Matthew Goode Exclusive Interview – WATCHMEN

     July 22, 2008

Of all the days I could land an interview with Matthew Goode…the day it happened couldn’t have been more perfect. The reason was…the day I interviewed him was the first time I could write about my set visit for “Watchmen,” and it was also the day a description leaked about the first trailer for the film. In fact, I got an email about the trailer right as I walked into the interview room, so we talked about it.

But before we go any further…the reason I got to interview Matthew was the movie “Brideshead Revisited.” If you aren’t familiar with the movie, click here. In the article you can read a synopsis and watch a trailer and some movie clips. Also, in the next day or two I’ll be posting another interview with Matthew Goode and it’ll just be on “Brideshead.” During that interview (which was done in roundtable form) we talked all about his career decisions, making “Brideshead” and a lot more.

However, with Matthew playing Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias in Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Watchmen” movie, I also managed to land a separate one on one interview and since we had already talked so much about “Brideshead,” I asked him if he wouldn’t mind talking “Watchmen” and he couldn’t have been more excited to oblige my request.

So…posted below is a great interview on his work just in “Watchmen.” We talked about how he got the part, how he didn’t know the comic and hadn’t read it before arriving in Vancouver, wearing the costume, how he gave Adrian Veidt a very interesting accent…and a lot more. Seriously…it’s a great interview. But you can judge that for yourself….

Finally, I’m not going to give any intro on what “Watchmen” is about…this interview is for people who know the graphic novel and cannot wait for the movies release.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen/download the MP3 by clicking here.

Collider: I was going to say I’d like to actually focus a little bit on what we call the Zack Snyder onslaught of March 2009.

Matthew Goode: Let’s do it.

Collider: So here’s what’s funny. Of all the days to interview you, today we were allowed to write our preview pieces of the Watchmen set visit today.

Matthew Goode: Oh wow.

Collider: As in I posted it last night at midnight, which was the first time I could write a word telling my audience that I’d been to the set.

Matthew Goode: Oh fuck, that’s bizarre.

Collider: Because they don’t want to build up too much buzz.

Matthew Goode: Oh okay. Fair enough.

Collider: So today is the day we’re allowed to write about it.

Matthew: I thought you posted it a midnight…the moment you could.

Every online site that was there. So let’s talk…I can’t run what I interviewed you until later and you’ll be at Comic-Con…so looking back now, it’s been a number of months, what was the experience like making this movie and what was it compared to what you went in? Can you talk just a little bit about it?

Matthew: Of course. For me, actually, it came at a really tough time as in fact I’d been away from home for almost 3 months filming “Brideshead” and I found that an exhausting process. Not oh poor me, but as in 6 day weeks, 17 hours a day. Just really tough mentally to go from doing that and being really in it and then suddenly 2 days later after finishing in Morocco, I’m in Vancouver. I don’t even know which will sound really sacrilegious but I’m sure people will get it, if you haven’t read Watchmen, and it is the Citizen Kane of the graphic novel world. There’s no question about it. So my ignorance was enormous and I suppose it really helped because by being a fan I would have fucked the audition up. I wouldn’t …because its’ such an amazing….it’s the one you want to do. If you want to be in a graphic novel, that’s the one you want to do.

Let me interrupt you for one second. When you went into the audition, had you read the comic?

Matthew: No, all I knew about it was the fact that the other actors were involved and that was a pressure, but I had one scene at the end where it was like saying I killed millions of people and then one tiny scene at the beginning where I’ve got a big cat. So I’m like this is such an odd character and it was only when I got to Vancouver, and obviously I’d spoken to Zack on the phone. He was a real part of the convincer because post audition he was like…my fears were and this might sound awful…that it was going to be a kind of Fantastic 4 thing and he was like “let me fucking tell you, if my movie ends up being anything like that then I’ve not done my job properly.” And I don’t mean that to be totally against that film but as in just for me he really put my mind at rest and he got on and he told me what his vision was going to be for it and I was like, wow. And I don’t want to be doing something that’s going to piss people off because he told me how beloved it was and I was like oh God. That’s a real pressure. He got what director it deserves.

Oh I believe.

Matthew: You’ve been to the set.

Yeah, let’s talk about Dr. Manhattan’s lab or the shit that was built. It’s insane.

Matthew: It is absolutely off the charts. Did you get to see the stuff at the ice palace as well?

I did not see the ice palace but…we saw the storyboards of the ice palace. So what was it like in person?

Matthew: Oh my God it’s just the biggest set you’ve ever seen and again the joy of doing it was like…there was also a slight worry about how much green screen and what that can do to your acting and having not been doing a lot of green screen before, so I was like fuck, it’s so nice to have everything that was required. Apart from a 100 foot Manhattan so that was a bit tricky. In that one you have to use your imagination a little bit but no, to have such a scope of a story and to have all these sets around and to be wearing these costumes and not feel a complete dick because they just make sense. Everything just made sense around Zack Snyder.

We were on set the day the costumes arrived.

Matthew: Oh, brilliant.

And the next day was that group photo shoot with everyone in costume. So could you talk a little bit about…we didn’t get to ask you this…but what was it like for the first time you put on that costume and what was it like being in that scene and just all that?

Matthew: It’s extraordinary. And also because I didn’t have a rough deal. I think the person who had the roughest deal was Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he literally had to be put into a completely different skin. He’d have 7 hours in makeup before we even started shooting and he has a hairy chest so these glued on things were ripping at his chest. He was uncomfortable the whole time. But yeah, amazing and it was kind of nice when we had that group shot because I have very little interaction until right at the end with anybody else. I’m sort of not…I don’t really have much with the other actors or the other main characters until the Ice Palace at the end, so or Carnac I should really call it, but so yeah, it was a particularly nice day for me because I just got to see just how awkward everyone else was putting their costumes on—well not everyone obviously because I wasn’t there when Malin was putting on her stuff.

We saw her fighting in the jail sequence.

Matthew: Oh you saw the fighting in that? Yeah, it’s quite a get-up that she’s got on. It’s a little revealing.

It is. It was quite nice to watch it being filmed.

Matthew: I’m not surprised. Completely pert nipples and everything. Exactly.

It was good times.

Matthew: And Carla as well. She looks…great little sex kitten in everything she does really.

She’s attractive.

Matthew: Yes, she is.

Just a little bit.

Matthew: Just a little bit.

Just a touch.

Matthew: And after this film comes out there’s going to be an even wider audience of people who feel that way I think.

Yeah, I guess I’m curious about….well let’s talk a little bit about Comic-Con because that’s coming up next week. Are you….they’re doing a presentation in the room that holds 7,000.

Matthew: Yeah.

So are you prepared to be on stage with Zack and other people talking about this in front of the absolute Fanboys?

Matthew: No, because I’m really not. I get scared talking about “Brideshead” in front of 7 people because thematically it’s very complicated. So you take “Watchmen,” which is equally if not more thematically complicated and remember that the audience is far more intergent that you are, so I’m really worried that at this stage it might compound some people’s ideas that I’ve been miscast because I’m not…

No. I’ll defend you on-record. I see you in the part. I really do. Definitely.

Matthew: I hope so.

No, no I’m really confident and I really believe in Zack and if Zack believes in you then I’m sold.

Matthew: Well, I’m slightly worried about the…because we’d come up with this idea that again, its…I assume I can talk about it…. it’s the fact that I wanted to do something a little bit different with it and so we decided to sort of embellish upon what given certain circumstances of Adrien Veidt’s past are in the novel. So it’s like well, was he born in America? I don’t know. It seems to me there’s a possibility that maybe he grew up a little bit in Germany and maybe that’s the reason he gave away his parents wealth is because….it’s stuff that’s not going to be known by audiences. It’s not talked about but just for the actor. Well, isn’t it more interesting if he gave his parents money away because they were Nazi’s, which is kind of in keeping with a sort of graphic novel form or a comic book, you know there’s sort of values to the superhero or you know what makes them rise above the normal person. And it was also a really interesting idea as far as the American dream and propagating a public persona that’s very American but in private he has a slight German accent with the American. I don’t know, it seems very interesting.

Were you able to work that into the actual film?

Matthew: Yeah, it’s in. It’s in. It was in pretty early on because after the first scene which is all done American, it was only after we shot that that I thought wouldn’t that be interesting and Zack was like, you fucking bet. Go for it. And because it’s not mentioned to anyone then some people might be a bit thrown of like…I think they’ll get it as in the public/private thing, and I just hope they buy into it and like it rather that it being a hindrance.

I don’t see people…I think that any movie has to be a movie. And it can’t just be a movie of the book. There has a be, you know, the director has to put the ….you know what I mean, they have to change things to make it a movie.

Matthew: Yeah, it’s entertainment as well. That’s what you can never get away from and I think sometimes things take themselves far too seriously and they forget that and that’s why I think Zack has brought such….because he’s remained so faithful to the book and obviously the Black Freighter was a big option and I don’t know what he’s going to do with that and I think that will be something brilliant for the fans to get which I think will come on.

He talked about putting it as an animated thing on the DVD.

Matthew: Yeah, exactly, because otherwise there’s just no way. The budget would spiral to try to get some of that stuff in there. It’s frightening.

The rumor is that he has a 3 hour cut of the film right now.

Matthew: Yeah, he does. I spoke to him about that the other day. They wanted to go down a bit lower and he’s like, I just don’t think I can.

I heard 2:45 is going to be their goal of release.

Matthew: Yeah? So he’s got to trim another 15 minutes of it.

That’s what I heard.

Matthew: Yeah. That’s tough.

It’s a big fucking book.

Matthew: It’s a huge fucking book. I spoke to him and he’s like everyone’s going to be expecting this actiony thing and I’ve made a 3 hour art house film. If you can release that statement right now you’ve made even more thousands of people happy. I think that’s people want and I think he’s got the perfect balance of entertainment and integrity for the original…for the seminal piece of work that it is.

Well, the big question for a lot of fans is the movie going to go follow the structure of the book where you get a little bit of modern stuff, you get past. Is it going to be linear…there’s so many things that the fans don’t know.

Matthew: You’ve got to set up this sort of parallel 1980’s universe as well with Nixon still President, so I don’t think that’s speaking out of turn by just saying that in the initial credit sequence—the opening credit sequence—there’s the stuff that isn’t in the book. For example, myself shaking hands with David Bowie and Mick Jagger, you know. So setting up these ideas of celebrity and also stuff to do with the Keene Act. So it’s so multi-layered and until I see it myself, which I haven’t, I’m never going to know. All I know is the level of commitment that everyone put into it and it was of the highest ilk. Everyone who was working on the project wanted desperately to be working on “Watchmen”.

What’s funny is I wrote that last night.

Matthew: That’s why I felt like such an outsider until I got there and read the book and I was like oh my God, I’m on-board.

continued on page 2 ——->


I want to know your reaction when you’re sitting there in Vancouver and you finally read the book and you’re like…are you like holy shit, I’m involved with this fucking movie or…?

Matthew: Abso-fucking-loutly. I mean it’s just like holy shit. I’ve always wanted to work with Billy Crudup and now I get to see him in pajamas with dots all over his face and Patrick’s brilliant and I think he cast it really interestingly and obviously….back in the day it was meant to be Jude Law and whoever. That would have been a brilliant fucking movie but a very expensive one because there are expensive people you’re utilizing in that thing and I think it’s kind of brave of him and I think it also fits the bill a little easier for us to be more interesting as well if it isn’t Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner. I think that might have…where they’d be brilliant acting it might have put off from the believability factor of it. It might have taken us away from the story and that’s what happens when you get big movie stars in there.

I actually completely agree and that’s one of the reasons I think that…

Matthew: Well, Tom Cruise as Ozymandias might have worked, you don’t know. You don’t know. You’ll never know.

I don’t think it would have worked now. Tom is a whole thing right now with a lot of people, you know? I think the casting is really good. I really do. But I was curious what was it like working with Billy as Dr. Manhattan and that stuff at the end?

Matthew: It takes a while to get used to looking at him without laughing because obviously he is covered in dots, but by the time that I say this that was the last stuff I filmed so by the time we got there we were….it was crucial to get the stuff at Carnac and to find the right levels of performance. There was one stunt scene where I told my meniscus so my knee was fucking agony and doing these long sorts of stunts and blah, blah, blah, it was hard but so rewarding, ultimately. And hopefully the stuff in the film will look good and we had a lot of amazing stuntmen so maybe they’ll just use their stuff instead of mine because I’m sure it looks better.

I remember when we were talking on-set, you mentioned that there were many days that you weren’t filming and there were days you were filming a lot. Can you talk a little bit about what you do in Vancouver when you’re …?

Matthew: Yeah, the down time. I played a lot of golf on my own. A lot of the American actors, you know, they got to come for 2 weeks and go away and I was in weather cover quite a bit and also it gets very expensive to fly back to England a lot so I had some…I think I filmed for like 40 days or something and the whole shoot was 6 months so that’s lot of hanging around to do. But the power of the DVD—I watched a lot of stuff on the box and it rains a huge amount in Vancouver but I go out and play some golf in the rain and it’s a question of how many units of the day can you just find something to do because I’m not great at spending time on my own, but they had cinemas there so I watched everything that was out.

So what do you think—jumping back to Comic-Con for a second—you were there last year. Where you there on the stage?

Matthew: No it was just Malin, Zack and Jackie.

Oh that’s right.

Matthew: They are used to it.

So this is your first time going?

Matthew: I’ve never been. First time going so I really don’t know what to expect yet. I’ve had people sort of jokingly say it’s 80,000 people wandering around in Batman costumes, but it sounds like it’ll be fun.

It’s 130,000 people and it’s basically all sold-out now and not everyone is in costume.

Matthew: Okay.

So you don’t have to stress about that, but I will say that a lot of people are talking… “Watchmen” is the big gun of Comic-Con. It’s like just…FYI.

Matthew: That’s fucking amazing, because also the repercussions of making even as I say just half of that crowd, if you can feed some of the anticipation and also not upset them with anything they do see, then we’re winning a battle because they talk and they want to promote something that they like.

Exactly. Zack told me that he’s showing 3 to 4 minutes of footage from the movie, maybe 5, I don’t know what the number is.

Matthew: Isn’t that great. I haven’t seen any.

So is he going to show it to you before you go or do you have to watch it on the screen with everyone else?

Matthew: I’m on this press tour…I will be seeing it for the first time with you guys. I mean, I don’t even know…when does “Dark Knight” come out because the trailer goes out with that.

Someone just reviewed the trailer. I just got sent an email. The trailer’s on Thursday night. It’s in theatres.

Matthew: Oh wow, and what did they say about the trailer?

I literally just clicked on the article. We can…hold on…you ready…

Matthew: Yeah.

Hold on.

Matthew: Are you kidding me? Yes.

I just saw the trailer for “Watchmen” in 15 seconds….I can tell you right now I enjoyed it a lot. You get to see plenty of Dr. Manhattan. Rorschach looks fantastic as does Night Owl’s ship as it emerges from the water—blah, blah, blah. I’m wondering if we’ll see the full-frontal Doctor…the final shot of the trailer…well, let’s just say crystal palace on Mars is do-able.

Matthew: Fucking great. Oh my God.

So there you go.

Matthew: So that sounds good. That’s just a little teaser trailer, isn’t it?

It’s Zack’s special trailer for “Dark Knight”, so whatever it is. So jumping off “Watchmen” for a second because I’m sure they’re going to be real pissy if I spend 20 minutes doing this. What was it…as an actor you went from…you got a lot of good mentions in “The Lookout” and now you’ve done “Brideshead” which you’re obviously you’re really good in it and “Watchmen”. As for your career, are you sort of amazed at the way it’s been twisting and turning?

Matthew: Oh, constantly because as you know, we’ve talked about it before, everyone’s under the assumption that you get to choose and it’s like as a person I choose what I’m interested in or it chooses me, you read it and you go that’s good. I’d like to be involved in it and then you go through the audition process and I’ve been fucking lucky. And let’s be honest. I’ve been so fucking lucky and in a way I don’t know…I don’t know what the hell’s next. I have no idea what’s going to be next, but it’s not from me going okay, now I need to do something completely different again. You know, sort of I think I’ve got good taste and it’s taste and luck really and I think I’m probably going to get back on the stage next. To take away from having to worry about getting something and new again now but as an actor you want to continually do…you want to show a little bit of range, for sure, but mainly it’s just if you read something and if it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up then you want to do it.

A lot of people talk about how TV right now is so good with the characters that are on the different networks. Right now you’re on this great run with movies, but could you ever see yourself doing a character on TV and playing that for years?

Matthew: In some ways as long it’s sort of…I don’t know…I have a problem with being away from home a lot because of missing friends and family and having a girlfriend who just got back from New York now to be with me, so that’s not good otherwise being away. But there would be something quite comforting about playing the same role, I think, day in and day out for awhile. I think I would quite like that but at the same time it’s nice to try on other clothes. Do you know what I mean? If you had the keys to the best wardrobe of suits, you don’t want to wear just one. So, I don’t know. It depends. It could be the world’s greatest TV series and you wouldn’t be able to say no. If something like “West Wing” came up.

You mention “West Wing” a lot. Are you like an addict of this?

Matthew: Yeah, I am. I love it. I don’t know what it is about it. I just think it’s so intelligent and the level of the acting and obviously when the music comes in (music sounds) you’re like pathos crazy. But, at the same time, I just think that Bradley Whitford and Rich Schiff, the whole entire cast are just perfect and happens from day one. The very first opening scene you’re like all the relationships are set and it just sort of pulls you in.

So you’re saying that Aaron Sorkin could….

Matthew: Allison fucking Janney is amazing.

So you’re saying Aaron Sorkin could pull you to TV possibly?

Matthew: If there was anyone who’s going to do it, it would be Aaron Sorkin.

Just thinking.

Matthew: Mission statement.

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