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Watchmen: The DreamCast (Slightly Updated)

Watchmen book cover art

So, reworking the DreamCasts, we do see that Watchmen is rather popular. Go figure. The actual film is about to happen–lawsuit behind us, everybody happy–so it makes sense to revisit this thing…about ten years after we first worked it up. And sadly, it’s woefully out of date. Both our Nite Owls have left us, for example. And the actors we had in mind have aged…hell, it’s been around a decade since we first did this thing. So we’re not going to do a regular DreamCast–this close in to the actual film, it doesn’t make sense.

Instead, we’re going to go the Ultimate DreamCast route–where we cast the thing as we would have on hand if we could go to any time period and, like some kind of casting version of The Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths, pluck any actor from any point in the timestream. So in that vein, we’ve taken our original Watchmen cast and reworked it a bit.

So, as always, if you haven’t read the original graphic novel, you might want to go no further–because there will be spoilers. And if you haven’t, click over to Amazon and buy it.

The Comedian Stacy Keach circa late Mike Hammer
Rorschach William H. Macy circa Pleasantville
Hollis Mason (Nite Owl I) Jack Lemmon circa Glengarry Glen Ross
Nite Owl II John Ritter circa Stephen King’s IT miniseries, 1998
Ozymandias Cary Elwes
Dr. Manhattan Jeff Goldblum
Silk Spectre II Kate Beckinsale
Sally Jupiter (Silk Spectre I) Ann-Margret
Moloch Martin Landau circa late 90s, i.e. X-Files movie
Dr. Malcolm Long Ernie Hudson


Directed by Terry Gilliam

Why Watchmen? Well, the damn thing’s happening anyway. And when we first did the DreamCast for this, the reality of the film actually happening was a looong way off. And filled us with fear. Especially since nobody seemed to know how to do the film–which was basically film the graphic novel to the best of their ability. The closest script we saw before this new project got off the ground was Sam Hamm’s: his screenplay kicked ass for 105 pages then sucked rocks the last 15. It did an amazing job of working an extremely complicated and convoluted story into a package that actually works and then did an equally amazing job of screwing everything up, completely missing the point of the original series’ ending. The fact I hear the ending in this new version has been changed fills me with doubt and remorse. But that’s what we’re here for–think of it as therapy.

What’s the scoop? It’s 1985. Superheroes have been forcibly retired by the government. One by one, however, former masked men (and women) are being stalked by someone who seems to want them all dead. The remaining heroes must decide to return to what they left behind them to unravel the mystery and save their own skins.

Directed by Terry Gilliam: Nothing against Zack Snyder–in fact, nothing against anybody who’s in the real thing, we’re just dreaming here–but Gilliam was attached to the thing at one point. You’ve got superheroes operating in a realistic setting, and as we’ve stated before, Terry’s got a knack for bringing an odd synthesis of reality and fantasy to the big screen. He’s the man who’s been spotted with the bloody smiley face button, so he’s our pick. And I’m sure with Warner Brothers backing the thing, it could get made without any of the issues that have plagued many of his latest films.

Stacy Keach as The Comedian: For this role you need somebody who’s rather large and rather tough. Somebody who can wear leather body armor, tote a gun, and make it work. Somebody who can kick major ass and not even break a sweat. Somebody who can be a major dickhead who you’d think had to have been likable at some point because of the people he used to be around. And there you have it. A slightly younger Mike Hammer-era Keach is perfect. And if you’ve seen him in stuff like American History X, you know he can be a bit of a prick. A dangerous one, in fact.

William H. Macy as Rorschach: You know, this pick of mine gets me the most stares. As in…bwhuh? I never would have picked Jackie Earle Haley–I think it’s probably going to be perfect. But my point was this: when Rorschach has his mask off, he always struck me as Just This Guy. He might look a little off–but the craziest vigilante on the planet? No. And Macy just did that for me. Plus Macy is a fantastic actor and we’ve never seen him just be…you know, utterly whacked in that way.

Jack Lemmon as Hollis Mason: Hollis Mason was the first Nite Owl, one of the first generation of costumed vigilantes. Long since retired, he owns a repair shop and reminisces about the good old days, with the man who took up the mantle. Lemmon was a fine older actor who played a lot of comedies towards his latter days. Our younger readers should go find Glengarry Glen Ross and fix that implication right now. It would have been perfect for him.

John Ritter as Nite Owl II: This was the first name Bailey mentioned for Nite Owl, and I think it’s perfect. We’ve always liked Ritter, from his early days to later stuff like Skin Deep to Sling Blade. He’d be perfect for the slightly paunchy costumed adventurer who’s a bit behind on the whole busting heads and staying in shape business. It appears in the upcoming movie they’ve streamlined him a bit physically, but I always thought Ritter had the right sense of humor and the right acting to pull this off.

Cary Elwes as Ozymandias: Ozymandias is the fair-haired Captain America-esque hero–the peak of physical perfection. We originally were thinking of Greg Kinnear, but when Bailey said Elwes, it just had to be. And looking back, I think we actually came up with this notion before he played Captain Amazing in Mystery Men. Now let me qualify: we’re not talking the snide campy one-note Elwes of Twister and Jungle Book, where at any moment he could twirl his moustache and say “Ha-HA!”- we’re talking a toned version of that. Ozymandias is full of himself, yes, but it’s less comedic and more just…certain.

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Manhattan: This was a hard part to cast, let me tell you. Manhattan is essentially godlike, and completely removed from humanity more and more as the story unfolds. And now that we’ve decided on Jeff, we must qualify on him as well: we’re not talking the goofy Goldblum of ID4 and the Jurassic Park movies. We’re talking the intellectual intensity of Cronenberg’s The Fly. Combine that with a CGI body and effects, and you’ve got the Doc.

Kate Beckinsale as Silk Spectre II: The very beautiful superheroine who got hooked up with Doc Manhattan only to become increasingly disturbed as his withdrawal. And this needs to be less the Beckinsale we’re used to seeing flip-around Matrix style with guns. In the original book, you didn’t have people running around with metahuman wackiness–they were all just mehums in costumes. So it’s a bit different. If you have her play more human and less badass, I think it would work.

Ann-Margret as Sally Jupiter: Obviously our version of Sally would be a lot less rough than the version in the comic. Seriously, have you seen Ann-Margret? She still looked good when we first cast her in this role and she still holds up even though it’s not another decade later. Did we mention she’s a great actress too?

Martin Landau as Moloch: It took us a while to come up with who should play this magician/illusionist/villain. Slap Landau into a suit like Moloch wears and give him that evil almost, dare I say it, Lugosi-like look, and we’re set.

Ernie Hudson as Dr. Malcolm Long: The hapless prison shrink who meets up with Rorschach while the big R’s in the joint. You need someone who can handle scenes where they get told the story of the german shepherds by Macy and be able to play it perfectly. Somebody needs to cast the woefully underutilized Hudson in something and we think this would work.

What say you? If you could cast anybody from anywhere at anytime in the roles, who would you go with?


  • It’s funny- my dreamcast had William H. Macy and Cary Elwes in the same roles. I also had Steve Buscemi as an alternate Rohrschach.

    My slightly more B-Movie cast had Bruce Campbell for Nite Owl II and Julie Strain as Silk Spectre II.

    The only other role I had cast in my mind was John Berryman (the original Hills Have Eyes) for Moloch.

  • Interesting Moloch…the only trouble with Berryman is that he’s SO identified as Pluto in Hills that it brings in allusions that you might not want. That being said, I think the best bit for him ever was in Weird Science. Points for Bruce as well–I’d cast him in everything under the sun, even as a bit cameo, if I could. In fact, I’ll tell you where to cast Bruce–in Black Freighter.