It's funny what you can learn by playing six degrees of IMDB.com. I was watching both The Sopranos and the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead tonight, and it occurred to me that one of the feds on the beloved HBO show was also head security guard CJ in DOTD. I fuckin' love that movie, in case anyone was wondering; great performances, especially by Jake Weber, and a great screenplay by James Gunn.
I started perusing the actors' IMDB pages, and then checked out director Zach Snyder, who recently hit the Hollywood jackpot by following up my favorite zombie movie with the Frank Miller adaptation, 300. I guess 300 gives him free reign to pick his next projects, because he's been attached to direct the 1986 comic book classic Watchmen from before the Grecian epic was released (even going so far as to include a single frame test shot of Watchman Rorschach into the R-rated trailer for 300). Watchmen is considered one of, if not THE greatest work in comic books of all-time, and its languished in movie development for years, long thought to be too difficult to direct. Directors from Terry Gilliam to Paul Greengrass to Darren Aronofsky have dropped out over the years. But it was written by Alan Moore, and that's a fine reason to keep trying.
For years, Alan Moore has kept Hollywood at arms length. Having your classic works "butchered" by greedy weasels in suits will do that. Moore wrote the comic books From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, both of which didn't get adapted to film so well, with the public reacting accordingly (not to mention the latter making the great Sean Connery want to retire). He also wrote V For Vendetta and some of the "Hellblazer" material that the Constantine film was adapted from, but famously demanded his name to be nowhere near the credits for the blockbuster hit movies after an emotionally draining lawsuit involving the LXG screenplay; he now maintains that his name not be associated with the films based on his books, saying he wants the profits to go to the artists he worked with.
And yet, so far, Moore's name is on the IMDB page for Snyder's adaptation of Watchmen, due in 2008. He isn't writing the screenplay though- that task falls to Alex Tse (who wrote Spike Lee's little-seen Sucker Free City), based on an earlier draft by a man named David Hayter. Hayter, it turns out, is one of the most fascinating people in Hollywood that the everyday person has never heard of.
The most mainstream thing he's done is write the screenplays for the first two X-Men films as well as the Rock vehicle The Scorpion King. He also submitted unused screenplays for Ang Lee's Hulk and The Chronicles Of Riddick. There were plans for him to make his directorial debut for Marvel on a film based on super heroine Black Widow, but that fell through. According to IMDB, his script for Watchmen is a whopping 324 pages and sticks remarkably well to the source comic. To give you an idea of how huge a screenplay that is, the average length is 90-110 pages (which would usually work out at about a page per minute of film). That would make Watchmen either super-detailed on the page or 5 & a half hours long.
OK, so he's a screenwriter, right. Actually, no. His bread is really buttered with voice work. He's been doing English dubbing for Japanese anime since he was ten years old, and has dozens of credits; also, anytime you see Captain America in the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons from the mid 90's, that was Hayter's voice. And finally, there's his real claim to fame: He is the voice of geek-worshiped Metal Gear hero, Solid Snake. Hayter has been Snake's voice in nine games, with the tenth, Metal Gear Solid 4, coming out later this year. To top that off, he's supposedly the only MGS actor to actually play and beat the games. So, when Rorschach & the Watchmen hit the big screenin 2008, just thank Tony Soprano for wanting to rat out some Middle Easterners to CJ from Dawn Of The Dead so that you can know that some of the dialogue in the movie was written by Solid Snake.
- Read more about the film adaptation of Watchmen [Wiki]