Just what is happening over at the Watchmen production office?
This much-troubled production of the classic Alan Moore graphic novel is still fighting stormy weather apparently, with a seemingly non-stop rollercoaster of good news / bad news of late.
The first big story was published by Total Film magazine with the claim that Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg was in line to be considered for the role of Rorschach (check out p22 of Book 5 if you want to know where this writer got his username from). Then Chud.com ran an interview with the director Paul Greengrass, and all was looking good.
Empire online were next up, with a fantastic multi-page feature on the film's pre-production status, including a report of the film's opening three minutes in animatic form. Also reassuringly for fans, they reported that the costume designs are looking mighty fine, even the dreaded Night Owl outfit which the designers have given a "hard, metallic, 'don't fuck with me' sheen, while the Nite Owl's goggles - which stylistically correspond with his Owlship - are very, very frickin' cool".
But then comingsoon.net revealed a problem emerging, namely that with the changing of the guard at Paramount Pictures (there's a new chief in Brad Grey with Gail Berman coming in as studio president) has led to the film's budget needing to be cut and some crew members having been released.
Now it seems more details have emerged that the film is now in danger of having to move out of the UK for it's production as it is proving to be too expensive to shoot in Alan Moore's home nation. Producer Lloyd Levin cites the exchange rate of the US dollar to the British pound as one of the reasons for the change of location, although he made it clear that Greengrass was still attached and that they're still hoping to release the film in the summer of 2006.
So with a production in disarray, a history of ever-changing directors and news that the film has now got to upheave from it's UK home, it just begs the question - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Early in the 1990s, Terry Gilliam was reportedly attached to make a big-screen verson of the adventures of Dr Manhatten, the Comedian, Nite Owl, Rorschach (or rawshark...) and Ozymandias, before he bailed saying it was impossible to translate the scale of the story to the silver screen.
More recently Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon turned in a draft of the screenplay, which has since been rewritten by David Hayter who has been trying to secure the Directing gig too. Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) was also recently mooted for the project, although he since left to be replaced by current 'director-in-chair' Paul Greengrass who has previously made The Bourne Supremacy and Bloody Sunday.