It took 22 years to bring Watchmen to the screen, with director Zack Snyder getting the job thanks to his work on 300. But back in the day, director Terry Gilliam tried to give it a shot, and talked all about his vision for the famed Alan Moore graphic novel ... in a 1989 interview.
An animator turned director, Gilliam was interviewed for the documentary From Paper to Film, released in 1991. In it, he discussed the importance of storyboarding, mostly in reference to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He also described how comic books have influenced his work. Gilliam said:
"I keep seeing things in comic book form. Except the difference is with comic books you're not limited to a frame the size of a film. Good comic books are constantly changing the frame, from horizontal to vertical to little spots. You've got a lot more flexibility. Sometimes I actually watch my drawings and think, 'I'm doing a comic strip here.'"
Gilliam has made some astonishing movies: Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys. We Old School types had dreamed about Gilliam's version of Watchmen for years, which was ultimately scuttled when he couldn't raise the funding. To see and hear him discuss his storyboards is kind of heartbreaking.
Snyder's version of Watchmen was quite faithful to Moore's classic. But it never quite lived up to the Gilliam version we had in our minds.
Take a look at the documentary here:
Gilliam starts talking about Watchmen at the 16:30 mark.