the complex novel unfilmable. During the 2000s, Gordon and Lloyd Levin collaborated with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures to produce a script by David Hayter (who set it in modern times). Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were attached to Paramount’s project, before it was canceled over budget disputes. The project returned to Warner Bros., with Paramount handling international rights, where Snyder was hired to direct in 2006. Fox is now suing Gordon for failing to pay a buy-out in 1991, which enabled him to develop the film at the other studios.
A DVD based on elements of the Watchmen universe will be released; it will include an animated adaptation of the comic Tales of the Black Freighter within the story, starring Gerard Butler, and the documentary Under the Hood, detailing the older generation of superheroes from the film’s back-story. An extended edition of the film, with Tales of the Black Freighter edited in a manner reminiscent of the comic, is also possible.