So a VERY, VERY well-placed source told me over the weekend that Billy Crudup is definitely, 100% inked to play Dr. Manhattan in the long-awaited and even longer-in-development "Watchmen" movie. Its expected that '300' director and the current King of all things graphically-oriented Zach Snyder will announce this and perhaps other casting notes this Friday @ the San Diego Comic Con during the "Watchmen" portion of the Warners panel.
Interesting decision on both sides. Snyder proved with 300 he 'gets' the source material and understands the responsibility a filmmaker has to bring a well-respected and beloved story to the screen. With "Watchmen" its doubly so because its nearly universally viewed as the apex of comic book literature. He knows if he screws this up, he's toast with the rabidly loyal fans who are bowing at his feet now because of his adaptation of Miller's bloody masterpiece.
What I like about Snyder is that unlike most folks in Hollywood, he realizes that to be a true commercially successful entity, a comic book/graphic novel adaptation should first and foremost appeal to the core fans. Of course, you want casual fans to get into your movie, but if you hook the diehards who are familiar with the source material, chances are you've got a hit. So I'm cautiously optimistic about "Watchmen," despite the fact that I have doubts about how they're going to pull off some of the bigger scenes from the comics.
As for Crudup, this could put him back in the public eye after years of ducking mainstream movie attention. Not even his too-brief turn in MI:III last year was enough to get him off the Hwood Milk Carton he's been on the past few years. If it wasn't for his voice on those 'priceless' Mastercard commercials, you'd think the man who portrayed 'The Golden God' Russell Hammond in the practically-perfect "Almost Famous" had fallen off the face of the earth. He hasn't. He's been on Broadway, but for most movie fans, that's the same thing.
Whatever the reason he's jumping onboard (hopefully he likes the original comics), Crudup's good in ANYTHING. This is a good step forward for "Watchmen." Can't wait to hear who else signs on.