Watchmen Producer Speaks Out About Case
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Warner Bros
I've been reading small blips here and there of Watchmen cast speak out about the trial. To be honest, they aren't saying much, save for the request for Fox and Warner Bros to settle. Just when I thought everybody on the inside was afraid to speak up about the real on-goings, Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin published an entire open letter. If you're a fan of the franchise and anxiously awaiting the release of the film, you need to read it.
Open Letter Concerning Watchmen Trial
The good people at HitFix have posted an open letter by Llody Levin where he describes his "producer's perspective." To sum it all up, Fox not only looks stupid, but greedy. Check out some snippets below:
Also endless are the list of studio rejections we accrued over the years. Larry and I developed screenplays at five different studios. We had two false starts in production on the movie. We were involved with prominent and commercial directors. Big name stars were interested. In one instance hundreds of people were employed, sets were being built - An A-list director and top artists in the industry were given their walking papers when the studio financing the movie lost faith.
After all these years of rejection, this is the same project, the same movie, over which two studios are now spending millions of dollars contesting ownership. Irony indeed, and then some.
From my point of view, the flashpoint of this dispute, came in late spring of 2005. Both Fox and Warner Brothers were offered the chance to make Watchmen. They were submitted the same package, at the same time. It included a cover letter describing the project and its history, budget information, a screenplay, the graphic novel, and it made mention that a top director was involved.
And it's at this point, where the response from both parties could not have been more radically different.
The response we got from Fox was a flat "pass." That's it. An internal Fox email documents that executives there felt the script was one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years. Conversely, Warner Brothers called us after having read the script and said they were interested in the movie - yes, they were unsure of the screenplay, and had many questions, but wanted to set a meeting to discuss the project, which they promptly did. Did anyone at Fox ask to meet on the movie? No. Did anyone at Fox express any interest in the movie? No. Express even the slightest interest in the movie? Or the graphic novel? No.
Look at it another way... One reason the movie was made was because Warner Brothers spent the time, effort and money to engage with and develop the project. If Watchmen was at Fox the decision to make the movie would never have been made because there was no interest in moving forward with the project.
Does a film studio have the right to stand in the way of an artistic endeavor and determine that it shouldn't exist? If the project had been sequestered at Fox, if Fox had any say in the matter, Watchmen simply wouldn't exist today, and there would be no film for Fox to lay claim on. It seems beyond cynical for the studio to claim ownership at this point.
If your read these snippets I'm sure you can conclude that the producer asks Fox to "stand down." I think every fan would agree.
Watchmen hits theaters on March 6th, 2009.
For the poster, trailers, pictures and more info on the film, go to the Watchmen
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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Producer Speaks Out About Case