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Zack Snyder Calls Terry Gilliam A “Genius,” Backs Down From ‘Watchmen’ Beef

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist April 17, 2014 at 1:34PM

Forbes has a new interview with director Zack Snyder. You know, the guy that’s directing possibly the most geek-anticipated film of all time, “Batman Vs. Superman.” Don’t get too excited, Snyder reveals almost zero details. He doesn’t talk Ben Affleck, Lex Luthor, the Justice League or anything. Perhaps more interestingly he discusses his beef with Terry Gilliam over “Watchmen.”
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Zack Snyder, Watchmen, Gilliam

Forbes has a new interview with director Zack Snyder. You know, the guy that’s directing possibly the most geek-anticipated film of all time, “Batman Vs. Superman.” Don’t get too excited, Snyder reveals almost zero details. He doesn’t talk Ben Affleck, Lex Luthor, the Justice League or anything. Perhaps more interestingly he discusses his beef with Terry Gilliam over “Watchmen.”

In short: Gilliam was one of the directors initially set to make “Watchmen” but as development is wont to do, Gilliam eventually left the project. Snyder obviously went on to make the super-hero film. Fast forward to years later, former producer Joel Silver said Snyder’s version was like a “slave” to the comic book. Snyder hit back, but in doing so took a swipe at Terry Gilliam, the director on the project when Silver was producing saying, “So, finally I made ['Watchmen'] to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world." Gilliam then also responded, but his response was really more of a cheeky subtweet that didn’t outwardly diss Snyder.

Talking about “Watchmen,” Snyder sidetracked into a tangent about the Gilliam feud. “It’s funny, Terry Gilliam and I having this ridiculous back and forth—by the way, Terry Gilliam is literally one of my favorite filmmakers, and literally 'Brazil' is one of my favorite movies of all time. I consider it a masterpiece… I don’t know, I just find the whole conversation, that whole thing that happened, that whole thing that happened, ludicrous.”

Fair enough, but wasn’t it Snyder who brought Gilliam into the beef with Silver in the first place? Gilliam hadn’t put him on blast (though to be fair, in the past Gilliam had acknowledged he thought the movie didn’t work either).

“Exactly [I was trying to rescue it from being changed],” Snyder continued. “That’s exactly how I meant it. I just meant that, you know– all I wanted to do was do it as close as I could to the way it was in the comic book. That was my entire point of view. And everyone was like, ‘You can’t do it like it was in the comic book, you have to figure out a way around it.’ And I just said, ‘Well, let’s try it — and maybe we’ll fail — but that’s the idea.’ So yeah, I agree. Look, I have nothing but respect for Terry Gilliam, and I think he’s a genius. So, that’s that.”

OK, beef over? Back to the small bits of “Batman Vs. Superman” talk. When will we see footage, photos and whatnot from the film? There's no, timeframe right now. “That all gets tied to marketing and strategies for the movie. It’s not just a free-for-all, which I’d love it to be.” Snyder told Forbes he has a photo of the new Batman costume on the wall of his office “And I’m like, ‘God, I want to send this to the Internet immediately.’ But I know I’m not allowed to [laughs]! I do value the sort of excitement of the way the film is [revealed]… the pieces that are released and sort of trickle out to everybody, and those reveals are exciting milestones for us.”

When are those milestones? Unclear. Okay, so how did they arrive on Batman as the “villain” for Superman to face-off in the movie? Snyder doesn’t really say, but does give a long rambling answer.

After ‘Man of Steel’ finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman. In the first meeting, it was like, “Maybe Batman?” Maybe at the end of the second movie, some Kryptonite gets delivered to Bruce Wayne’s house or something. Like in a cryptic way, that’s the first time we see him. But then, once you say it out loud, right? You’re in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf… You know, who to fight next? The problem is, once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right? Once you say, “What about Batman?” then you realize, “Okay, that’s a cool idea. What else?” I mean, what do you say after that?

Snyder does also confirm what basically everyone already knows: Wonder Woman is in the film (though this might be the first time he’s publicly acknowledged it).

And then we have Wonder Woman, you know, all three of them in the same shot. Even just for a [camera] test [shot], you really have to go, "Wow, that’s crazy!" Not only is it the first time that I’m seeing them, it’s the first time they’ve ever existed together on screen in a movie. And that’s kind of a huge deal. Even just Batman and Superman standing next to each other… [i]t’s kind of epic. You do sort of sense the weight of the pop culture iconography jumping out of its skin when you’re standing there looking at the two of them and Wonder Woman. It’s crazy. But it’s fun. I mean, I have the first photo, I’ve got it in my archive because I was like, ‘Okay, I better keep this, it’s gonna be worth something.

“Batman Vs. Superman” is set for a May 6, 2016 release date. The ongoing war over “Watchmen” is hopefully over.

This article is related to: Zack Snyder, Terry Gilliam, Watchmen, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice


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