Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino & Patrick Wilson Interview – WATCHMEN

     August 10, 2008

Okay…I know Comic-Con a little while ago. And yes…I know the interviews that I’ll be posting this week should’ve been online already. But what you may not know is…I got hurt at Comic-Con, as the back of Hall H collapsed and a beam holding the curtains fell and landed on my head. While it didn’t hit me at full force (or I’d be a lot worse off than I am) it did some damage and it’s taken me a number of days to get back on my feet. I won’t bore you with any more of the details except to say I’m finally starting to feel a lot more like myself so by the end of this week all the interviews that are left on my desktop will be posted.

Anyhow, the interview below is with Carla Gugino (Silk Spectre), Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II) & Patrick Wilson (Nite Owl) for the movie “Watchmen.”

For the two readers that don’t know about “Watchmen,” the movie is directed by the brilliant Zack Snyder and it’s based on the iconic graphic novel from 1986. Here’s the official synopsis:

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA‘s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the watchmen?

Just to be clear…the interview below was done backstage at Comic-Con in roundtable form. Also, it was done right after they showed the “Watchmen” footage to 7,000 screaming fans…so needless to say…everyone was in great spirits. And with that, enjoy the interview….

Q: [to Carla] Correct me if I’m wrong but you don’t’ seem old enough to be her mom?

Malin Akerman: No. No way.

Carla Gugino: No, thankfully. No, we were saying as peers that it was such a wild…when Zack first said “I would love to talk to you about playing this character” I thought “Well this sounds amazing but in the graphic novel especially there’s so much more of Sally Jupiter older than there is…we have the flashback to the rape and a couple of brief moments but… So I thought that’s interesting. I would think he’d want a much older actress and ultimately he added in, in a way sort of showing the passage of time and how we come from the 40s to the 80s. He ended up adding in a lot more images of her as a young woman also because I think you need to see Sally Jupiter shine in her own right so that you can understand why she tries to enclose that on Laurie and that becomes such a… so it was, yes, yes, so I was in full prosthetics when we were doing this, otherwise it never would have worked.

Q: You two worked together as mother and daughter in kind of a specialized relationship?

Carla Gugino: It was a really natural sort of connection for us in our lives.

Malin Akerman: We were up there for… we probably had about 3 weeks to sort of just hang out together and get to know each other and we definitely just got along right away. Like you said, we have a lot of similarities in our lives and in our families that sort of brought us even closer so we could relate these characters to things that have happened in our lives and sharing those with each other so that we knew when we were doing our scenes where that was coming from.

Carla Gugino: Exactly.

Malin Akerman: So you can just feel a lot more. I mean we really had an advantage that we had that time.

Carla Gugino: I know. I feel so grateful for that.

Malin Akerman: Because of the magnitude of this film and what it’s about, all of us, we all had a bit of time to actually get to know each other and understand each other through the rehearsals and the fight training and it was just a really amazing process.

Carla Gugino: There wasn’t that much screen time to really establish that relationship either but I think any daughter who says that their relationship with their mother isn’t complicated on some level, probably like any son and their father… I mean it’s just an intense, complex thing so it was great to be able to have the chance for us to talk about all of those elements in our own lives because it does bring things to light.

Q: Are you now fans of the graphic novel?

Carla Gugino: Absolutely.

Malin Akerman: But we’re like…

Carla Gugino: Yeah, except for him. [referring to Patrick Wilson].

Malin Akerman: He’s a naysayer.

Carla Gugino: No.

Q: One of the interesting things about the graphic novel is that when these two characters meet, you would never see them together but the minute they put on those costumes and pursue their personas it’s like wow, that’s really sexy. Was that kind of how it was on the set for your characters?

Patrick Wilson: We didn’t get along unless we were wearing clothes? Yeah, you know, it was funny. We wanted to be very specific about what Dan and Laurie…because we knew where it was going so it was important to start like okay, what was the relationship like at those first few meetings and I remember setting up…when we did the picture at the meeting with the crime busters we call the Watchmen, and just like a look and then her look is swayed by Manhattan and then Dan gets sad and then it’s like, you know, those little kernels of…it’s like you feel like they had very little time. There was something there obviously so … and I don’t think it’s any surprise that like when Rorschach comes in and reminds… sort of maybe wakes this light up, when Laurie says “You know, I was just going to give Dan a call.” It’s like she’s the one who reaches out and Dan is sort of very willing. The funny thing is all these questions are really answered in the graphic novel which is super exciting. So anytime we had any question about a character or a relationship, it was all there.

Q: Each character has a different reaction to the overarcing climate at the end of the book. Did you guys find your characters’ stances different from your own stances when you read the story?

Malin Akerman: You know, I’m still undecided on the ending because there are so many arguments for both ways. I mean it sounds awful to agree with one or the other or does it? I mean it’s just…Personally I must say that I still am undecided and I love the way the novel ends. I just loved that it’s possible that your audience is going to walk out of the theater and think about that specific ending and go “Is it right? Is it wrong?” And that’s what I love about the ending. I think it’s so brilliant.

Patrick Wilson: Well when your villain is outwardly striving for world peace…

Malin Akerman: I know. It’s out of control. It throws you for a loop.

Carla Gugino: No. It turns everything on its head which is what’s so cool about the script.

Q: How challenging is it to figure out the whole story? If you’re a fan from the beginning, it’s one thing, but when you get attached to the film based on the novel, to read it it’s really knowing you’re going to have to answer all these questions, how challenging is it to remember everything?

Patrick Wilson: I don’t know. I feel like we’ve lived this so long.

Malin Akerman: Yeah. I think so.

Patrick Wilson: If anything, we just need like little sparks to sort of reignite it. I mean the script is very faithful to the graphic novel so…

Malin Akerman: And I think that definitely I speak for myself but I absolutely am very aware of the pressure of how huge this novel is for so many people and now for us too. We’ve all become fans of the novel. I think when you live it and you breathe it for 6 months straight, you can’t forget. You know, there’s just no way. And we’ve gotten to live it which not a lot of people have had the opportunity to do so I think we’ve been more…and someone else who’s read the novels for 10 years straight now has so many different views and insights. It’ll take me another 10 years to figure out because you have to read it about 20 times to get every single piece and every single moment because it’s so dense. But I think we can all come out of it and just give you our opinion and sort of how we felt and how it feels for us and how we can relate to it.

Patrick Wilson: We’re fans first.

Carla Gugino: That’s it. Yeah.

Q: I’m curious. There’s a lot in the novel. They talked about it being made into a 5-hour movie on Watchmen with how much stuff there is. Do you recall any scene or scenes that they were able to combine almost two different areas and put it into that one scene to advance the story and try to keep as much control?

Malin Akerman: Didn’t we do that with some of the flashback stuff?

Carla Gugino: Not really. That’s a more Zack question because…

Patrick Wilson: …because we don’t even know really what’s in there now.

Carla Gugino: There wasn’t any scene that I was involved in that was apparently…

Patrick Wilson: I mean we would take lines… If there were lines that you felt like really … I mean this happened in almost every scene I think with me but I would always go back to the graphic novel and if there was some line that I felt like really was super important, I’d want to throw it in. Oh I’d give you one thing because I know because I lived it. I remember thinking there were so many times in the graphic novel where either Dan or Laurie would say, “Well this is getting heavy” and I loved that because it’s so like 70s. And it wasn’t in the script – and god I hope it’s in there now or I’m going to feel stupid – but I remember because I watched it when we were doing some looping and I remember being in the Owl Ship and I said “You know, I would love to throw in one of these because we needed some random like driving stuff or flying stuff. And I said, “I’d love to throw in a ‘gettin’ heavy’ because we haven’t done that in the movie.” When they say it, it’s so like “What!? Who said that?!” But I loved it – especially Laurie – they sort of meet on this very like 70s level because that’s like when they were really cool. So that was thrown in there. That’s certainly not in the flying scene to Antarctica but I remember throwing it in there. You know. Just little lines like that. To me, that’s very important, all that language. That dialogue is so specific.

Malin Akerman: Absolutely.

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