Darren Aronofsky

3.4250457038507 (1094)
Posted by bender 04/21/2009 @ 20:10

Tags : darren aronofsky, directors, cinema, entertainment

News headlines
EIFF 09: Darren Aronofsky On Robocop & Batman Year One - Cinema Blend
By Stuart Wood: 2009-06-23 06:23:39 When it was announced that director Darren Aronofsky was coming to EIFF, there was only one project everyone was dying to ask him about: the Robocop remake. That the person who asked about it did so in the most...
Natalie Portman set for Darren Aronofsky's 'Black Swan' - Entertainment Weekly
Natalie Portman is attached to star in Darren Aronofsky's thriller Swan Song, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The supernatural thriller about a New York City ballet dancer has gone through several incarnations since initially being set up at...
Natalie Portman in step with Black Swan - Screen Weekly
Natalie Portman has agreed to play the lead in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, a development that could help the stalled project take flight. Swan – a supernatural thriller set in the world of New York City ballet – was set up in early 2007 at Universal...
Christian Bale Getting Ready to Shoot The Fighter Very Soon - First Showing
by Alex Billington In April we all found out that the former Darren Aronofsky boxing project The Fighter would instead be directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) and that Christian Bale had joined the cast as Dicky Eklund opposite...
Hollywood Notes:Megan Fox, Hobbit, Darren Aronofsky - So Hood
Natalie Portman is attached to star in 'Black Swan,' an 'Others'-like supernatural thriller set in the world of New York City ballet (how's that for a tag line?). 'Wrestler' helmer Darren Aronofsky is on tap to direct. [The Hollywood Reporter] Add your...
Christian Bale Talks Fighter, Batman and Terminator - ScreenCrave.com
He seems to be eager to jump into Fighter, not only because it's being made by recently Academy Award nominated Director Darren Aronofsky but because of the fact that he has been boxing like crazy to get in shape for the role....
Original 'RoboCop' Screenwriter Says Darren Aronofsky's Reboot ... - MTV.com
It's our hunch that Darren Aronofsky, he of “The Wrestler” and “Requiem for a Dream” fame, will be leaning towards the latter when it comes to his announced “RoboCop” project. If nothing else, original “RoboCop” screenwriter and co-producer Ed Neumeier...
Aronofsky's Robocop reboot delayed - Examiner.com
Director Darren Aronofsky's upcoming Robocop film has been delayed until 2011, according to MGM, the parent company of the Robocop franchise. Aronofsky first gained prominence with his lo-fi alt-math thriller Pi, and then traumatised audiences with...
Aronofsky's Robocop Delayed Until 2011 - io9
He said director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, The Fountain) and screenwriter David Self (Road to Perdition) were still working on the script, and that no casting had been completed. The new Dynamite Comics Robocop title announced this week is only...
The Wrestler - TheCelebrityCafe.com
If there's one thing to notice about Darren Aronofsky's newest film, “The Wrestler,” it's the parallels between its lead actor and the character he portrays. Like Randy “The Ram” Robinson, Mickey Rourke knows what it's like to hit rock bottom,...

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky (born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American filmmaker, screenwriter and film producer.

Aronofsky was born in Brooklyn to Abraham "Abe" Aronofsky and Charlotte, both school teachers. His father taught science at the Yeshivah of Flatbush and was a dean at Bushwick High School.

He graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School, where he was selected to attend Camp Rising Sun, the Louis August Jonas Foundation's international summer scholarship program. Upon graduating early, he backpacked around the Middle East, Europe and Guatemala for six months and, in 1987, entered Harvard University where he studied anthropology, live action film and animation. His senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, starred his fellow student and friend Sean Gullette. It was a finalist in the 1991 Student Academy Awards. He graduated in 1991 with honors. He received his M.F.A. in directing from AFI and was honored with the institute's prestigious Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal.

The film is about a mathematical genius, Maximillian Cohen, who narrates much of the movie. Max, a number theorist, theorizes that everything in nature can be understood through numbers, and that if you graph the numbers properly patterns will emerge. He is working on finding patterns within the stock market, using its billions upon billions of variables as his data set with the assistance of his homemade supercomputer, Euclid.

After Joel Schumacher's poorly received Batman & Robin in 1997, many directors tried to bring a darker take on Batman to the big screen. Aronofsky came close to getting one started by signing on to do a low-budget take on Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. Christian Bale even said that he was about to sign on to the project just before it stalled in 2002. After Aronofsky's project failed, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer developed and completed Batman Begins in which Bale did eventually play the title role. Also during this time, Aronofsky was attached to film adaptions of Watchmen and Ronin, both of which ultimately fell through.

One of Aronofsky's favorite books is Hubert Selby Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn. While editing π, producer Eric Watson convinced Aronofsky to read another Selby book, Requiem for a Dream, which Aronofsky had actually started reading years before but never finished. He was moved by the novel and wanted to film an adaptation, quickly beginning work on the script with Selby. Aronofsky delivered a relentless and disturbing movie of hopes and dreams shattered and lives laid waste by various addictions. The film was a clinical depiction of the depths to which some people will sink to in the hope of attaining their dreams. The film premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and was greeted by a 13 minute standing ovation. It was released in the United States in October, 2000. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Sara Goldfarb.

Aronofsky next commenced writing an original screenplay entitled "The Last Man" -- later changed to "The Fountain" -- to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. In 2002, days away from the start of filming, Pitt pulled out due to "creative differences" and the film collapsed. Sets were auctioned off once Warner Bros. Productions shut down filming. Warner Bros. however, decided to simply shelve the project and keep it as an option, so long as Aronofsky could find the proper cast. In 2005, The Fountain was resurrected with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. It was done with minimal computer effects and no digital interpositive; that is, effected and printed optically using classic techniques not only to save costs but to faithfully preserve the original look of the film stock, unlike other modern films now. Though considered by some critics a challenging visual and philosophical achievement and one of the reasons other high-profile directors would choose to work with Jackman who finally showcased true dramatic chops, it was not a commercial success with worldwide box office sales of only $15 million from an already cut $35 million budget.

The Fountain was released in the United States on November 22, 2006. It was released on DVD in the United States and Canada on May 15, 2007.

Aronofsky directed The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke as professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson. The film tells the story of Robinson's decline, and eventual reentry into the pro wrestling scene. Filming began late January 2008 and wrapped two months later. The Wrestler won the prestigious Golden Lion prize at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, as well as two Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama for Rourke and Best Original Song for the song The Wrestler written and performed by Bruce Springsteen.

Currently, Aronofsky has also been confirmed to direct a new RoboCop movie, the film is intended to be a reboot instead of a remake; the film is scheduled to be released sometime in 2010.

Aronofsky is engaged to English actress Rachel Weisz. They began dating in 2002 and have a son, Henry Chance, born on May 31, 2006, in New York City. The couple resides in Brooklyn.

To the top

65th Venice International Film Festival

65th Venice Film International Festival

The 65th Venice International Film Festival, held in Venice, Italy, was opened on August 27, 2008 by Burn After Reading, and closed on September 6, 2008. International competition jury, led by Wim Wenders, awarded Leone d'Oro to The Wrestler, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

77-year-old Italian film director Ermanno Olmi received a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

The festival opened on August 27, 2008, with the highly anticipated film directed by the Coen brothers, Burn After Reading. Burn is not running in the official competition and thus is ineligible to win any prizes, but reaction in Venice will indicate whether Joel and Ethan Coen can repeat their success of 2008 with the Academy Award-winning Venice entry, No Country For Old Men.

Unlike the Cannes Film Festival, American filmmakers have only twice won the coveted prize at Venice (with the majority of prizes going to European or Asian filmmakers over the past 65 years). It is also famine for British films, as none were selected for competition in this year's festival. Despite the dearth of English-speaking films, several films at the fest are likely to make a splash at this year's Oscars in Hollywood. A trend has been that several films launched in Venice have gone on to garner multiple Academy Award nominations. In 2005, Taiwan-born director Ang Lee's film, Brokeback Mountain earned its director a Best Director Oscar. Lee has won the top prize at Venice twice in the past few years.

The glamour of the Venice Film Festival (attended by many high profile stars) as well as the link with the upcoming Academy Awards has helped raise the Venice Film Festival's profile. Nonetheless, the event has a long-established reputation for showcasing emerging cinema, including films from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and this year's lineup proves the same.

Festival organizers have announced that the fest's shorts competition will kick off September 1st with Natalie Portman's directorial debut, Eve. Rising Russian star Kseniya Rappoport will also host the opening and closing ceremonies.

German independent film director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) will head the Venice film jury.

The festival will close on September 6, 2008.

This year's Venice Film Festival's film selections had been widely criticized as being among the weakest in years, with some publications even describing it as the "worst ever". Later showings made It improve from bad to better, but it might have been too late.

The 65th Venice International Film Festival will be dedicated to the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine. Chahine who died recently at age 82, was a notable in post-war Arab cinema. Festival director Marco Mueller said, "Who else could have succeeded in mixing the philosopher Averroes with Fred Astaire? That's what cinema should be about," Mueller said, referring to Chahine's film "Destiny".

Of the 52 films selected to screen at this year's Venice Mostra, only 21 will be competing for the Golden Lion top prize.

Most of the films at Venice will be world premieres, including the "things that go boom" psychological thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker. The film deals with the physical and emotional strains faced by EOD bomb squads in Iraq. Also premiering at the festival is home-grown favorite Birdwatcher directed by Italy's own Marco Bechis. Other strong contenders for the coveted Golden Lion award are the Darren Aronofsky directed film, The Wrestler, and director Barbet Schroeder's entry, L'Inju: la Bete dans l'Ombre.

With no British pictures and a diminished U.S. presence, the Venice Film Festival will focus on Italian and Japanese cinema with four films from each country, including Oscar-winning animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki’s latest, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.

European films are also set to dominate the festival, due in part to the American Writer's Guild strike and the effects of the slow down in the film pipeline. Other theories for the lack of American films are the U.S. economy (with dollar’s slump vs. the euro), and Hollywood studio belt-tightening. The major U.S. studios have effectively gobbled up all the small independent labels, then went on to make poor development and/or marketing decisions causing the inevitable shuttering or downsizing of these same "independent" labels. Former "indies" such as Warner Independent, New Line and Paramount Vantage are ghosts of the past. The lucrative temptation for studios to bust their budgets with big tent pole films has also meant the hard squeeze on less expensive, but the more challenging-to-market independent films. Risk-averse U.S. majors are seemingly no longer as willing to foot the bill for innovative films made for grownups. Industry trade magazines have pronounced this both as a death and/or a subsequent potential rebirth or "reboot" for independent filmmaking.

African cinema is also well repped with Ethiopian director Haile Gerima's Teza and Algerian helmer Tariq Teguia is screening Inland.

Asia could win the Golden Lion for best film for the fourth year running. Leading the Japanese line-up is Akires to kame (Achilles and the Tortoise) directed by Takeshi Kitano. Kitano is a favored son in Venice, having already won the 1997 Leone d'Oro for Hana-bi (Fireworks) and who was awarded a special prize for his direction of Zatoichi in 2003.

Films being screen out of competition include 35 Rums by French director Claire Denis, Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami's film, Shirin and an autobiographical documentary by Belgium-born director Agnes Varda.

The "record" for the longest film at this festival (or maybe any) goes to Philippine director Lav Diaz's Melancholia, with a running time of some seven-and-a-half hours, and which is included in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section.

A highlight of this year’s Italian retrospective is a restored version of Federico Fellini’s 1952 comedy The White Sheik with forty minutes of newly discovered footage.

New works by directors who have been honored in past festivals, as well as movies shown in the midnight time band.

New trends of cinema with full-length films in 35mm and digital format, and documentary-movies.

To the top

Christian Bale

Christian Bale - 002.jpg

Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is a Welsh-born English actor whose film credits include American Psycho, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, 3:10 To Yuma, and the upcoming film Terminator Salvation, in which he will play the role of John Connor. In addition to starring roles, such as Batman, in big budget Hollywood films, he has long been heavily involved in independent and art house films.

Bale first caught the public eye when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun at the age of 13, playing an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Since then, he has portrayed a wide range of characters. Bale is especially noted for his cult following: the tenth anniversary issue of Entertainment Weekly hailed him as one of the "Top 8 Most Powerful Cult Figures of the Past Decade", citing his cult status on the Internet. Entertainment Weekly called Bale one of the "Most Creative People in Entertainment", after his performance in American Psycho.

Although Bale was born in Wales, his parents were South African-born entrepreneur, commercial pilot, and talent manager David Bale, and English circus clown and performer Jenny James. He is the youngest of four children. After leaving Wales in 1976, Bale spent his childhood in several countries, including England, Portugal, and the United States.

Settling for four years in Bournemouth and Henley-on-Thames, Bale attended Bournemouth School and Shiplake C of E Primary school respectively. He participated actively in rugby union. Bale has described his childhood, with respect to his mother being in the circus, as "interesting". He recalled his first kiss was with an acrobat named Barta. As a child, he trained in ballet and guitar. His sister Louise's work in theatre also influenced his decision to become an actor. Bale's father was very supportive of his son's acting, resigning from his job as a commercial pilot to travel and manage Bale's burgeoning career. The elder Bale later married feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and died on 30 December 2003, from brain lymphoma, aged 62.

Bale's first foray into acting was a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor in 1982, when he was eight years old. He appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial playing a child rock star a year later and in 1984 made his stage debut in the The Nerd, opposite Rowan Atkinson.

Bale made his film debut as Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia in the made-for-television film Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1986, which was followed by leading roles in the miniseries Heart of the Country and the fantasy adventure Mio in the Land of Faraway, in which he appeared for the first time with Christopher Lee and Nick Pickard.

In 1987, Amy Irving, his co-star in Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, recommended Bale to her then-husband, Steven Spielberg, for a role in Empire of the Sun, adapted from the J.G. Ballard semi-autobiography. Bale's performance as Jim Graham earned him widespread critical praise and the first ever "Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor" award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The attention the press and his schoolmates lavished upon him after this took a toll on Bale, and he contemplated giving up acting until Kenneth Branagh approached him and persuaded him to appear in Henry V in 1989. In 1990 he played the role of Jim Hawkins opposite Charlton Heston (as Long John Silver) in Treasure Island, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic book.

In 1993, Bale starred as Jack Kelly in the Disney musical Newsies, and followed it up in 1993 with another release, Swing Kids, a movie about teenagers who secretly listened to forbidden jazz during the rise of Nazi Germany. Bale was recommended by actress Winona Ryder to star in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 film Little Women. Bale provided the voice for Thomas, a young compatriot of Captain John Smith, in Disney's Pocahontas (1995) and in 1997 played Arthur Stuart in Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes' tribute to glam rock. In 1999, Bale contributed to an all-star cast, including Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, and Rupert Everett, portraying Demetrius in an updated version of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

On April 14, 2000, Lions Gate Films released American Psycho in theatres. Bale was later approached to make a cameo appearance in another Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, The Rules of Attraction, a film loosely connected to American Psycho, but he declined out of loyalty to Harron's vision of Bateman, which he felt could not be properly expressed by anyone else. In 2000, he played the villain in John Singleton's remake of 1971's Shaft.

Bale played an assortment of diverse characters from 2001 onwards. His first role after American Psycho was in the John Madden adaptation of the best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Bale played Mandras, a Greek fisherman who vied with Nicolas Cage's title character for the affections of the desirable Pelagia (Penelope Cruz). Captain Corelli's Mandolin was Bale's second time working with John Hurt, after All the Little Animals.

From 2002 to 2003, Bale starred in three feature films. Laurel Canyon (2002) was generally well received by critics. This film also marked the second time he worked with actress Kate Beckinsale, his costar in Prince of Jutland (1994). Critics generally focused on star Frances McDormand's performance over the rest of the cast.

Reign of Fire was Bale's first action vehicle and had, compared to all his previous work, an immense budget estimated at US$95,000,000. Bale entered into negotiations about starring in the film with reservations, but director Rob Bowman convinced him to take the lead role. Bale starred as Quinn Abercromby opposite Matthew McConaughey's Denton Van Zan. Bale and McConaughey trained for their respective roles by boxing and working out.

Equilibrium was Bale's third film of 2002, costing US$20 million to produce but earning just over US$5 million worldwide. In Equilibrium, Bale played John Preston, an elite law enforcer in a dystopian society. Equilibrium featured a fictional martial art called Gun Kata that combined gunfighting with hand-to-hand combat. According to moviebodycounts.com, the character of John Preston has the third most on-screen kills in a single movie ever with 118, exactly half of the movie's total of 236.

After a year's hiatus, Bale returned in 2004 to play Trevor Reznik, the title character in the psychological thriller The Machinist. Bale gained attention for his devotion to the role and for the lengths to which he went to achieve Reznik's emaciated, skeletal appearance. He went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds (4st 4lb / 27 kg) in a matter of months. By the end of filming Bale weighed only 121 pounds (8st 9lb / 55 kg), a transformation he described as "very calming mentally" and which drew comparisons to Robert De Niro's alternate weight-gaining regimen for his role as Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. Bale claimed that he had not worked for a period of time before he was cast in the film. "...I just hadn't found scripts that I'd really been interested in. So I was really dying for something to arrive. Then when this one did, I just didn't want to put it down. I finished it and, upon the kind of revelation that you get at the end, I immediately wanted to go back and re-visit it, to take a look at what clues I could have gotten throughout." The Machinist was a low-budget production, costing roughly US$5 million to produce, and was given only a limited US release.

Bale, an admirer of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, was then cast as the voice of the title character, Howl, in the English language dub of the Japanese director's fantasy anime adventure Howl's Moving Castle, an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ children's novel. Its profits in the US were US$4,711,096, a fraction of its worldwide gross (US$235,184,110).

It was reported that Bale had previously auditioned for the role of Robin in Batman Forever (1995), but lost out to Chris O'Donnell. However, this rumour was later dispelled by Bale himself in a magazine interview in 2008. In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the coveted role of Bruce Wayne/Batman and was set to star in the Christopher Nolan-helmed Batman Begins, a reboot of the Batman franchise without any ties to the Burton or Schumacher films. Bale beat out Jake Gyllenhaal, the closest competition for the role, a situation reversed when Bale lost the part of Anthony Swofford in Jarhead (2005) to Gyllenhaal.

Still fresh from The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman's muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: “...when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn’t do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that.” With the help of a personal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100lbs (46 kg) in six months. He went from about 130lbs to 230lbs. He then discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190lbs by the time filming began.

Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batman suit. He dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast in his portrayal. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: “Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He's capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he's constantly having to rein himself in.” For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. “You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask,” he said. “But I'm not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman.” When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.

Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on June 15, 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135,000,000 to produce and taking in over US$370,000,000 in returns worldwide. Bale earned the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for his performance.

After Batman Begins, Bale returned to doing independent films. He was cast as one of the two leads in the South Central David Ayer-helmed crime drama Harsh Times, co-starring with Freddy Rodriguez and Eva Longoria. Bale played Jim Luther Davis, a grim Afghanistan War veteran afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, inexplicably approached by the Department of Homeland Security and hired as a federal agent. Harsh Times premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and had a wide release on 10 November 2006.

Terrence Malick directed The New World, a period piece inspired by the stories of Pocahontas, and Bale was cast as John Rolfe. He shared the screen with Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher, who played John Smith and Pocahontas. The majority of screen time was devoted to Farrell and Kilcher; Bale was a secondary character, and only appeared during the last third of the film. The film was a failure at the U.S. box office and its worldwide total (US$29,506,437) fell short of turning a profit (the production budget was placed at US$30,000,000).

In 2006, Bale took on four projects. Rescue Dawn, by German filmmaker Werner Herzog, had him playing U.S. Fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, who has to fight for his life after being shot down while on a mission during the Vietnam War. Bale left a strong impression on Herzog, with the director complimenting his acting abilities: “I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman Begins.” In The Prestige, an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about a rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Bale was reunited with Batman Begins' Michael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. The cast of The Prestige also included Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, and David Bowie. I'm Not There, a film in which Bale again worked alongside Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger (who would go on to play The Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight), is an artistic reflection of the life of Bob Dylan. He also starred with Russell Crowe in a commercially and critically successful remake of the Western film 3:10 to Yuma. Bale was originally cast to play George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's film W., but dropped out due to the prosthetics involved.

Bale reprised his role as Batman in The Dark Knight, the 2008 sequel to Batman Begins. He trained in the Keysi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in Australia on 16 July 2008 and in the United States two days later. The film stormed through the box-office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the United States in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 16 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new United States box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

Bale has been cast as the role of John Connor in the upcoming Terminator Salvation film, and will appear as FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann's Public Enemies. Writer/director Joe Carnahan confirmed in November 2007 that Bale is also involved in the upcoming Killing Pablo in which he is to play Major Steve Jacoby. According to a Nuts magazine interview, Bale stated that he will be in the running to play the role of Solid Snake in a film adaptation of Metal Gear Solid.

On 29 January 2000, Bale married Bosnian-American Sandra “Sibi” Blažić (born 1970), a one-time model, make-up artist, and personal assistant to Winona Ryder; Ryder co-starred with Bale in Little Women. He has a daughter with Blazic named Emmeline, who was born on 27 March 2005, in Santa Monica, California. Since 1992, Bale has been residing in Los Angeles.

Bale has three older sisters – Erin Bale, a musician; Sharon Bale, a computer professional; and Louise Bale, a theatre actress and director. The Bale family is deeply rooted in show business, especially theatre. Bale is a distant relative of British actress Lillie Langtry, while his uncle, Rex Bale, and maternal grandfather were actors as well.

Like his father, David, Bale is known as an activist, and supports Greenpeace and animal welfare groups such as the World Wildlife Fund. He has been a vegetarian since age six when he read Charlotte's Web and made the connection between animals and meat. Feminist activist Gloria Steinem became Bale's stepmother, and a first-time bride (at age 66), when she married David Bale on 3 September 2000. The marriage ended with the death of the elder Bale in 2003.

On 22 July 2008, Bale attended a London police station by appointment and was arrested in connection with an alleged assault on his mother, Jenny, and sister, Sharon, who called the authorities. After being held for more than four hours, he was released on bail, pending further investigation. He has denied these allegations. On 14 August, British police declared that they would take no further action against him. The charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Actors Whoopi Goldberg and Terry Crews, directors Darren Aronofsky and Ron Howard, as well as Ain't It Cool News website creator Harry Knowles have also publicly defended Bale's actions, some of them citing the practice that crew members are to remain still while the camera is rolling. Lucian Piane, a composer and music producer with the Internet alias RevoLucian, recorded "Bale Out", a comedic techno remix of Bale's verbal rant, which received more than 200,000 hits on MySpace and YouTube in one day. Stephen Colbert parodied the incident on the February 4 episode of The Colbert Report, in which guest Steve Martin repeatedly walked in front of the camera and was berated by Colbert. An episode of the animated TV series Family Guy also mixes in the voice of Peter Griffin interacting with and reacting to Bale's comments as if they were directed at him, also for comedic effect.

To the top

Sean Gullette

Sean Gullette.jpg

Sean Gullette (born June 4, 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a writer, actor, and filmmaker.

He was born in Boston and attended public schools and Harvard, where he acted in theater and films and directed plays.

Gullette lives in Tangier, Morocco, and in addition to his film work is the founder of the 212 Society, a US non-profit which supports cultural and educational projects in Morocco, including The Cinematheque de Tanger and Darna. The 212 Society and takes its name from the 212 telephone codes of its home city and adoptive country.

He is represented by Craig Cohen, of Chemistry; the William Morris Agency, for voiceover; Paradigm, for commercial work; and CO-OP for commercial and music video direction. His agent for acting in Europe is Juanita Fallag of Artistes de Cinema et Theatre, Paris.

Gullette and photographer Yto Barrada have a baby daughter, Vega Violet.

His professional work in film began in 1996, when he co-wrote and played the lead role in the award-winning π, directed by longtime collaborator Darren Aronofsky. He has since played principal and supporting roles in some twenty films including Brad Anderson's Happy Accidents (with Vincent D'Onofrio and Marisa Tomei) and Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream (with Jennifer Connelly), the German film Toskana Karrussel (with Susanna Lothar) and as a guest actor on network TV dramas. His occasional theater work has included the lead in the New York premiere of Susan Sandler's If I Were a Train.

In 2009 he will appear in principal roles in Blue Ridge, directed by Vincent Sweeney, and The Room, with Nikolai Kinski and Morjana Alaoui, directed by Michael Dreher.

Sean is in talks to play the lead role in Tula Station, directed by Sergio Maroquin, from the award-winning novel by David Toscana, and the lead role in Lilith, a thriller from french director Fabien Martorell.

Gullette's spoken word piece is featured on the track "Song of Alice" from Israeli-French singer Keren Ann's fourth album, "Nolita" (2004) on Blue Note/Capitol/EMI Records.

His feature film screenwriting projects have included Trinity,Conviction, Monopolis and Kilroy. He wrote and is a producer of Thanksgiving, starring Yolonda Ross, James Urbaniak and Seymour Cassel. He wrote "New York Stories" for Donna Karan's DKNY, and directed the "Von Hummer the 1st" series of promotional spots for VH1, starring James Urbaniak. He wrote and directed a trio of short films now in post-production, and produced Nicole Zaray's gender-inverted short film Joe's Day, featuring Deborah Harry. He has also consulted on screenplays for Warner Brothers, Paramount, and independent productions.

Sean's essays, journalism and fiction have been published in magazines including The Face, Spy, Slate, Bidoun, Brill's Content, Gear, Entertainment Weekly, and KGB magazine (which he founded as editor and publisher in 1991.) His essay "Mile High" appears in the NYU Press' book 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11, and his essay "Notes" appears in the Springer-Verlag anthology Art, Technology, and Cinema.

To the top

Watchmen (film)


Watchmen is a 2009 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder. Based on the 1986-1987 comic book limited series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the film adaptation stars Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. Set in an alternate-history 1985, Watchmen follows a group of former vigilantes as tensions heighten between the United States and the Soviet Union while an investigation of an apparent conspiracy against them uncovers something even more grandiose and sinister. The film began shooting in Vancouver in September 2007. As with his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but he chose to not shoot all of Watchmen using chroma key and opted for more sets.

Following the series' 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. Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were also attached to the project before it was cancelled over budget disputes. The project returned to Warner Bros., where Snyder was hired to direct – Paramount remained as international distributor. Fox sued Warner Bros. for copyright violation arising from Gordon's failure to pay a buy-out in 1991, which enabled him to develop the film at the other studios. Fox and Warner Bros. settled this before the film's release with Fox receiving a portion of the gross.

Watchmen was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on March 6, 2009, grossing $55 million on the opening weekend, and with a total income of over $180 million at the worldwide box office as of April 21, 2009. Watchmen divided film critics; some critics gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews for the dark and unique take on the superhero genre, while others derided it for the same reason, as well as the narrative which they believed was confusing.

A DVD based on elements of the Watchmen universe is planned for release; 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 interspersed through the main storyline in a manner reminiscent of the comic, is also forthcoming.

The story takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed vigilantes fight crime in America. In the 1930s and 40s, the vigilantes form a group called the Minutemen. Decades later, a second generation of superheroes attempt to form a team as well, calling themselves the Watchmen. Various historical events are shown to have been altered or impacted by the existence of superheroes, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. The American victory in the Vietnam War, due to the intervention of the godlike being Dr. Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon's third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980s, however, the Watchmen have been outlawed, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have escalated the Cold War with threats of nuclear attack.

By 1985, only three adventurers remain active: The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan, who act with government sanction, and the masked vigilante Rorschach, who refuses to retire and remains active illegally. Investigating the murder of government agent Edward Blake, Rorschach, knowing that Blake was The Comedian, concludes that someone is trying to eliminate masked heroes. He goes off to warn his retired comrades: the emotionally detached Dr. Manhattan and his lover Laurie Jupiter (the second Silk Spectre), Dan Dreiberg (the second Nite Owl), and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), but makes little progress.

After Blake's funeral, Dr. Manhattan is accused of causing the cancers afflicting his former girlfriend and colleagues from before the accident that turned him into the being he is now. Manhattan exiles himself to Mars, giving the Soviet Union the confidence to invade Afghanistan in his absence. Later, Rorschach's conspiracy theory appears to be justified when Adrian, who had long since made his identity as Ozymandias public before retiring, narrowly avoids an assassination attempt, and Rorschach himself is framed for murder.

Meanwhile, Laurie, having previously broken up with Manhattan, falls in love with Dan, and the two former heroes decide to come out of retirement as they grow closer to one another. After breaking Rorschach out of prison alongside Nite Owl, Silk Spectre is confronted by Manhattan, who takes her to Mars and explains he is no longer interested in humanity, denying her request to intervene. Probing her memories, they both discover that The Comedian is her father. His interest in humanity renewed, Manhattan returns to Earth with Silk Spectre.

Laurie and Manhattan arrive at the ruins of New York City and realize Ozymandias's plan. They arrive to confront him, only to agree that, with the cessation of hostilities around the world, this conspiracy is best left unrevealed to the public. Rorschach, however, is unwilling to compromise, and leaves to reveal the truth. He is confronted by Manhattan who vaporizes him after stating that only death would stop him from revealing the truth. Manhattan shares a final kiss with Laurie and departs for another galaxy.

With the end of the Cold War and the transformation of humanity into a united front, Laurie and Dan return to the destroyed New York City, which is being rebuilt, and begin life anew together. Meanwhile, a newspaper editor in New York complains about how there is nothing worthwhile to print; he lets a young employee look for something to run in a collection of crank letters, among which is Rorschach's journal.

Malin Akerman as Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre: Jessica Alba and Natalie Portman were originally considered for the role, but Snyder felt that they were too well known to be playing such a serious part. Åkerman described her character as the psychology and the emotion of the film due to being the only woman among the men. The actress worked out and trained to fight for her portrayal of the crimefighter. Åkerman's latex costume and wig, which often stuck into the latex, did not permit a lot of protection when performing stunts, and she often bruised herself during filming. In the film the surname Juspeczyk appears briefly on screen when Laurie wears Nite Owl's visor.

Patrick Wilson as Daniel Dreiberg / Nite Owl: A retired superhero with technological experience. John Cusack, a fan of the comic book, expressed interest in the role. Snyder cast Wilson after watching 2006's Little Children, which also co-starred Haley. Wilson put on 25lbs to play the overweight Dreiberg. He compared Dreiberg to a soldier who returns from war who is unable to fit in with society again. Wilson said the fight style he was instructed to give Nite Owl was "heavy handed and power coordinated".

Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach: A masked vigilante who continues his vigilante activities after they are outlawed. Unlike the other five principal actors, Haley had read the comic and was keen to pursue the role when he heard he had become a favorite candidate among fans. He and fourteen friends put together his audition, where he performed scenes from the comic. Haley "almost went nuts" trying to reconcile his understanding of complex human behavior with Rorschach's moral absolutism, stating the character made him wonder if people generally just make excuses for their bad actions. Rorschach wears a mask with ink blots: motion capture markers were put on the contours of Haley's blank mask, for animators to create his ever-changing expressions. Haley found the mask "incredibly motivating for the character" because of its confining design, which heated up quickly. Small holes were made in the mask for him to see. Haley has a black belt in Kenpō, but described Rorshach's attack patterns as sloppier and more aggressive due to the character's boxing background.

Billy Crudup as Dr. Jon Osterman / Doctor Manhattan: A superhero with genuine powers who works for the U.S. government. The role was once pursued by actor Keanu Reeves, but the actor abandoned his pursuit when the studio held up the project over budget concerns. As well as playing Osterman in flashback as a human, for his post-accident scenes as Dr. Manhattan, Crudup is replaced in the film with a motion-capture CG version of himself. During filming, Crudup acted opposite his co-stars, wearing a white suit covered in blue LEDs, so he would give off an otherworldly glow in real life, just as the computer-generated Manhattan does in the movie. The special effects technicians considered that Dr. Manhattan is supposed to be a god-like being who after his accident tries to create the perfect human form with a well-formed physique and extreme musculature. For this purpose, his body was modeled on that of fitness model and actor Greg Plitt. The crew then 3D-digitized Crudup's head and "frankensteined it onto Greg Plitt's body". Crudup had to keep thinking of the character in the comic, because he felt ridiculous in the LED suit. Crudup deemed it fortunate he did not have to wear prosthetics or fit into a rubber costume like the other actors though, and would remind them of this when they made jokes about his appearance. Snyder chose not to electronically alter Crudup's voice for Manhattan, explaining the character "would try and put everyone as much at ease as he could, instead of having a robotic voice that I think would feel off-putting".

Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias: A retired superhero who has since made his identity public. The role of Ozymandias was originally connected to actors Jude Law, Lee Pace, and Tom Cruise (whom Snyder felt would have been better as Manhattan), but they left the project behind because of the studio's delay in handling the budget. Snyder said Goode was "big and tall and lean", which aided in bringing "this beautiful ageless, Aryan superman" feel to the character. Goode interpreted Veidt's backstory to portray him with a German accent in private and an American one in public; Goode explained Veidt gave up his family's wealth and travelled the world, becoming a self-made man because he was ashamed of his parents' Nazi past, which in turn highlighted the themes of the American Dream and the character's duality. Because of the German-born depiction of Veidt, Goode pronounced his surname as "Vight". Goode had been "very worried about my casting", feeling he was "not the physical type for . Yet Zack was adamant and reassuring and made me feel at ease". Snyder said Goode "fit the bill.... We were having a hard time casting , because we needed someone handsome, beautiful and sophisticated, and that's a tough combo".

Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre: A retired superheroine, mother of Laurie Jupiter and the first Silk Spectre. Gugino's character ages from 25 years old in the 1940s to 67 years old in the 1980s, and the 37-year-old actress wore prosthetics to reflect the aging process. Gugino described her character's superhero outfit as an influence of Bettie Page-meets-Alberto Vargas. The actress donned the trademark hairdo of the character, though it was shaped to be more plausible for the film. She also posed for the Alberto Vargas-style pin-ups of her character and a painting meant to be done by Norman Rockwell, which she enjoyed because she was fascinated by Vargas.

Matt Frewer as Edgar Jacobi / Moloch the Mystic: An elderly rehabilitated criminal, known when he was younger as an underworld kingpin and magician.

Stephen McHattie as Hollis Mason / Nite Owl: The first vigilante to take up the mantle of The Nite Owl.

Danny Woodburn as Big Figure: A dwarf crime boss whom Rorschach and Nite Owl put in prison fifteen years prior.

Niall Matter as Byron Lewis / Mothman: He is not a main focus of the storyline, but appears in flashbacks, at one point reduced in his later years to fragile sanity.

Dan Payne as Bill Brady / Dollar Bill: A first-generation crimefighter who caught his cape in a revolving door during a bank robbery and was shot to death. Payne is a fan of the comic and shot his scenes over four days, both for his cameo in the theatrical cut and the fictionalized DVD documentary.

Apollonia Vanova as Ursula Zandt / Silhouette: A former member of the Minutemen who was forced into retirement after her status as a lesbian became public knowledge. She and her partner were later murdered by a former arch villain.

Glenn Ennis as Rolf Müller / Hooded Justice: The first masked vigilante to appear in the 1930s. Was involved in a sham relationship with the first Silk Spectre to hide his homosexuality. Later thought to be killed by The Comedian.

Darryl Scheelar as Nelson Gardner / Captain Metropolis: An ex-Marine and one of the founding members of the Minutemen.

Doug Chapman as Roy Chess: A hired assassin who tries to kill Ozymandias. Doug Chapman was also the Canadian stunt coordinator for the movie, and performed as a stunt double and stunt performer.

Production for Watchmen began casting in July 2007 for look-alikes of the era's famous names for the film, including Richard Nixon, Leonid Brezhnev, Henry Kissinger, H. R. Haldeman, Ted Koppel, John McLaughlin, Annie Leibovitz, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein, Norman Rockwell, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Mao Zedong, Larry King, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and the Village People. Snyder said he wanted younger actors because of the many flashback scenes, and it was easier to age actors with make-up rather than cast two actors in the same role. Snyder's son cameos as a young Rorschach, while the director himself appears as an American soldier in Vietnam. Actor Thomas Jane said in June 2007 that Snyder had expressed interest in casting him in the film.

In August 1986, producer Lawrence Gordon acquired the film rights to Watchmen for 20th Century Fox, with producer Joel Silver working on the film. Fox asked author Alan Moore to write a screenplay based on his story, but when Moore declined the studio enlisted screenwriter Sam Hamm. On September 9, 1988, Hamm turned in his first draft, but said that condensing a 338-page, nine-panel-a-page comic book into a 128-page script was arduous. He took the liberty of re-writing Watchmen's complicated ending into a "more manageable" conclusion involving an assassination and a time paradox. Fox put the film into turnaround in 1991, and Gordon set up the project at a new company, Largo International, with Fox distributing the film. Although Largo closed three years later, Fox was promised that they would be involved if the project was revived.

Gordon and Silver moved the project to Warner Bros., where Terry Gilliam was attached to direct. Unsatisfied with how Hamm's script fleshed out the characters, Gilliam brought in Charles McKeown to rewrite it. The second draft, which was credited to Gilliam, Warren Skaaren, and Hamm rather than McKeown, used the character Rorschach's diary as a voice-over, and restored scenes from the comic book that Hamm had removed. According to Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, Silver wanted to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Manhattan. Filming was to take place at Pinewood Studios. Because both Gilliam and Silver's previous films, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Die Hard 2 respectively, went over budget, they were only able to raise $25 million for the film – a quarter of the necessary budget. As a result, Gilliam abandoned the project, and ultimately decided that Watchmen was unfilmable. Gilliam explained, "Reducing to a two or two-and-a-half hour film seemed to me to take away the essence of what Watchmen is about." When Warner Bros. dropped the project, Gordon invited Gilliam back to helm the film independently. The director again declined, believing that the comic book would be better directed as a five-hour miniseries.

In October 2001, Gordon and Universal Studios signed screenwriter David Hayter to write and direct Watchmen in a "seven-figure deal". Hayter hoped to begin filming in early 2002, but did not turn in his first draft until July 2002. In May 2003, Hayter said he had Alan Moore's blessing on the film, despite Moore's disagreement with the project since its first incarnation. In July 2003, Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin announced the completion of Hayter's script, which he called "a great adaptation that absolutely celebrates the book". Ultimately, Hayter and the producers left Universal over creative differences, and in October 2003, Gordon and Levin expressed interest in setting up Watchmen at Revolution Studios. The pair intended to shoot the film in Prague, but the project fell apart at Revolution Studios.

In July 2004, it was announced Paramount Pictures would produce Watchmen, and they hired Darren Aronofsky to direct Hayter's script. Gordon and Levin remained attached, collaborating with Aronofsky's producing partner, Eric Watson. Eventually, Aronofsky left to focus on The Fountain, and Paramount replaced him with Paul Greengrass, with a target release date of summer 2006. At this time, Simon Pegg was involved in negotiations to portray Rorschach, while Daniel Craig, Jude Law, and Sigourney Weaver were also interested in the film. Greengrass wanted Joaquin Phoenix for Dr. Manhattan. To publicize the film, Paramount launched a now-defunct Watchmen teaser website that had a message board as well as computer wallpaper available to download. Graphic artist Tristan Schane drew designs of Dr. Manhattan for the film, which depicted him with visible intestines. Gilliam read Greengrass's revision of Hayter's script and liked it, but told the director he did not think the studio would greenlight such a dark film. In March 2005, with rumors that high-profile projects, including Watchmen, were in danger of being cut, Paramount's CEO Donald De Line began urging a reduction in Watchmen's budget so the film could get the greenlight. When Brad Grey took over as Paramount’s CEO, Levin feared potential budget cuts, so he made plans to move the project outside the UK in an effort to save money. Before he could, Paramount placed Watchmen in turnaround, again.

In October 2005, Gordon and Levin began talks with Warner Bros., originally the second studio to be attached to Watchmen, and confirmed in December 2005 that Warner Bros. had picked up the film, but that Greengrass was no longer attached to direct. In addition, the film was marked as an "open writing assignment", which meant David Hayter's script would be put aside. Despite this change, Hayter expressed his hope that his script would be used by Warner Bros. and that he would be attached to direct his "dream project".

After Warner Bros. officially became involved, the studio claimed that because Paramount had not fully reimbursed Universal for its development costs, Paramount had no legal claim over the film rights. Therefore, it would not be entitled to co-finance the film with Warner Bros. After negotiations between the studios, they agreed that Paramount would own 25% of the film and would distribute it outside North America. Impressed with Zack Snyder's work on the film 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's comic book of the same name, Warner Bros. approached him to direct an adaptation of Watchmen. After spending a couple of weeks deciding whether he wanted to direct the film or not, Warner Bros. officially announced Snyder’s hiring on June 23, 2006, with Alex Tse attached to write the script. Drawing from "the best elements" from two of Hayter’s drafts, Tse’s script returned to the original Cold War setting of the Watchmen comic. Warner Bros. was open to keeping the 1980s setting, although less so to the R-rating that Snyder wanted; Snyder also decided to add a title montage sequence to introduce the audience to the alternate history of the United States that the film presented. Snyder kept the ending from one of Hayter's drafts, which simplified details of the conspiracy within the story, because he felt it would allow more screen time to explore characters' backstories.

Snyder said that he wanted the film to hold the same level of detail that was contained within the comic, with all of the easter eggs that were hidden within each frame of the comic’s panels. As such, Snyder used the comic book as his storyboard, travelling with a copy and making notes on its pages. Next to the novel, Snyder cited Taxi Driver and Seven as visual influences. To make the film more topical, Snyder emphasized the existing subplot concerning energy resources. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman met with Snyder twice during the later stages of pre-production to further revise the script, although Snyder explained the script was merely a document for the studio, and it was his storyboards that were his true guide while making the movie. James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes, was also hired as a scientific consultant.

Snyder hoped to have principal photography take place from June–September 2007, but filming was delayed until September 17, 2007. Snyder wanted a $150 million budget, but Warner Bros. preferred the budget remain under $100 million; the film ultimately finished with a budget of approximately $120 million. The production took place in Vancouver, where a New York City back lot was built. Sound stages were used for apartments and offices, while sequences on Mars and Antarctica were shot against green screens. Sony Pictures Imageworks and Intelligent Creatures came on board to work on the visual effects for the film.

Comic book artists Adam Hughes and John Cassaday were hired to work on character and costume designs for the film. Costume tests were being done by March 2007. 300 associate producer Wesley Coller portrayed Rorschach in a costume test, which Snyder inserted into a trailer that accompanied the release of 300. Although he intended to stay faithful to the look of the characters in the comic, Snyder wanted Nite Owl to look scarier and Ozymandias to possess authentic Egyptian attire and artifacts. Ultimately, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre changed most from the comic, as Snyder felt "audiences might not appreciate the naiveté of the original costumes. So, there has been some effort to give them a modern look — and not modern in the sense of 2007, but modern in terms of the superhero aesthetic". Costume designer Michael Wilkinson added that the costumes had to look realistic and protective, and that the Nite Owl costume should reflect Dan's interest in aerodynamics. The chain mail in his costume resemble a bird's feathers. Snyder also wanted the costumes to "comment directly on many of today’s modern masked vigilantes": The Ozymandias costume, with its molded muscles and nipples, parodies the costumes in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Throughout filming, Snyder also kept adding in dialogue to mention more of the characters' backstories so the film would be as faithful as possible.

Production designer Alex McDowell intended Nixon's war room to pay tribute to the war room in the film Dr. Strangelove. He also wanted Dr. Manhattan's apartment, which is inside his laboratory, to look like the work of Maison Jansen, explaining that "the powers that be, who know nothing about design, but needed to feel like he was the most important guy in America". The apartment also echoes the film The Man Who Fell To Earth, with a book prop named Masterpieces in Paint and Poetry and a tennis courtroom with similar wallpaper. Set designers selected four Kansas City sculptors' works for use on the set of Dr. Manhattan's apartment, after discovering their works on the Internet. Filming ended on February 19, 2008.

Composer Tyler Bates began scoring Watchmen in November 2007. He planned to visit the shoot for a week during each month, and view assembly cuts of scenes to begin rough composing. Snyder and Bates listened to the soundtracks of 1980s films such as Manhunter, Blade Runner, and To Live and Die in L.A. for inspiration. Bates switched between a Yamaha CS-80 or an MOTM for moments that he felt should have more ambience or synthesizers. Snyder wanted a scene where Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue people from a burning building to have a more traditional superhero feel, so Bates implemented a four to the floor guitar rhythm. A 64-rong choir and the 87-piece ensemble from the Hollywood Studio Symphony were hired for the more orchestral themes.

The film uses some of the songs mentioned in the comic, including Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'", which is played over the opening montage; Jimi Hendrix's cover of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"; Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence"; Nena's "99 Luftballons"; a musak version of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"; and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable". Many of the period songs were up-mixed to 5.1 surround for the film using the Penteo process. Bates said the challenge was composing music that would transition effectively into these famous songs. Snyder and Bates received Dylan's permission to use the stems from "The Times They Are a-Changin'" so the three-minute song could play over the six minute opening. The movie's graphic sexual encounter between Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II aboard the Owl Ship is set to the tune of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Originally Zack Snyder used a recording of the song by Allison Crowe for this controversial scene, but decided Crowe's version was "too romantic" and "too sexy" for a scene that is intended to come across as ironic and "ridiculous". Snyder ended up placing a Cohen live version in this scene. My Chemical Romance, whose members are fans of the comic, covered Dylan's "Desolation Row" for the first half of the closing credits.

Two albums, Watchmen: Music From the Motion Picture and Watchmen: Original Motion Picture Score were released on February 24, 2009 by Warner Sunset and Reprise Records. Additionally, a 12" vinyl picture disc was released on January 27, 2009. The A-side features My Chemical Romance's cover version of "Desolation Row", and the B-side features "Prison Fight" composed by Tyler Bates for the film's score. Both songs will also be featured on the Music From the Motion Picture and Original Motion Picture Soundtrack albums, respectively. A box set consisting of seven 7" picture disks will be released on March 24, 2009. This set will also include My Chemical Romance performing "Desolation Row", as well as thirteen tracks from the Tyler Bates score.

Snyder's first cut of the film was three hours long. In keeping the film tight, Snyder dubbed himself "the gatekeeper" of the comic's easter eggs, "while conspire to say, 'No. Length, length, length. Playability.' I've lost perspective on that now, because to me, the honest truth is I geek out on little stuff now as much as anybody. Like, people will go, 'We've got to cut. You don't need that shot of Hollis Mason's garage sign.' And I'm like, 'What are you talking about? Of course you do. Are you crazy? How will people enjoy the movie without shit like that in it?' So it's hard for me." Snyder cut the film down to 162 minutes when he realized there was a way to further trim the film: the murder of Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl, which "was easy without destroying the movie".

In November 2006, Zack Snyder said that he hoped to speak to Moore before filming, though the writer had sworn off involvement with film or television productions after his disagreement over the V for Vendetta film adaptation. Moore signed a deal to go uncredited on the film, and for his share of the income be given to Gibbons, as he had done on V for Vendetta. Before filming began, Snyder said, " totally respect his wishes to not be involved in the movie." Moore expressed discontent over the choice of the director, saying that he "had a lot of problems" with the comic book 300 and that, while he had not seen it, he had heard that Snyder's film adaptation was racist, homophobic, and "sublimely stupid".

In an early interview with Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons said that he thought the time had passed to make a Watchmen movie. Gibbons felt that the window to make a Watchmen movie was during the success of the 1989 Batman film. When that time passed, Gibbons also told Neon magazine that he was " glad because it wouldn't have been up to the book". Gibbons felt it would probably be better adapted as a television series like The Prisoner. When given the opportunity, Gibbons enjoyed the script by Alex Tse. Gibbons gave Snyder some script advice, which the director accepted. He drew licensing art for the film, consulted on merchandise and the webcomics, publicizing the film with Snyder, and wrote a tie-in book about the creation of the comic, entitled Watching the Watchmen. Moore did not mind Gibbons' involvement and felt it did not have any impact on their friendship. Snyder asked Gibbons to draw up a storyboard for the film's altered ending, which the comics' colorist John Higgins also returned to work on. Gibbons believed watching the film on DVD would emulate flipping through the book, with viewers pausing or rewinding the film to catch details.

On February 14, 2008, 20th Century Fox brought a lawsuit against Warner Bros. that alleged copyright infringement on the Watchmen film property. The studio believed it held the rights to produce the film, or at least distribute it, no matter how many studios Watchmen passed through, and sought to block its release. Warner Bros. said that Fox repeatedly failed to exercise its rights over various incarnations of the production. Through producer Lawrence Gordon, Fox had bought the rights to the comic book in 1986. Fox alleges that when it put the project into turnaround in 1994, a separate 1991 deal that transferred some of the rights to Gordon still gave them the option of distribution, sequel rights, and a share of the profits should it be made by any other studio. Fox's interpretation of the 1994 turnaround deal also meant that Gordon would not fully control the rights until the studio's development costs—estimated by Fox at $1 million—had been reimbursed. Despite originally passing on the project, Fox also alleged that its agreement with Gordon contained a "changed elements" clause, meaning that if Gordon changed any of the key creative personnel on the film, Fox would have first option on participation, claiming that Gordon did not inform them of Snyder's joining the production in 2005.

Fox alleged that it contacted Warner Bros. before production began in 2005, and told the studio that it had violated Fox's 1991 and 1994 deals with Gordon. Warner Bros. claimed that it was originally unaware of either deal, and that in 2005 Fox had declined to produce the Hayter screenplay that formed the basis of the production. Warner Bros. also claimed that the 1994 deal did not cover distribution rights and had conferred upon Gordon all the rights he needed to take the film to Warner Bros. The studio's motion to dismiss the case in August 2008 was rejected by the judge.

On December 24, 2008, Judge Gary A. Feess granted 20th Century Fox's claim to a copyright interest in the film. An attorney for 20th Century Fox said that the studio would seek an order to delay the release of Watchmen. Producer Lloyd Levin revealed in an open letter that in 2005 both Fox and Warner Bros. were offered the chance to make Watchmen. Fox passed on the project while Warner Bros. made a deal to acquire the movie rights and move forward with development. An internal Fox email documented that executives at Fox felt the script was "one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years". On January 15, 2009, the trade press reported that Fox and Warner Bros. had reached a settlement. Fox would receive a share of the box office, but no future ownership of the film. The settlement awarded Fox up to $10 million in development costs and legal fees, plus worldwide gross participation scaling from 5 to 8.5 percent.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment published an episodic video game to be released alongside the film called Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. Warner Bros. took this low-key approach to avoid rushing the game on such a tight schedule, as most games adapted from films are panned by critics and gamers. The game is set in the 1970s, and is written by Len Wein, the comic's editor; Dave Gibbons is also an advisor. On March 4, 2009 Glu Mobile released Watchmen: The Mobile Game, a beat 'em up mobile game featuring Nite Owl and The Comedian fighting enemies in their respective settings of New York City and Vietnam. On March 6, 2009, a game for the Apple Inc. iPhone and iPod Touch platform was released, titled Watchmen: Justice is Coming. Though highly anticipated, this mobile title suffered from serious game play and network issues which have yet to be resolved.

As a promotion for the film, Warner Bros. Entertainment released Watchmen: Motion Comics, a series of narrated animations of the original comic book. The first chapter was released for purchase in the summer of 2008 on digital video stores, such as iTunes Store and Amazon Video on Demand. DC Direct released action figures based on the film in January 2009. Director Zack Snyder also set up a YouTube contest petitioning Watchmen fans to create faux commercials of products made by the fictional Veidt Enterprises. The producers also released two short video pieces online, which were intended to be viral videos designed as fictional backstory pieces, with one being a 1970 newscast marking the 10th anniversary of the public appearance of Dr. Manhattan. The other was a short propaganda film promoting the Keene Act of 1977, which made it illegal to be a superhero without government support. An official viral marketing web site, The New Frontiersman, is named after the tabloid magazine featured in the graphic novel, and contains teasers styled as declassified documents. DC Comics reissued Watchmen #1 for the original cover price of $1.50 on December 10, 2008; no other issues are to be reprinted.

Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional comic within the Watchmen limited series, was adapted as a direct-to-video animated feature from Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation, and released on March 24, 2009. It was originally included in the script, but was changed from live-action footage to animation because of the $20 million it would have cost to film it 300-esque stylized manner Snyder wanted; this animated version, originally intended to be included in the final cut, was then cut because the film was already approaching a three-hour running time. Gerard Butler, who starred in 300, voices the Captain in the animated feature, having been promised a role in the live-action film that never materialized. Jared Harris voices his deceased friend Ridley, whom the Captain hallucinates is talking to him. Snyder had Butler and Harris record their parts together. International rights to Black Freighter are held by Paramount.

The Tales of the Black Freighter DVD also includes Under the Hood, a documentary detailing the characters' backstories, which takes its title from that of Hollis Mason's memoirs in the comic book. Under the Hood is rated PG because of the friendly public image of the characters. The actors were allowed to improvise during filming interviews in character. Bolex cameras were even used to film "archive" footage of the Minutemen. The film itself is scheduled to be released on DVD four months after Tales of the Black Freighter, and Warner Bros. will release a director's cut and the extended version in July 2009, with the animated film edited back into the main picture. Snyder said if the film does well enough, the director's cut will be simultaneously theatrically released in New York and Los Angeles. In addition, the Watchmen: Motion Comics, was released in digital video stores and DVD on March 3. It included an exclusive scene from the movie.

Watchmen was released at midnight on March 6, 2009, and earned an estimated $4.6 million for the early showing, which is approximately twice as much as 300, Snyder's previous comic book adaptation. The film earned $24,515,772 in 3,611 theaters its first day, followed by $18,383,964 and $12,314,598 for Saturday and Sunday, bringing its opening weekend to $55,214,334. Watchmen's opening weekend is the highest of any Alan Moore adaptation to date, surpassing V for Vendetta (2006) at $25,642,340, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) at $23,075,892, and From Hell (2001) at $11,014,818; its opening is also greater than the entire box office take of From Hell, which ended its theatrical run with $31,602,566. Although the film only finished with $55 million for its opening, while Snyder's previous adaptation 300 earned $70 million in its opening weekend, Warner Bros.' head of distribution, Dan Fellman, believes that you cannot compare the two films because the extended running time of Watchmen—the film comes in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, while 300 is just under 2 hours—provides the 2009 film with much fewer showings a night than 300. Although Watchmen receives fewer showings a night in each theater, it was released in 508 more theaters than 300 received (3,103). Next to the general theaters, Watchmen pulled in $5.4 million at 124 IMAX screens, which is the second largest opening behind The Dark Knight (2008).

Following its first week at the box office, Watchmen saw a significant drop in attendance when comparing its opening Friday to its second Friday in release. On the first Friday after its opening weekend the film took in an estimated $5,425,000, which is a 77.9% decrease from its opening day. By the end of its second weekend, the film brought in $17,817,301, a 67.7% overall decrease from the previous weekend. Other than Hellboy II and Hulk, no other major comic book movie has had such a steep second-weekend drop-off. Losing two-thirds of its audience from its opening weekend, the film finished second for the weekend of March 13-15, 2009. The film continued to drop about 60% in almost every subsequent weekend: in its third weekend, it fell to fifth place with $6,801,114; in its fourth weekend, eighth place with $2,732,439; and in its fifth weekend, thirteenth place with only $1,074,320. By its seventh weekend, the movie fell out of the top twenty, finishing in 25th place with only $199,114. Watchmen crossed the $100 million mark on March 26, its twenty-first day at the box office.

Thanks to its opening weekend, Watchmen currently sits fourth in all time openings for the month of March, as well as the fifth highest grossing weekend for the spring season, which is defined by the first Friday in March through to the first Thursday in the month of May. It is the sixth largest opening for an R-rated film in North American history, and is currently the highest grossing R-rated film of 2009. On the North American box office, Watchmen currently sits as the thirteenth highest grossing film based on a DC Comics comic book, and the fifth highest-grossing film of 2009.

Next to its domestic opening, Watchmen earned $26.6 million in 45 territories overseas; of these, Britain and France had the highest box office with an estimated $4.6 million and $2.5 million, respectively. Watchmen also took in approximately $2.3 million in Russia, $2.3 million in Australia, $1.6 million in Italy, and $1.4 million in Korea. As of April 6, 2009, the film has collected $67,401,644 in foreign box office, bringing its worldwide total to $172,758,644.

Based on 255 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen currently has a 64% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 6.2/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 43%. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 56, based on 39 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was B on an A+ to F scale, and that the primary audience was older men.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia