The Official Watchmen Podcast | Episode 1 | HBO

The Official Watchmen Podcast | Episode 1 | HBO

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♪ (HBO INTRO PLAYS) ♪ ANGELA ABAR:There are people
who believe that this world
is fair and good.It’s all lollipops and rainbows.I remember what happened
to my parents.
You remember what happened
to your parents.
You and me, Topher,we don’t do
lollipops and rainbows.
Because we know
those are pretty colors
that just hide what the world
really is…
Black and white.♪ (“WATCHMEN” THEME PLAYS) ♪ CRAIG MAZIN: Hi, my name
is Craig Mazin. You may know me best
as the writer and executive producer
ofChernobylminiseries from HBO. For that show,
I did a podcast. I collaborated with Peter Sagal
and it went pretty well. I think a lot of shows are
thinking about doing a podcast like this, but I can think
of no show more deserving of a podcast than the one we’re going
to be discussing today.Watchmen,the new
dramatic series from HBO. I have a feeling there are
going to be a lot of podcasts about this show, but there is
only one podcast, this one,The Official Watchmen Podcast
that features the man at the center of it all.
My guest for this episode and all of our episodes to come,
writer and executive producer ofLost,ofThe Leftovers,
and most importantly, ofWatchmen,Damon Lindelof.
Damon, welcome. DAMON LINDELOF: Thank you.
It’s good to be official,
I guess. CRAIG: Yes.
Welcome to your own show. DAMON: (CHUCKLES) Thanks. CRAIG: In each episode
of this podcast, we’re going to be covering
three episodes ofWatchmen,so I’m already panicking
about the time. It’s not my fault that you
have made the densest, richest, tightest, dramatic show
I’ve seen in a long, long time. And that makes sense in a way
because this is a show that continues from the world
in the seminal graphic novel,Watchmen,of which I am a fan. Well, I thought I was a fan,
and then I saw what you did and now I guess I know
what a fan really is. DAMON: That’s probably
the nicest thing that you could possibly say,
becauseWatchmen,I’m only sitting here,
obviously, because ofWatchmen,
because we’re doing a podcast about it, but it was such
a seminal event in my creative life.
In many ways, an origin story. I mean, I saw a lot of movies
and TV shows before I readWatchmen,
but whenWatchmenwas first put into my hands, that was
really the beginning of, “Oh, you can do that?” And so, for anybody who has
a relationship with the original material,
the biggest deal for me is are we,
after these nine episodes, gonna earn the name
Watchmen
on this? I mean, to me it’s sort of like
if someone said, “Oh, I really liked the show,
but I don’t really think it’sWatchmen,”that would be
heartbreaking, because why call it that? CRAIG: Well, I’ve watched
three episodes now. Like everyone, this podcast has
come out after the first three episodes. DAMON: What if someone’s
listening to the podcast and they haven’t seen
the episodes? CRAIG: Please stop.
I should warn you right now. Don’t be stupid.
You need to go watch the show because spoilers galore
heading your way and you really don’t want
to ruin this for yourself. And, honestly, the show is quite
a bit more exciting, I imagine, than this podcast is. But I– it struck me as somebody
that is pretty well versed in the graphic novel
that you absolutely have done something, like I say,
that extends from that work. So you had this almost
impossible task. You had to adapt, in a sense,
something that you love and respect
and probably idolize. -I think a lot of people do.
-DAMON: Yes. CRAIG: But you also
then had to depart from it completely
and make it something different. It had to be of it
and apart from it. How did you negotiate that? Damon: Very carefully
and also completely and totally haphazardly. I mean I think that it was
a combination of the energy of a bull in a china shop
and then trying to catalog everything
that you knocked over and broke so that you could replace it.
And both things had to happen simultaneously because I think
that we went in with a high degree of fear
and concern and delicateness and then very quickly
we were just like, “Fuck all of that.
Let’s just go nuts.” -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: Then you had
to vacillate between those poles and the show sort of happened
in the space where we were moving
in between the poles. Because our job as storytellers
is to make something feel authentic,
to make it feel real, and I wanted this
television experience, because it’s not a comic book
where you’re turning the pages where they’re illustrated
cartoon characters. I wanted it to feel real
and authentic. At the same time,
there’s some true ridiculousness happening around the,
the fringes of this. So, the first thing that we did,
and when I say we, at the very beginning
of this thing, it was this guy, Jeff Jensen and I,
and Jeff and I, Jeff was a reporter
forEntertainment Weekly.CRAIG:Entertainment Weekly.
I remember. Yeah. DAMON: And he would write
these crazy theories aboutLost,under the sort of pseudonym
as Doc Jensen, not quite a pseudonym
because his last name is Jensen. CRAIG: It was really
just a fake, -that’s a fake doctor.
-DAMON: Right. Exactly. Just put doc in front. -Yes, he does not–
-CRAIG: It’s fraud, actually. DAMON: My understanding
is he does not hold a doctorate in anything, maybeLost.Anyway, he and I
collaborated onTomorrowlandand did a lot of world
building for that Disney thing. But when– The third time
they came to me and said, “Do you want to doWatchmen?”And I started to kind of feel
the beginnings of a glimmer of what it would be about,
I texted Jeff and I said, “I have two questions.
The first question is like… Should there be
aWatchmenTV show? Then the second is,
should I do it?” And I think he responded,
“Depends and depends.” -And then I was like–
-CRAIG: How helpful. DAMON: “Well, if I did it,
would you want to do it together?”
Then he came over and he was the first person
that I really bounced a lot of these ideas off of.
He and I put together this list of adjectives that
almost like a recipe list of these are adjectives
that we use to describe the originalWatchmen.
And if our version, if we can check these
same adjectives against it, almost like aMad Libs,
then we maybe we earn the name and the first word on the list
was original. -CRAIG: Mm-hmm.
-DAMON: Um, and so now
there’s this paradox that we’re presented with, which is, it’s an adaptation
of this thing that already exists.
How do you make it original? And I think the gaming of that
paradox was, and I’m still thinking about,
did we game it? But that was really
the challenge in front of us, which was like,
how does this thing feel like it’sWatchmen,
but at the same time it could only feel
like it’sWatchmenif it’s taking huge risks? -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: It feels like–
you’re feeling nervous while you’re watching it.
Like, “I don’t know what’s happening
and I don’t like it and I don’t know where
this is going to go next and I’m a little bit scared
and not just scared where it’s going to go
narratively, but scared that
it could jump the shark.” When I readWatchmen,
I could tell you 20 instances over the course
of those 12 issues that just took my breath away
in terms of, “You aren’t allowed to do that.
I can’t believe that that just happened.”
My heart would be racing as I was reading those issues
and to try to replicate that emotional sensation
for the TV show, that’s what we were chasing.
Sometimes we succeeded, other times not,
but that was the brass ring we were all reaching for. CRAIG: What we’re talking about
in many ways, is the tone ofWatchmen,
and its ambition and its fearlessness.
And when we begin your series, right out of the gates,
it does seem like you hit those, well, at least you hit
the ambition and you hit the fearlessness.
IfWatchmenthe graphic novel was a meditation perhaps
on the morality of heroism, it seems pretty clear
from the beginning of your show that your show is about race,
period, the end. It is about race.
I want to ask you how much this emphasis on race
from the start was a way for you to say,
“Not only this show is a show about race,
but I need you to know right now,
it is about race.” DAMON: Um… Yeah.
I apologize in advance because I’m not really able
to answer that question articulately yet.
In many ways my inability to articulately answer that
question was replicated in the writer’s room
on a repeated basis and led to
incredible conversations, both difficult
and sort of revelatory, certainly from–
from my standpoint. But what I’ll say is that
the most difficult question I think that a lot of writers
have to answer is, where do you get your ideas from
or what is a moment of inspiration?
What’s the flash point? (STAMMERS) And… A lot of them answered
the question the same way that I will,
which is something just happens internally–
that just sort of clicks and slides into place
and then at least I feel compelled to get it out.
Most of the time for me, those ideas don’t happen
in the shower where it’s like, “Oh, this would be a cool idea
for a television show.” It happens because
I’ve read something or I’m listening to something
or I’m emotionally affected by something. Essentially what
was happening in my life was asThe Leftovers
was ending and I was starting to kind of feel the panic of,
“I am not entirely sure that I’m ever going to want
to do this again.” I’m– I’m not having any ideas.
Watchmen
is just coming at me for the third time,
but it’sWatchmen,and it’s for me,
it’s the Rosetta Stone. It’s where it all began for me.
Maybe not the Rosetta Stone, but more like the Black Monolith
in2001.CRAIG: It’s full of stars. DAMON: Yeah. It’s full of stars.
Quite literally. Perfect and intimidating,
and right at the time that they asked me
the third time, because they had asked me
two times prior. Once, probably in like 2011,
just a couple of years after Zack Snyder’s movie.
Then again maybe in 2013 or 2014 and now I’m thinking
it’s like 2017, and I’m placing this
in time around the time that Charlottesville
is happening and I read
Between the World and Me,
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book,
and I’m just going to be honest with you,
I read the book because every single white progressive
liberal in the– in show business was like,
they’d say it like this: “Have you read
Between the World and Me?
Have you read it?”
The shame is just like– And so, it’s just like, “You have to read it.
You really have to read it.” And so, I was like,
“This sounds like an astonishing piece
of writing,” and it was. When I read that, I also read
Case for Reparations,
which was an essay that he
wrote inThe Atlantica couple of years
probably before and inCase for Reparations,
which completely, it’s both wildly intuitive,
it’s nothing that you don’t already know, but the way
that it is written, and the story
that Mr. Coates tells is like… just changes– changed the way
that I saw the world. In that essay,
he mentioned Black Wall Street, Tulsa ’21,
and the way that he wrote about it, it was just,
I want to say just three or four sentences
or just a paragraph. As you say, “It felt like
the destruction of a world
to me.” And at that time also,
Black Panther
hadn’t come out yet,
but it had been announced that Ryan Coogler was going
to do it and Ta-Nehisi Coates was writingBlack Panther.
I was thinking about Wakanda and I was thinking that if
Wakanda actually existed in the real world,
if there was this place of African American
exceptionalism, I guess in the case of Wakanda,
African exceptionalism, but a place that where
only black people lived and they were
the best scientists and it was a utopia.
If white people found out about this place,
they would destroy it. They’d burn it to the ground.
So all of those ideas were swirling around in my head. And then I bought this book
calledThe Burningabout Tulsa ’21 because
of having read– and I was just astonished
by this story on every single level,
most of all because I had
never heard about it. And I felt shame
and embarrassment and I would talk
to other people. I talked to people of color
and they go, “Oh, yeah.” And I talked to white people
and they go, “What?” Then I’d start explaining,
“Oh, this is what happened.” I would see them start
to feel embarrassed and then disconnect,
which is what we do when we feel like we’re supposed
to know something and we don’t know it.
All of that stuff was swirling around in my head.
Then the fundamental question that we were asking
about doingWatchmenis, “Should we do it?
And if so, why now?” And so, I reflected back
on the originalWatchmen,set in 1985, the comic book
came out in ’86, and although it takes place
in an alternate version of America,
it was dealing with a nuclear standoff between
the USSR and America and it’s counting down towards
inevitable nuclear destruction on both sides.
That’s what the heroes are solving for. It feels like
it’s a murder mystery. But unbeknownst to us,
what’s really going on, the answer
to the murder mystery– -CRAIG: Yeah. More murder.
-DAMON: The answer to whodunnit is someone is actually
trying to save the world. And I was like,
“What’s the big cultural anxiety now when you close
the comic book and it stays with you?” And the answer was there’s
a reckoning happening in America as it relates to race.
It’s not to say that that reckoning wasn’t happening
during the civil rights movement or it wasn’t happening
in the ’80s or the ’90s, but right now, especially after
Charlottesville, and I remember
very specifically, Craig, when Charlottesville
had happened, there was this rhetoric
that was happening around it where people kept saying,
“I can’t believe they’re not wearing masks. They’re not wearing masks
anymore. The white supremacists
are just out there and we can see their faces
and it’s shocking.” That was happening at the same
time that HBO was saying, -“Do you want to doWatchmen?”
-CRAIG: A show about masks. DAMON: And I was like,
“What are masks? You know, like… What happens when you mix a mask
with the administration of the law?” That’s the central idea
ofWatchmen.Then the KKK wears masks
and I’m starting to see protesters,
like Antifa is wearing masks. This was long before Hong Kong.
But it’s like this idea of covering your face–
Is covering your face a justification
for protecting yourself, or are you doing something
that you probably shouldn’t be, or both?
Then all of that kind of went into the mix. CRAIG: And at the heart of it,
in the center of it is this remarkable character
that is not a carry over fromWatchmen,
but your invention, Angela Abar, Sister Night. JUDD CRAWFORD:How do you know
he’s Seventh K?
ANGELA ABAR:I got a nose
for white supremacy
and he smells like bleach.CRAIG: Sister Night is
kind of the protagonist. I don’t know how else to put it.
She’s a protagonist in the story with
seemingly dozens -of possible protagonists.
-DAMON: It’s definitely her
story. -CRAIG: It’s her story.
-DAMON: (AFFIRMATIVELY) Mm-hmm. CRAIG: She has
an interesting history. Her own connection
to law enforcement is a little muddled,
a little confused. She was,
I guess what you’d call a regular cop
until this terrible night -that occurred.
-DAMON: (AFFIRMATIVELY) Mm-hmm. CRAIG: And that night
is called the White Night? DAMON: Yeah, because it happened
on Christmas Eve. CRAIG: But also,
it was white people. DAMON: Yes. CRAIG: And she’s Sister Night,
which is interesting. I– don’t answer anything yet. Let me just line it all up.
There’s an interesting possible Freudian connection
in your own mind because she’s shot
and she’s one of the few people that survives this massacre.
And as a result, well, Senator Keene Jr.,
who I presume is related to the Keene act,
Keene, has passed a law that allows law enforcement
to wear masks so that they can do their jobs
without being retaliated against by the Seventh Kavalry. She becomes a masked cop
but not like most of them. Most of the cops are just
regular patrolmen uniforms, blue uniforms,
and then they had that iconicWatchmen
yellow face mask. But a few of them have taken
on personae, like Red Scare,
and Looking Glass, and Pirate Jenny,
which is the greatest of all superhero names ever,
and then Sister Night. As she goes
through this story, I’m fascinated how you use
her relationships with everyone around her
to keep reshaping how I’m supposed to feel
about the world because I want it to be cops
and robbers, like everybody. We all start
in a very simple way. I want it to be, yes,
I want it to be good guys versus racists. And then her relationship
with her captain and her mentor becomes muddled because he,
it seems, was in the KKK. Her relationship to her own past
is startling. How is it that she doesn’t know
who her own grandfather is? We’re starting to learn.
She herself is part Vietnamese and then there’s her
relationship with Looking Glass, who seems to be, I guess,
maybe the purest of all those characters.
He seems like the most good with a capital G,
and therefore… somebody that she may come
into conflict with. Talk about how you can see
Regina King’s character and her incredible performance
to serve as the hub of this wheel
of a thousand spokes. DAMON: Okay. CRAIG: You can do it in…
You have 40 seconds. DAMON: I can– Okay.
Start the clock now. Angela Abar is definitely
the central character of the season.
That doesn’t mean that the show isn’t heavily ensembleized.
You will come to see, and this is not a spoiler,
it’s hopefully an invitation that some of the episodes
are completely told from the point of view
of characters that are not Angela. But when all is said and done,
I think that we wanted to settle on the idea that
she’s at the center of this thing and although
everyone is the star of their own show,
we are telling Angela’s story. And Angela’s story
does not start when Angela is born in 1978 in Vietnam.
I would also argue that she is not technically,
I think Vietnamese, in the way that you mean it,
which is she was born in the United States
in a state called Vietnam, in the same way
that a white person born in Hawaii
is not a Hawaiian. CRAIG: It’s not that she’s
of mixed race, for instance. DAMON: Her parents are both–
are both African American, -but she is born in Vietnam.
-CRAIG: Got it. I think I might’ve been
slightly thrown off there because when we meet her
in that guise, when we hear about that,
she is wearing traditional Vietnamese garb
because she’s there to basically tell students
and it’s a show and tell in her son’s classroom. DAMON: Right, and she’s playing
Vietnamese music and serving Vietnamese
a Bánh pía. CRAIG: That’s all it takes
to send my mind down the wrong path. DAMON: No,
but it’s not the wrong path. It’s intentional because
the idea of colonization and appropriation
and the expansion of American ideals…
I spent a lot of time in Hawaii onLostand one of the things
that they don’t tell you as a white person is when
you go to Hawaii… “Oh, we just… ”
You’re just basically like, “Everybody must have been
so excited when we decided to make you a state.”
This is just another part of the history
that we are not taught, the expanse of history
of colonization and domination and to a much more
accurate extension, conquering. CRAIG: And just to give people
a little bit of background in case they’re feeling slightly
lost. InWatchmen,the Vietnam War occurs– DAMON: I thought you were going
to say, “Slightly lost, America in 1492
was actually not.” CRAIG: Yeah.
Probably should start with that. DAMON: Yeah, go ahead. CRAIG: Hawaii wasn’t
always a state. -DAMON: Correct.
Yes, no, not it wasn’t.
-CRAIG: Let’s start with that. InWatchmen,the graphic novel, the Vietnam War happens,
but because Dr. Manhattan, who is referenced
in episode three and who, if you’ve readWatchmen,
understand, is essentially a deity…
Because he is an American, “The Superman is real
and he is American.” DAMON: He is. CRAIG: He assists
the United States in the Vietnam War
and therefore, in that alternate history
and in the alternate history that backs up your show,
the United States, quote, unquote,
“Won the Vietnam War,” and it appears that Vietnam -is now a state because of it.
-DAMON: Yes. CRAIG: So she is born there
of African American parents. DAMON: Right. Yeah,
she is born in the late ’70s, before Vietnam achieved
statehood and yes, Dr. Manhattan won
the Vietnam War because Nixon
sent him over there. These questions
that you’re asking, why does she
call herself Sister Night? What was her childhood
like in Vietnam? To me, the most compelling part
of storytelling, let alone genre storytelling
inside the superhero genre, is the idea of the origin story.
I’ve been obsessed with it andLostin many ways,
even though there were no superheroes onLost,
the entire construct behind -the flashback was–
-CRAIG: Origin story. DAMON: Why do
these characters behave the way that they do? You know, why– Like, how did Kate end up
as a fugitive? How did Sawyer end up
as a con man? How did Locke end up
in a wheelchair? Those are all origin stories.
This, sort of… it definitely leans
much more heavily on the idea of nurture
versus nature. You’re not just born this way,
you’re made this way. The other essential idea
that we kept coming back to in theWatchmenwriter’s room,
as an echo of the original graphic novel,
but just such a powerful storytelling device,
is the idea of legacy. Fundamentally this idea of,
what did you inherit from your parents,
and their parents, and so on and so forth. Particularly as it relates
to Tulsa ’21, which is where our story begins. Our story actually begins
with Bass. A fictional story of Bass Reeves
that is being projected on a screen,
and that may or not be based on an actual person,
but it is our version of Oscar Michaux’s
interpretation of Bass Reeves. Then suddenly we’re thrust
into the quote/unquote, “real world”,
even though we’re still watching an episode ofWatchmen,
because the Tulsa ’21 massacre did happen. So that little boy,
who will grow up to be Lou Gossett Jr., Oscar winner,
Lou Gossett Jr. -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: He’s the origin. This is his story,
but because Angela is his granddaughter,
she is still dealing with the trauma that was visited
upon him. CRAIG: Upon him. DAMON: On that day,
and his parents… -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: …on that day. CRAIG: When she catches
this flyer out of the air, -she doesn’t realize it.
-DAMON: Right. CRAIG: But she’s looking
at a flyer that her great-grandfather
caught out of the air. DAMON: Correct. CRAIG: From a Nazi
propaganda plane during World War II. DAMON: So that’s actually
World War I, that’s pre-Nazis. CRAIG: There you go, pre-Nazis. DAMON: Because we’re in 1921,
right? CRAIG: Oh, yeah.
Of course, of course. DAMON: So, and this is actual,
many of the African American men who lived in Greenwood,
colloquially known as Black Wall Street,
but that section of Tulsa, they were World War I veterans
and they went to go fight in World War I.
Because the United States army was not yet integrated,
they had to… the French army was like,
“You can fight with us.” And the Germans would drop
these leaflets. So the leaflet that we actually
used in the show is 100 percent
historically accurate.
The Germans were using propaganda to get
African Americans to just basically leave France,
and walk over to Germany, and just become German citizens. GERMAN OFFICER:
But I ask you boys,
what is democracy?CRAIG: What that
German Sergeant is saying, dictating, that’s exactly
what was on those flyers? DAMON: Verbatim. GERMAN OFFICER:Do you enjoy
the same rights
as the white people
do in America?
Or aren’t you rather treated
over there
-as second-class citizens?
-SPEAKER:
…as second-class citizens?
Can you get a seat
in a theater
where white people sit?
Can you even ride in the South
in the same street car
with white people?
CRAIG: So there’s a continuation
from Louis Gossett Jr. as a little boy,
to Louis Gossett Jr. as an old man. Angela, she doesn’t seem
to know her connection to him. -DAMON: Correct.
-CRAIG: Which is…
that, in and of itself, sometimes people fail to realize
how negative space is information too.
The fact that she doesn’t know something,
means I know something. DAMON: So I want to punch myself
in the face with how much I’m virtue signaling right now,
in trying to appear woke -and progressive.
-CRAIG: I’ll handle
the punching. -DAMON: You can punch me
in the face.
-CRAIG: I’ll do it. DAMON: But I can only tell you
that these were the influences that made me want
to do the show, and so I’m obsessed
with this show,Finding Your Roots
with Henry Louis Gates, colloquially is Skip Gates.
And if you don’t watch it. CRAIG: But now he’s secretary,
Henry Louis Gates. DAMON: Now he’s the secretary
of the … yep, right. So, there was an episode
of the show that really stayed with me,
and again, this is all subjective
to my memory, so I apologize if I’m messing
it up in some way. But Questlove from The Roots
was his guest, and Dr. Gates essentially
reveals to him, we found your great-great–
great-great-great grandparents, and they came over
on the last ship. The last ship carrying slaves.
So it’s like, and this is where they landed,
and this is where they settled, and they were…
You know, this is right before they were
emancipated. And as he’s telling
him this story, Questlove starts to have this
incredibly emotional reaction, and Skip Gates says,
“What’s going on?” Questlove looks up at him
and essentially says, “I feel like I know who I am.”
And that’s not something that I could really relate to
as a white person, as it pertains
to the last 400 years of history in America
that was visited upon people who were brought to this country
against their will, and enslaved,
and all the treasure of this country was basically
born upon their backs. That said,
I understand the idea of knowing who I am
based on understanding the trials, and tribulations,
and trauma visited upon my grandparents.
So hearing that my grandparents just got out of Russia
right before they would have been shipped off
to concentration camps actually creates
an emotional reaction in me, and suddenly I feel like
that’s a piece of the puzzle of who I am,
even though this person died twenty years before I was born. And so suddenly I was like,
that feels veryWatchmento me too.
All this relates back to Angela. Which is, this is a story
of self-discovery. Her grandfather says…
when she says, “What are you doing here?”
His answer is, “I came to tell you
who you are.” CRAIG: Right. DAMON: And so this is something
that I feel like all of us as humans are striving to do,
is we want to understand who we are and why we do
the things we do, and why we feel anxious
and scared. We don’t… it’s hard for us
to separate what was inherited, what came from our parents
and their parents before them, and what is, sort of,
unique to us. You need to know who you are
before you can separate those things out. CRAIG: But you also
provide Angela with something that drama often does,
that we rarely get in real life, which is,
“Not only can I tell you who you are,
but you are part of something
very, very special.” Because while I cannot tell you
yet what has occurred with her grandfather,
and why he is the way he is, and why magnets are plucking him
from the ground, I know that he matters.
He’s important. Something’s going on
that’s pretty big. She is tied
into something large, not just because of her job,
but because of where she comes from.
So unraveling that is… I’m really looking forward
to how that unravels. I do want to talk about
how you give us information. I told you earlier
when we were talking about doing the show
that one of the things that I marvel at in this show
is the way that you do so much
exposition-less exposition. Meaning, there’s an enormous
amount of information to get across.
Like, for instance, in this world
there are no cell phones, but there still are pagers.
It’s still a modern world, but there’s no internet.
Vietnam is a state. We come to understand the truth
of the Tulsa race riots through, combined with exposition,
about a law that leads to Redford-ations. Redford-ations had been
mentioned earlier, and right away we know
that Redford-ations must be some sort of nickname.
Like Obamacare for reparations. DAMON: Right. CRAIG: All of this information,
so much information. Not only do you have
to tell us who everyone is, what they’re doing,
why they’re doing it. You also have to tell us
how this world is different from our world,
and you have to do it all without beating us
over the head, and you did. Can you talk through
how much attention you pay to the way
you deliver information in these shows? DAMON: First off,
let me just say I’m immensely grateful
for everything that you just said, and I have
to use the we pronoun, because there was just
a tremendous amount of thought that went into everything
that you just talked about, collectively.
There’s no way in a billion years that I ever
could have done it alone. And more importantly,
there were a number of ideas that I presented
that just didn’t make it out of the writer’s room,
thank God, because they were bad.
So we were sort of like, “What are the clues
that may have been left for us in the originalWatchmen
that we should pick up?” CRAIG: Right. DAMON: And what are the ones
that we can ignore? Like Vietnam, for example,
actually becomes a state. It’s just a newspaper headline,
but the idea of actually going there
and spending time there. By doing
the non-exposition exposition, again I have to refer
to the original 12 issues, the collected graphic novel,
that’s how I felt when I read it.
I felt like I was just dropped on my head,
and that I didn’t quite understand when I read
the first issue, everything that I needed
to know. So two cops would be
walking down the street, and they’d talking
about the Keene Act, -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: and then I’d sort
of go like, “Am I supposed to know
what that is?” And then there were
these ancillary materials at the end of each issue,
excerpts from an autobiography that didn’t exist,
that started to give you a window into the origin
of costumed adventuring -back in the late 1930s.
-CRAIG: Right. DAMON: The first appearance
of Hooded Justice, and the Minute Men,
which we’re dramatizing via this show within the show,
et cetera, et cetera. DAMON: So the first rule is,
how… I think that you said,
“You did it,” and I would say,
for people who are listening to this podcast, probably,
but a lot of people probably watchWatchmen
and they were like, “This feels like
the Sunday crossword to me.” Like, “If I can’t get
one across, three across, nine across, 18 across,
I’m just going to put it away.” CRAIG: So in a sense, you…
and look, you’ve been down
this road before. DAMON: Yes. CRAIG: This is your third time
down this road, by my reckoning, where you’ve created a bit
of a puzzle box. DAMON: Yeah. CRAIG: At this point
you’re probably… you’ve just decided, look,
I’m going to get a certain chunk of this audience
and thrill them to no end. Some people are going
to watch this and just go, “I’m confused by…”
Is that… do you just decide that offhand,
or do you think, “No, I can get them”? DAMON: I’m going
to say something that’s just completely
and totally arrogant, and it runs counter
to this other emotional idea. So the arrogant thing is,
you have to make the show that you would want to see.
That’s the arrogant thing, right?
Like, if you’re trying to make it for someone
who’s not you, you’ll never know
if you’re making the right show. And then the second thing is,
I want everybody to love it. -CRAIG: Of course.
-DAMON:
I want everybody to love it, and I want everybody to love me. -And I can say to you,
-CRAIG: Yes. DAMON: I acknowledge, like, I acknowledge that the show
isn’t perfect, but it’s like, the first time– when you read
the first bad review, the feeling that you have
inside your body is just like, “I failed. This person is completely
and totally right. I’m a fraud.” And also, “They’re wrong.
The show is actually–” like all these contradictory
feelings sort of come into play. And so, I want to go deep.
Watchmen
was so dense, the Old Testament, that’s how
we internally referred to the 12 initial issues,
were so dense that ourWatchmen
had to be equally dense. So when we talked
about Redford-ations we’re like, at the end of the equal sign
is the word Redford-ations, and so what’s the provenance
of that word? In the early 2000’s
Johnny Cochran, representing several
of the victims of Tulsa ’21, and their descendants, sued
the state of Oklahoma on the grounds of what happened
in ’21, and it made it all the way up
to, I believe, the Oklahoma State
Supreme Court, and it got tossed for reasons of standing. That
actually happened in real life. That they made the argument that
the statute of limitations -had run out, and also
that the descendants…
-CRAIG: Right. DAMON: …were not traumatized
by the initial trauma. And so we basically said
if Johnny Cochran did the same thing
in Redford’s America, maybe his Supreme Court
would hear that case versus the real Supreme Court
that didn’t hear it. And when the Supreme Court
decided to hear it, at that point, Congress realized
if we don’t legislate some form of reparations, we’re
about to bankrupt the country, because this thing–
the liberal Supreme Court -is going to pass.
-CRAIG: They’re going to mandate
this instead. DAMON:
So our compromise will be that
we’re going to pay reparations for specific racial violence
incidents. CRAIG: Not everyone… DAMON: We’re going
to designate Tulsa, and the Japanese
interment camps, and lands taken away from
Native Americans in Oklahoma and elsewhere, et cetera,
et cetera. These very specific events, and maybe that will make it
go away. And so, that’s how you ended up
with the– you know– And it became a tax exemption,
a lifetime tax exemption for descendants of victims
of the Tulsa massacre if you could prove
a genealogical connection -to them, which you start to see
in episode two and beyond.
-CRAIG: In episode two, which is another example
of how things meet together because you’re starting to learn
about Redford-ations. You’re starting to learn
about how the government is addressing the incident
in Tulsa and other racial crimes. And maybe that’s
a pretty good segue into this, which is how brilliantly
you and your writers and your directors
and your production designers and costumers planted
14 billion Easter eggs into these episodes for people
who have readWatchmenand looked and studied
the graphic novel. There are so many, I’m not going to try
and articulate them, I’ll just mention two
of my favorites. The slight dash of red
on the yolks that are making the smiley face. And my favoritist, favoritist,
so no one has even said Dr. Manhattan’s name, I think,
until episode two, and when his name
first comes up, there is a blue glow
coming from a coffee machine that is very Dr. Manhattan-y. But there are Easter eggs
everywhere. Everywhere. How much time did you guys
put into it? How much thought? Was it just a game to see
how much you could get in, or it was each one
carefully chosen? DAMON: I think all of the above. Nicole Kassell,
who directed the pilot and the second episode, she was
aWatchmenneophyte. So when I first reached out
to her about directing the pilot,
she had bought the collected graphic novel,
but hadn’t read it. So she read the script, I think,
for the pilot before she read anyWatchmen.And I felt like that was
really important because there were going
to be people who were watching the pilot who had
no preexisting relationship -withWatchmen.
-CRAIG: Kind of a perfect choice
in that regard. DAMON: Absolutely, and she was
the one who, you know, in the script it would say,
“Angela is doing these eggs and it’s the form
of a smiley face,” but she is the one who put
the little drop of red in there. She’s the one who decided to put
the blue light because she realized that
the filmmaking couldn’t be so self aware that
it was distracting to watch, but she also understood that,
like the originalWatchmen,she wanted to reward
the deep dive. CRAIG: There’s richness in–
I mean, that’s one of the things aboutWatchmen,
the graphic novel, that I think you guys have brought
through beautifully, is how rich each panel was,
how much information and detail. You kind of have to hit pause
and go back. The show almost demands
re-watching. DAMON: And I– you know, my
dad gave me the first two issues ofWatchmen
when I was 13 years old, and I read them. I read one– I read the first one,
and then I read the second one and then,
I read the first one again, and the first one again,
and the first one again. And it was a month in between– I had to wait for a month
before the third one came out, and I just read them
over and over again. And every time I read them–
And Craig, we hadWatchmenbook club
in the writer’s room, so when we first came together and we’re doing
our world building, every three days we would just– our homework would be
to read an issue, and to come in and we’d talk
about it for three hours. Some of us had readWatchmen
multiple times, and some of us were reading it
for the first time, and I was still
discovering stuff and also discovering stuff
through others interpretation
of the material. That’s because
this is a masterpiece. It’s a work of art, and so,
we were aspiring to that. But at the same time, the first read is the only one
that matters. If the degree of difficulty
in getting through it, if it’s so dense, then
the experience of watching the show
is like quicksand. And I hate television
that makes me feel dumb, and I love television
that makes me reach higher. You know, and the line between
those two things is razor thin because I love TV that assumes
that the audience is quite sophisticated
because I believe that the audience is a lot
more sophisticated than most people
give them credit for. So you treat the audience
like they’re super smart, because they are, and then
you write accordingly. That’s the way you do it. I’ll just say one other thing,
which is that when we were doingLost,
people would refer to all the Easter eggs
that we were hiding inLost,and sort of like, “Where’d
you come up with this idea
of Easter eggs?” And I was like, “First off,
Twin Peaks
did it.X-Filesdid it.Aliasdid it.
Joss Whedon did it onBuffy.”We didn’t invent it,
but the internet is starting to be a thing now around
the time ofLost.So the collective searching
for Easter eggs this is something
we’re all doing together, felt like it was new forLost,
but I learned all of that fromWatchmen.I learned it all
as a 13-year-old, and so now coming back
to the source is my opportunity to say
to everybody, this is where I learned this. This is what taught me
how to do this. CRAIG:
Well, you are perfecting it, and I have no doubt that
there’s going to be at least a few websites
that do nothing but just catalog Easter eggs. I want to get to one
of my favorite things about the pilot because it is
incredibly confounding, even if you have readWatchmenand know exactly
who Jeremy Irons is. ADRIAN VEIDT:
I am available at your leisure,
and by your grace,
to discuss this matter further
should you wish to…repeat your ridiculous
accusations in person.
That said, I’m pleased
you enjoyed the tomatoes.
All best wishes
and encouragement…
Adrian Veidt.CRAIG: When we were preparing
for this, your production sent over
a list of characters, and the character
Jeremy Irons plays, -English Country Lord,
or something like that.
-DAMON: Yes. In the scripts, he was just
referred to as The Blond Man. CRAIG: Yeah, yeah, my ass.
So, you know, everybody who has read the book
knows who he is, but even so, for those of us who suspect
at least that we know who he is, and it turns out we were right, there are
these fascinating people that live with him
in this mansion. His maid, Crookshanks
and his… valet, his butler, Phillips. You know, you chose everything. I know there’s intention
behind everything. It’s one of the most
enjoyable things about the show, is how much intention there is. Nothing feels haphazard
or just thought up on the day. It’s really
intricately machined. When we meet Crookshanks,
she is on her knees, while a naked Jeremy Irons
is behind a desk, and for all the world
it appears -that she is fellating him.
-DAMON: Uh-huh. CRAIG: Then it turns out, no, she’s just casually rubbing
his muscles, and has the strangest attitude
about it, and so does Mr. Phillips,
who doesn’t seem at all stunned by this, or the fact
that Jeremy Irons is naked. And you start to think
something’s up with these two,
but I’m not sure what. By the time Phillips hands
Jeremy Irons a horseshoe instead of a knife
to cut the cake, I must tell you, I was desperate
for them to be robots. Desperate
because I had a feeling something bad
was going to happen. And if we could jump ahead
to episode two, something bad happens.
They’re not robots. I don’t need you to tell me
who they are, but just so that I’m sure
what I saw is what I saw, they’re not robots.
They’re people. -DAMON: No, they are organic.
-CRAIG: They are organic. DAMON: They are
organic material people. Yes, I think people is– I’m sure at this point, people will have referred
to them as clones. I’m not entirely comfortable
with that designation either. CRAIG: I mean, he was–
Adrian Veidt always had -that thing where he would
genetically engineer his pets.
-DAMON: Yes. CRAIG: His assistants, I believe
there were those three guys,
right? DAMON: Yeah. The Vietnamese
assistants in Karnak, -CRAIG: Yeah.
-DAMON: That he poisons. CRAIG: So he’s done these things
before, but it appears that the experiment
isn’t going as well this time. -But, he’s amazing. I mean, it’s
just so much fun to watch him.
-DAMON: Jeremy Irons, yeah. CRAIG: He’s clearly having
the time of his life. DAMON: No, amazing.
And we didn’t reveal that he was playing Ozymandias, and obviously
in the third episode, he finally says his name,
but it’s like– But the question of like,
why did we hide it? Why didn’t we just say, “Jeremy Irons is
playing this guy”? The answer is that I couldn’t
say out of one side of my mouth, this is not aWatchmensequel,
and then out of the other side say, Jeremy Irons is playing
Adrian Veidt, is playing Ozymandias. So announcing that there were
going to be legacy characters appearing in this, we’d be
sending mixed signals. CRAIG:
Same thing with Laurie Blake? DAMON: Correct.
And so the nuance of– well, I guess technically
it is a sequel, like what do we even call
this thing? You realize that in the press,
all that anybody knows before something comes out is based
on these casting rumors, and what location
you’re shooting on. I knew that the audience
would be trying to figure out what the show was.
And I’m not entirely sure it was the right path
to take to not say that he was Adrian Veidt,
especially because that’s what everyone sort of assumes he is. Then he just
in the third episode says his name and it’s like duh,
but by not confirming it, it seems to suggest– But that
was the thinking behind it and so as we are moving
into the launch, we were sort of
in New York Comic Con, he was billed as “Probably
Who You Think He Is.” CRAIG: But you were basically
winking at it. DAMON: Right, but I think
that there is this sort of like, it is a mystery show.
That was another part of the originalWatchmen,
which is people forget… They didn’t really reveal
who Rorschach was until halfway through
the comic books’ run and he was a guy who actually
appears in the first issue -as seemingly like a vagabond
or a homeless guy…
-CRAIG: Holding a sign. DAMON: …holding
this “End is Nigh” sign and so– CRAIG: And of course who killed
The Comedian, that’s essentially the murder
at the heart of the whole thing and you don’t find out
until the end. DAMON: Right,
and so who is that? That question, who is that, is a big part ofWatchmen
to me, too, and so we were trying
to sort of replicate that fundamental idea as well
and understanding that… you and I are recording this after people have seen
three episodes, but now the internet, like they get together and the collective intelligence
of– -it only takes one person…
-CRAIG: That can crack any code,
right? DAMON: It takes one person
to just say, “Oh, here’s what I think
is really going on here,” and then suddenly
it catches fire and then you’re done for
so you have to kind of accept in this day and age that
you can’t hide anything anymore. CRAIG: Let’s talk about that
because when I look at– let’s just take
the Adrian Veidt scenes from the first three episodes. There are mysteries galore. I don’t know where he is. -DAMON: Okay.
-CRAIG: I don’t know
what’s happened to him, he seems a little nuts. I don’t know why
he’s made these people. I don’t know exactly how
he’s made them. I don’t know
what this anniversary is. -DAMON: Can I just ask you
a question?
-CRAIG: Yes. DAMON: What makes you think
that he made them at all? CRAIG: Well, exactly.
He might not have, he may have inherited them.
I don’t know. I don’t know
what the anniversary is when the cake– I don’t know
what the story is with that. I definitely don’t know
what’s going on with his neighbor,
the Game Warden. I don’t know what
he’s attempting to do with Phillips or many of
the Phillips’s by firing them into space, catapulting them
into space. It’s hard to tell and I really don’t know
what is going on with his reenactment
of the birth, the creation of Dr. Manhattan,
which seems almost sexual and it’s kind of– it’s like–
he’s way too into it. All of–
It’s a lot of mystery, so with that and with all
the other mysteries, including Louis Gossett Jr.,
who was the boy in Tulsa -who is now Angela’s grandfather
-DAMON: Right. and who says
he has friends in high places and turns out literally has
friends in high places with one of the craziest endings
to a show I’ve ever seen in episode two, where a magnet comes down
and plucks him from the ground
and into the sky. Please tell me that you know
where all of this is going. DAMON:
Oh, I mean, not only do we know
where all of it’s going, but I think again,
one of the things that was on that list that I was telling
you about of adjectives was self-contained. I was like coming out
of thatWatchmen,of course I wanted more. There were other stories
that I was curious about. One of which, for example,
is that the last time that we see Laurie Juspeczyk
and Dan Dreiberg at the end she says, “I think I might go
get a couple of guns,” and the implication is that
she’s basically– her first iteration
of vigilantism was that she was walking
in her mother’s footsteps, -CRAIG: Right.
-DAMON: but now she’s going
to walk in her father’s. And I was like I want to see
this character as the Comedian. -CRAIG: Yeah.
-DAMON: You know, that feels
like a new fresh idea. That said, it answered
the mystery, who killed the Comedian and why? What was Veidt up to?
Like– was John actually
giving people cancer? It did feel like there was a lot
of– all the loops got closed but it ends in this very kind of
like cool, 1970s ambiguous way of Rorschach’s journal
in the hands of this guy and you’re sort of wondering,
“Is everything that I just saw now going to be undone -by Rorschach exposing it?”
-CRAIG: Nothing ever ends. DAMON: Right. There’s this sort
of like degree of ambiguity in terms of the way that it ends and yet it also simultaneously
feels immensely satisfying. All of this by way of saying is, every question
that you just asked, “Where is Adrian Veidt?” “What’s his relationship
with the Game Warden?” “What’s up with the cakes?” “Where is he
and what’s he doing?” -“Where do all these clones,”
-CRAIG: The watch. DAMON:
“what have you, these beings,
where do they come from?” “Why is he obsessed
with Dr. Manhattan?” All of those things are answered
very, very definitively -and I will just say…
-CRAIG: Great. DAMON:
Let me just say one other thing, which is that I was delighted
by the idea that in every single episode
of– ofWatchmenin these nine episodes,
you got like a five-minute long
intermission, -like the Wiley Coyote,
Road Runner cartoon.
-CRAIG: Yes. Yes. -CRAIG: It gave you a break.
-DAMON: given especially
because the tonal shifts in the originalWatchmen
is like this sort of like wacky kind
of crazy adventure that Jeremy Irons
is the star of. He’s the star of his own show. Now, let me say
after three episodes, if you are worried,
A, that’s the intention, you should be worried.
You should be worried as to like why– what is this all for?
Is it even real, ’cause it feels like
it might be a little bit
tonally aberrant. It’s not. These are not
parallel storylines. They are in fact
converging lines that are moving towards
one another. The reason that I say this is, and I think
it’s just interesting for– for the purposes of lifting up the curtain
for a second. After we shot the pilot
and HBO said, “We want to pick up
the series.” We were like, okay, we want to shoot
the Jeremy Irons thing in Wales and the weather is going
to become very, very inclement by the end of October, so we have to write all of that
first. We broke out nine episodes worth
of story for him, wrote it, and then shot that
before we even went into production on episode two,
so we were locked in on how he was going to converge with everybody else’s story
from the jump. CRAIG: Which I presume means
you had to be locked in
on everyone’s story, I mean, this is a watch, right? You guys are building
a little watch. It’s not–
The metaphor isn’t lost on me that now you are the watchmakers
and you are crafting this brilliant thing.
That beautiful symmetry is carried through in
the biggest way in episode three and I guess this will be
our last topic for the podcast and it’s what I think
is just a gloriously perfect, polished-off loop. Laurie Blake, we meet Laurie Blake
in episode three and we find out through a very kind of
entertaining way that she works for the FBI
and her job is to pursue vigilantes,
masked vigilantes in particular and she is tough. And we find out
that she was once Silk Specter that is fromWatchmen.
Her father was Comedian whose murder
starts offWatchmen,and she was also once the lover
of Dr. Manhattan. Jean Smart is remarkable. Talk me through why you wanted to pull her in
as a legacy character and what her presence here means to Angela
because she is both antagonist and theoretical ally. And what is kind of going on
with her point of view about masked vigilantes
when she herself was once one. DAMON: Okay. First off,
I have woefully underrepresented many of the writers
in our conversation. Again, I keep saying we,
and I can’t stress enough how much of this show,
particularly the things that you are celebrating,
have nothing to do with me. I was just smart enough
to be the curator of this particular museum
and say I’m putting that on the wall. This episode, the writer of
record that I co-wrote it with was Lila Byock
who we worked together onThe Leftovers
and she had a lot of interest in Laurie kind of from the jump
coming into the room. And I think that a big– I think
that when we were first starting to kick the tires of what
the season was going to be, one of the first questions
was like, so we know Veidt’s going
to be in it, he’s got to be in it.
Rorschach’s dead, Manhattan has left the planet, so he’ll be mentioned
and he’s going to loom large and I think that
going back to the… “write the show
that you would want to see,” Manhattan is going to have
to appear in one way, shape– He has to kind of roll
in at some point. But when are we going
to stop seeing fin and start seeing shark because if Manhattan enters
the show, all of the rules change,
so we have to be really careful about how big of a role
he’s going to play. Laurie was the other character
who felt like there was another chapter
of her story that felt really,
really interesting and the real challenge for us
was like, “Oh, that’s the chapter that
we’re not going to dramatize. What happened in the 30 years
between the end ofWatchmen-and here, so where is she now?”
-CRAIG: Right. DAMON: Like if she went
and she was still a woman in her early forties who had
another chapter of vigilantism, where she took on the mantle
of The Comedian, how should we see her now?
And I think that– Just like there are gonna be… understandable
and justifiable criticisms of this TV iteration
ofWatchmen,one of the primary criticisms
of those 12 issues, not a criticism that I had
at the time that I read them, is the show underrepresents
people of color and women. -It doesn’t–
-CRAIG: The novel. -DAMON: The 12 issues,
-CRAIG: Yeah. DAMON: or that
Laurie is not as well developed as a character
as some of the men. And again, it’s impossible
for me to criticize those 12. I should be able
to criticize them, but I hold them
in such high regard. But I do acknowledge that,
oh God, it would be really cool to put Laurie in a more
central role this time around. Laurie actually felt maybe
perhaps in the firstWatchmenthat she was an adjunct
to Manhattan or The Comedian’s daughter
versus a character who had her ownraison d’êtreand so what does Laurie want? What if Laurie is going to be
basically the starling as an FBI agent
who’s basically kind of rolling into town and is going
to crack this case wide open? We were also all as a room
watchingKilling Eveand it was like, this is
the fucking greatest show ever. How do we do that?
Normally it’s always two guys, it’s the hunter
and the hunted. But what happens if that’s–
who’s going to be a good foil for Regina King? Who can go
toe to toe with Regina King? CRAIG: And that confrontation
they have in the small little crypt
where a Seventh Kavalry member has tunneled in to try
and suicide bomb, or at least take Senator Keene
hostage, that conversation
goes pretty well and it is that. It’s a duel, -and Regina King doesn’t let her
win at the end.
-DAMON: Right. CRAIG: It’s the second time
actually in the episode that we see,
and maybe I’m reading into it, that Laurie attempts
to push someone around and they kind of go, “Hmm, I’m going to push you back
a little bit,” because it happens with her–
with this young FBI agent she’s brought in where he goes,
“You know, actually, no, -I’m not gonna take your crap.”
-DAMON: Right. CRAIG: It’s almost like people
are detecting that it’s an act, that she’s putting on
a little bit of a show and that there’s somebody
a little bit more decent in there than she’s letting on. DAMON: Yeah, and for sure, and I think that
it’s interesting because when you’re talking
about a show where people dress up
as costumed adventurers and she gets much more–
Blake gets into the very idea of what I’m about to describe
in the fourth episode, so I don’t want to spoil it, but she has
a very specific philosophy about what masks are and what masks do
and what she believes, that– why she thinks
that people who wear them are not to be trusted. There’s a psychological element
to this and obviously that all relates to trauma
and I think that for her, she sympathizes with anybody
who wears a mask, but she also understands
that masks are dangerous. And I think that in her sit down
with Angela, particularly because
that episode is constructed where Laurie is the hero. Basically, we spent
two episodes sort of going, “Oh, Angela is the hero
of the story,” but now suddenly, she’s really only in seven
to eight minutes of this one and so we’re supposed
to identify with Laurie. This idea of like if these two
are going toe to toe, -who do we even want to win?
-CRAIG: Mm-hmm. -The answer is both of them.
-CRAIG: Right. -DAMON: Like, you know–
-CRAIG: It’s a draw. DAMON: They’re on opposite sides
of these things and Blake is quite,
quite clearly… She’s way ahead of the game. She knows
that Angela faked fainting. She knows that Angela
took something -out of Crawford’s
hidden compartment.
-CRAIG: So smart. DAMON: She doesn’t exactly know
what yet and she knows that that Angela
was probably at the crime scene and that a wheelchair
is in some way involved but she doesn’t
necessarily think that Angela killed Crawford because that doesn’t make sense -either.
-CRAIG: It doesn’t add up
to her. DAMON: The way
that we always described it in the writers’ room
because you look for archetypes, isThe Fugitive,where Gerard
is basically, in the contemporary retelling, it’s Tommy Lee Jones
and Harrison Ford, but Gerard is hunting Kimball
and he has a job to do but midway through the movie,
it became very apparent to Gerard when Kimball is like,
“I didn’t kill my wife,” and then he jumps off the falls.
It’s sort of like he says, -“I don’t care,” but he does.
He does.
-CRAIG: Of course does. And so Laurie cares
and we needed the audience to know by the end
of this episode that, I hate saying
she’s vulnerable too, -because now we’re gendering it.
-CRAIG:
Oh, I would say vulnerable. -She’s a human being.
-DAMON: Right.
She’s a human being. CRAIG: She does seem a little–
a little dangerous. What she does to kill the guy
with the bomb is dangerous. -DAMON: Right.
-CRAIG: Probably not
in the handbook, so I think everybody,
and Angela in particular, surely is looking at her
thinking, I’m not sure if I can trust you. I’m not you can even trust
yourself in that regard. And when the show comes
to a conclusion, she has slept
with her young partner -because she wants to.
-DAMON: Yeah. CRAIG: Because
she’s a little dangerous. She carries around… what was, I assume,
a novelty dildo, or not novelty,
just a dildo that was put out. -DAMON:
A Jeff Koons limited dildo.
-CRAIG: Yeah, a dildo. CRAIG: It is very Koonsy
and yes, it is meant to– I mean
we know that Dr. Manhattan had just a regular penis
except for the fact -that it was blue
and made of energy.
-DAMON: Right. Yes. CRAIG: But this is just
a dildo that’s blue, but it was marketed,
what does it say? “Spectre takes Manhattan”
or something like that? DAMON: I think
that’s a magazine clip It’s anEsquiremagazine -that she’s put
in the attached case
-CRAIG: I see. -that was not necessarily sold–
-CRAIG:
It wasn’t sold with that. Okay. -DAMON: Yeah. Yes.
-CRAIG: It all– it’s nostalgia, which is a big theme
fromWatchmen.-I’m sure
it’ll come back around
-DAMON: Big time. CRAIG: …but I loved that there
was sexuality here because sexuality is a huge part
ofWatchmenas well -and it was interesting
to see it return.
-DAMON: Right. CRAIG:
And then the very last shot, the car falls back out
of the sky, -clearly intentionally.
-DAMON: Yes. CRAIG:
And she looks up and maybe
that’s the real Owlship, hard to say. She seems to know
what it is and she laughs
because she gets the joke. I have no idea what’s
coming next, Damon Lindelof, but I cannot wait to see it
and I’m sure everybody who’s watching the show
and certainly listening to this podcast, I think that’s
as good as a place as any to end our conversation. Damon, any last thoughts
for our listeners? DAMON:
Just watch the skies and beware
of falling plot devices. CRAIG: Oh boy, we’re in for it. You have been listening to
The Official Watchmen Podcast.
I’m your host, Craig Mazin
and again I’ve had the pleasure of talking withWatchmen’s
writer and executive producer Damon Lindelof. This podcast is produced by HBO
and Pineapple Street Studios. Please, please,
if you enjoyed this, subscribe, rate it, review it. That’s how
people come to find it. Tell your friends,
tell your enemies. You can find this podcast
where you find most terrific
podcasts, on Apple podcasts
as well as Spotify, YouTube, the HBO Go and HBO Now apps or wherever else you get
your podcasts. Thanks so much for listening.

88 comments

  1. Yes, this last episode was amazing. Thanks for the podcast as well. Went very well with Chernobyl, and this should be epic.

  2. I’m really digging the show. Digging this podcast as well.obviously “Watchmen” the comics are amazing. One of the best books not just comics ever. Hate to be this guy but this new label of “Watchmen” being a graphic novel has become a pet peeve of mine. It’s a comic. Graphic novels are produced as such. Watchmen came out in single issue form.

  3. This is a great idea. I’m so glad they did this for Watchmen!

    I missed out on Chernobyl and it’s podcast, so I had no idea hbo did podcasts. I hope hbo does this for even older shows; just to get a peek behind the creator’s thoughts. Love this show!!

  4. Liked the novel, don't like what they did with it the whole all white people are nazis, all black people are victims narrative.

  5. excelente show gracias por no dejarme dormir, siempre me quedo pensando que va a pasar en el siguiente episodio y es mejor de lo que imagine, no me pasaba esto desde la serie de Lost. : )

  6. Damon Lindelof sounds like he wants to be David Lynch, but in the end is poor man's Jonathan Nolan. In fact, this show is so similar to Westworld , if someone told me it was made by Jonathan Nolan's less smart American brother , I'd say, sure , seems like it.

  7. Is Ozymandias being held prisoner on Mars by Dr. Manhattan? He's obviously trying to build some kind of space suit and lives in some kind of prison.

  8. I bet the old man (Will) in the wheelchair is actually the original masked hero Hooded justice now 105 years old. also, why is Redford president for 30 + years?

  9. Veidt is supposed to be the smartest man on Earth. Everything he did was very well calculated. He was always calm, cool, collected and purposeful.

    Who's this new idiot played by Jeremy iron who was so giddy like a little boy to see a clone being burned alive??

  10. Silk Spectre chose nite owl over Manhattan at the end of the book. They became a couple and went off on a life together.

    So who's this new chick who needs blue dong and playing an FBI agent when she would be more believably just break nite owl out of jail and live together somewhere in secret hideout.

  11. Had high hopes after episode 1. But I now feel like theyre trying to be smart with twists and hidden secrets(some are already becoming obvious after episode 3) and altered the characters of the original heroes to fit their scheme.

    I don't see veidth and silk Spectre on TV so far, almost the opposite of who and what they are in the book.

  12. This show is amazing ! I loved the leftovers and now my favorite show is watchmen!
    I will watch literally anything this man makes!!

  13. Congratulations! I’ll now read this graphic novel/comic collection. Watching it blind, I absolutely love it! So you have created a win-win. Jeremy Irons is very Claus Van Bulow. Had I been in the writer’s room, l would’ve used the CVP ….☺️ l’m wondering whether anyone considered changing her name to Special Agent Smart?
    Does anyone know why all of the secrecy?
    I wouldn’t have minded HBO telling me in advance, thusly I would have read it in advance ( or at least acquired it. )

  14. If I don't like the first episode of a tv show, there's a 75% of probability I won't see it again. In this case I wasn't into but I'll watch the episode 2 to prove myself wrong. If doesn't click…

  15. The owl is the game warden, and Dr Manhattan has imprisoned them in some off world or alternate dimension, to keep Ozymandias secret, and the maid and butler were put there to simply keep him company by Manhattan, am I close😬

  16. Ozymandias is probably going to die maybe by Dr. Manhattan. I don't really like the new and improved Silk Spectre and found the dildo joke crass. Nite Owl and Rorschach were my favorite characters and Nite Owl not being in this new incarnation really effects the way I feel about it that being said Night Sister almost makes up for him not being in it.

  17. this is so bad why call it watchmen when it have nothing to do with the watchmen… and if your going to rewrite it all name it something else

  18. Love this show so far! As someone who loved the graphic novel it is a worthy succession so far. Also cool to have this be so good as well as Doomsday Clock (comic) as both sequels to the book and both amazing.

  19. Mr. Moore dealt with global anxieties set in alternative universe of America. The more pressing global issue that has been occurring for a decade now is mass migration, look at Europe with Syrian and North African refugees here in the states with Central Americans. Just saying, a creative from outside the states more then likely would have made that the theme of this show.

  20. Good pod, thanks Damon for bringing Watchmen to tv, at the end where did the host get the owl ship from? Clearly came from Mars right?

  21. This is why its unbelievably important for "White-Americans" to understand CULTURE… not necessarily Culture of people of other ethnicities (because that's a respectful given) but Culture that, in which, they themselves, hail from… to give their lives more of a meaningful context in which they have presently arrived into existence here in 2019 America

  22. Thanks to this show I finally learned that racism is a bad thing. Totally worth it to dedicate an entire show to awful white people like me instead of staying true to the comics.

  23. Im 3 episodes in, not impressed. Nothing like the original material. This show is an insult to Alan Moore in its existence.

  24. Hey DLin.. love how you were obviously inspired by Laurie when she told Dan: 'We're the leftovers' in the original work. Really informs as to why you were the one for the job.

  25. I like the show a lot, but only because I want to see how it all comes together in the end. Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure. I felt the same way about Lost and was let down for the most part.

  26. 0:45 Ah yes, writer and producer on a docu-drama that completely ignored the reality of what actually happened at Chernobyl to tell a highly exaggerated and fanciful 'thought provoking' story, as if the horrors of what actually happened couldn't have done that just as well. That explains why 'Watchmen' completely ignores its source material of Alan Moore's Watchmen, to tell a story that has nothing at all to do with Watchmen at all except the name and random key jiggling in the form of nonsensical squid rain. Welp, no point in watching the rest of this; I got my answer to why the series sucks within the first minute. They are hiring people who don't care about the source material.

  27. This show sucks so bad it's ridiculous. I hate how they've taken a 12 issue masterpiece of a miniseries and turned it into trash.

  28. Only one thing,the actress that play Ángela abar "don't act fine" she don't have the performance and the height to interpretation that needs her carácter,only in the 3 chapter,in the scene that Laurie says "the good guys don't finish hanging" Ángela drop out all the height of the scene to the garbage with these "buuuu"

  29. Um, The Watchmen doesn't need a podcast, it needs better episodes. Check Rotten Tomatoes if you think I'm wrong. You have a great chance at something special here and you're ruining it. Again check RT if you think I'm wrong. F what the critics percent is, check the fans!

  30. Antifa aren't protesters. Dude sisternight is such a dumb character. This could have been such a good show. Progressives think everything should be about race. I wish there was. Episode 3 is the best so far. Silk spectre is the most interesting character so far.sister night seems like a blacksploitation character. I was hoping lindeloff wasn't a white guilter that preaches to his audience. So sad that he is so concerned about race. So I'm done with the show.

  31. 🍃 👀 🍃 can we get the traditional behind the scenes at the end of the show – immediate insight would be nice 🍃 👀 🍃

  32. i love how people are bashing the show in the comments yet they arent going into detail of why its bad, just its bad cause they said so…no further explanation

  33. Really concerned that the Watchmen tv series will betray Alan Moore’s politics and plug into a more generic neoliberal anti-Russia hysteria paradigm

  34. It wasn’t the right path to take, and Damon should have already learned this from Star Trek into Darkness where they bizarrely tried to hide the fact that Khan was the main villain

  35. The implication is not that she’s going to walk in her fathers footsteps, total and utter misrepresentation of her last line in the comic, not a good sign for the rest of this tv show

  36. I think it's a bummer they replaced the very relevant nuclear war concept with race. Yes, there are still racists out there but there are about 7 and they all live in their parent's basement.

  37. Takes until 11:38 for Lindoff to come out as a straight up racist bigot.

    Pushing racism is antithetical to The Watchman. Literally it’s a comment on people like Lindoff who think they are the good guys but are violent racists.

  38. here is a far-fetched fan theory from me…

    i believe adrian veidt parts are taking place just after his disappearance in 2012. veidt was kidnapped on the arctic pole, in an ecosystem that was built for him as a prison and hid from other people's vision. this can be a similar ecosystem to the one that was built by him in the comics. him being on arctic explains the catapult and the frozen clone. i mean, in the show, mars is for sure not populated by people and there are no spaceships around. how can you escape mars with a catapult? on the other hand, a catapult can enable him to escape his prison in the arctic, before the game warden notices. additionally, if he can build a suit that resists the cold for a certain period of time, he can also escape from the arctic as well.

    i also believe that he was kidnapped by lady trieu, the owner of the trieu industries, and not by dr. manhattan. after all, veidt disappeared when trieu industries bought his company in 2012, not after the squid attacked in 1985. why would dr. manhattan wait for years before kidnapping him?

    lady trieu is not introduced in the show yet; however, we know that she is named after a famous vietnamese woman warrior from the 3rd century, who fought for vietnamese liberation against chinese invasion. in this alternative universe, the us won the vietnam war with the help of dr. manhattan, and vietnam became a us state. an organization named “vietnamese liberation front” exits and its aim is to liberate vietnam from the us. this organization also claimed to be the ones that assassinated veidt.

    i think lady trieu might be supporting the vietnamese liberation front. she might also be trying to start a race war, to weaken the us state to make it easier for the vietnamese liberation front. do not forget that angela abar is from vietnam, this also means that her grandfather, who became an orphan during tulsa massacre, has a connection with vietnam as well. here, i am not claiming that neither her nor her grandfather have any connections with villains, but it seems that all comes back to the vietnam issue and creates a gordian knot, waiting for the alexander to cut.

    finally, i believe that dr. manhattan is building a castle on mars as a brand-new prison for lady trieu and not for veidt, or may be for both, and he is modeling the prison after the one at the arctic pole. as an ironic punishment may be…

  39. i have curious if creator of this show like zack snyder watchmen , because in watchmen tv show we have some little references to watchmen movie

  40. I think that's Dr. Manhattan responding to Blake's joke. Blake is the girl who throw the brick to the sky and the car is the brick.

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