Movies & TV / News

Test Footage From Aborted 2003 Watchmen Film Released Online

November 26, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Watchmen 2003 Test Footage

Before Zack Snyder brought Watchmen to the big screen, David Hayter nearly made a film based on the graphic novel in 2003. And now, test footage from it is online. Film composer Joe Kraemer posted test footage which he “rescued from VHS” that Hayter shot of a famous scene from the graphic novel, featuring Rorschach and Dan/Nite Owl. The scene stars Iain Glen, best known now as Jorah Mormont from Game of Thrones, as Dan and Rey Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, Rome) as Rorschach as they talk about the Comedian’s death that kicks off the story.

Hayter was set to write and direct the film for Universal, but left due to creative differences with the studio. Kraemer scored the scene, with Tony Pierce Roberts acting as Director of Photography. The film went through a few iterations after that; Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct Hayter’s script through Paramount at one point. It eventually ended up with Warner Bros. where Alex Tse was tapped to rewrite Hayter’s script for Snyder’s 2009 film, for which Hayter has a co-writer credit.

As the term “test footage” makes clear, the scene is rough with neither actor appearing settled into their roles and no visual effects. But as test footage go, it isn’t bad at all. The biggest difference is that Stevenson’s interpretation of Rorschach is very different than the rougher-throated one we saw from Jackie Earl Haley in the Snyder film.

Snyder’s Watchmen was a box office disappointment when it released in March of 2009, but the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons story is seeing new life on HBO’s follow-up series set in the present day, 35 years after the events of the graphic novel.

article topics :

Watchmen, Jeremy Thomas