HBO’s Watchmen TV series, developed by Damon Lindelof and based upon the groundbreaking 1980s comic book series from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, debuts on Sunday night. The source material has been widely considered “unfilmable,” and Zack Snyder’s 2009 film certainly divided fans on that note. So the new series is risky but ambitious and unexpectedly triumphant, not as a direct adaptation but as a continuation of Moore’s story, yet Lindelof doesn’t seem entirely happy with the process of making the series. This has nothing to do with the content itself but what he’s pretty sure is some psychological aftereffect, or even (as he told Vulture) a “magical curse” from Moore himself.
This discussion follows up on Lindelof’s recent (respectful) middle finger that he launched toward Moore, after more grumblings from the iconic writer who’s famous for expressing distaste toward efforts to adapt Watchmen. At the time, Lindelof’s attitude was that “the wrestling match” between himself and Moore was inevitable, and he seemed okay with it. However, he tells Vulture that he was (and still is) plagued by sleepless nights over taking on this project because he was miserable while making the series, perhaps because of an honest-to-god curse:
“I’m about to say something very ridiculous, but in all sincerity, I was absolutely convinced that there was a magical curse placed upon me by Alan [Moore]. I’m actually feeling the psychological effects of a curse, and I’m okay with it. It’s fair that he has placed a curse on me. The basis for this, my twisted logic, was that I heard that he had placed a curse on Zack [Snyder]’s movie. There is some fundamental degree of hubris and narcissism in saying he even took the time to curse me. But I became increasingly convinced that it had, in fact, happened. So I was like, ‘Well, at least I’m completely and totally miserable the entire time.’ I should be!”
Lindelof goes on to state his observation, regarding Snyder, that the Justice League helmer was having the time of his life while making his 2009 movie, “[a]nd I did not enjoy any of this. That’s the price I paid.” He also concedes that psychologists would probably say that he “emotionally created the curse” in his own mind out of a sense of guilt. If true, that would go back to Lindelof’s own fanboy roots and ill feelings toward himself for being paid to give his own take on Moore and Gibbons’ seminal work after Moore was so furious that rights to his book didn’t revert back to him.
The Lost creator then says that he’s considered the “angry people” who may not watch his series out of nerd solidarity, and he concedes that this is “an admirable position.” However, it’s also true that this series can appeal to people who have no knowledge of Moore’s graphic novel at all, so it remains to be seen how the ratings will shape up.
HBO’s Watchmen series debuts on Sunday, October 20.