Tim Blake Nelson recently revealed that he’ll be playing Looking Glass in Damon Lindelof‘s Watchmen TV series for HBO, a brand new character that doesn’t appear in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘ original comic series. But according to the actor, Looking Glass wasn’t much of a character to begin with before he came aboard the project. During an interview for the Coen Brothers‘ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Collider’s own Christina Radish asked Nelson about his Watchmen role, which Lindelof apparently beefed up significantly once the O Brother, Where Art Thou? actor signed on.
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 also discussed the tone of the series—which is not a direct adaptation but more of a side-sequel in the comic’s universe—which he described as “absolutely right.”
“I’ll only say that I haven’t encountered a false note,” the actor said. “And I’ll also say that I’ve been allowed to color my own work, in a way that’s very specific to the world that I knew, growing up. That’s been great for me. It’s been really rewarding, and I very much appreciated Damon’s openness to that.”
Our full interview with Tim Blake Nelson will be on Collider.com soon.