Matthew Goode On Set Interview – WATCHMEN

     February 16, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

As you might have already read, in late October of 2007 I got to visit the set of “Watchmen” when the film was about half way through production. I left thinking director Zack Snyder had done the impossible and was actually going to make a kick ass movie from Alan Moore’s “unfilmable” graphic novel. Because as a lot of you already know, many had tried and failed to bring “Watchmen” to the big screen.

But that’s another story…let’s get to the reason you’re here.

While I was on the set with a few other online journalists, we all got to interview the stars of the movie and the one you’re about to read is with Matthew Goode who plays Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias.

During our interview, Matthew was honest about not being familiar with the graphic novel before getting the part. But, he was also already talking about how he was making the character his own and he told a lot of great behind the scenes stories.

However, more than anything, the best part of any on set interview is the fact that you’re asking questions about things that are happening that day, and the person answering is not trying to remember things months after production wrapped. If you’re into the movie, these are usually the best kinds of interviews to read.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the audio by clicking here. And if you missed my set report, I definitely suggest reading it for a lot more on what I saw and did on the set of “Watchmen”.

Matthew Goode: What do you want to know?

Question: Are you enjoying the hair?

Matthew Goode: I. . . kind of yeah! It gets you in the eye quiet a lot in way, but yes, I’m pretty happy with it. You enjoying the hair?

Q: Sometimes.

Matthew Goode: Yours takes more high maintenance then mine.

Q: You were hear doing a costume fitting today, is that the story?

Matthew Goode: No, we filmed something this morning, I was putting a cancer agent. . . think, whatever part of the story. That took five minutes and then I’m getting into the super suit thing for a test later on. If you’re around you’ll see me looking like an idiot.

Q: In the book he has one of the more interesting outfits.

Matthew Goode: I know it’s slightly worrying. I definitely remember reading and when he said you’ve got it I was like, excellent this is great, and then I’m reading the book and going oh my god, I’m in a pair of pants seemably. But luckily they seem to be slightly cooler. I mean when we first came to LA, Patrick, I was in after him and I think I felt pretty good because Patrick came out and went “dude it’s fucking awesome,” and he sorta look quiet batman-y and I’m sorta in a similar thing. It’s more of a suit in just pants, I wouldn’t have the legs for it, it would ruin the whole effect, my skinny, pasty English legs.

Q: So of course we have to ask are you familiar with the comic?

Matthew Goode: You know, I wasn’t. I was from . . . I met someone who was involved with the cartoons, the Invincibles or whatever it was. . .

Q: You talking about the Pixar?

Matthew Goode: Yeah yeah yeah, my friends. What’s it called?

Q: The Incredibles?

Matthew Goode: The Incredibles! Yes, and so I knew that that was loosely based on novel, and I was told a bit about it, but I wasn’t into that area of comics and graphic novels so it was all very new to me. But apparently it is the best graphic novel ever written, according to Time Magazine. So when I did finally get around to reading it, it was so much more complicated, and adult and intelligent then I was expecting, so that was a pretty easy decision for me to go “fucking hell, if you want me I’m in.”

Q: What struck you as a strength, was it to political side of things? Was it the characters? What did you….

Matthew Goode: I think what was interesting, I’m not saying I have a very intelligent set of friends, but, I suppose I do. . . I don’t think it necessarily needs that huge amount of intelligence. We call discussed how. . . the politics and apathy and is it possible for a well to knight and religion, all that sort of thing and the only sort of answer is if we were attacked from another planet, if there was an outside force, then surely everything would have to come together, so I thought that was a really interesting concept with energy issues that we have now and . . . It’s incredibly relevant, I feel very proud that it was written by a Brit. So I think all of these things sort of jump out particularly quickly at you and I think the idea that you can have a lot of fun, it’s treading a very nice line between. . . don’t quote me on this, which is an interesting thing to say to you guys, is it’s almost a little bit camp, which is sorta news to me. It’s fun yet it actually has some sort of. . . and I don’t think anyone’s going to actually watch it and go, “well goddamn, this is relevant! We need to make changes.” But those comments will be made. Ultimately it’s fun.

Q: That was something Zach was talking to us about right now, it’s sort of the things that are on the printed page are very serious when you see them playing out live, hey take on a little bit of a different tone and they strike you a little bit differently. How do you kind of walk that line between sort of playing it serious and having maybe the campier aspect and keeping it in control? How do you do that?

Matthew Goode: You’ve seen the hair? With difficulty, I think what’s funny to me on this show in particular is the fact that I’m in a particular, I mean I came right from “Brideshead Revisited,” which you can’t really get any more different, I mean I was in every day. I mean this looks sort of like I swan in fairly late and I do a couple of hours and deliver a sort of monologue and then I fuck off and play golf for a couple of weeks, which I love. But I mean it’s the same as anything, you learn your lines, you have a chat with Zach. And the movie’s bigger then anyone particular actor, character or anything and their all so into meshing and I think I’m sorta dealing with it as I go on really. The first day, I mean the very first day I’m standing there in this bright purple jacket, blonde hair and I’ve got women who work for me in my office wearing particularly little, and there’s 200 people standing around and I’m like “you want me here?” I mean it just work really, but god knows what it will look like but we have Zach who when he did 300 people were sort of watching the rushes going “what the fuck is this guy doing?” And ultimately they were like wow blown away so I know he’s a bit of a visionary and he’s got so much energy and in Zach we trust. Sort of thing really.

Q: One of the great things about the book is you can finish reading the book and you can argue with your friends about what Adrian was doing, was he right, was he wrong, was he coming from a good place. What’s sort of your take on his whole angle.

Matthew Goode: Ah hum, yes. I mean, there is that, there is the big question on morality, blah blah blah, and we’ve seen it in films, I suppose, like ”Saving Private Ryan.” Saving the one with the possibility or more dying and with this it’s saving the world with, you know, it’s like 15 million people, or whatever that particular figure is, when, as a ratio compared to the rest of the world, when you put it into that kind of perspective it does seem like a good equation really. But obviously it’s a really horrific thing to do, 15 million people. I think it’s. . . the thing is it’s the line of insanity of war, is it absolutely, crystal clear, cold. . . I’m doing it that way and you can fucking deal with it, I couldn’t give a shit what you think. I tend to think that it’s because of his eating a ball of hash and suddenly being in love with Alexander the Great, is he metro-sexual, you know, all that sort of, all that kind of rubbish. At the end of the day I don’t want him to be maniacal in the slightest, I want him to be. . . We’ve still yet to film all that stuff, so Zach might come back and go “Yeah, he’s crazy!” So yeah, I think you want him to be as human as possible, and is cold and clear cut, and yet show some sort of remorse for what he’s done. I think that’s something we’ll see how that plays out. I mean we’ll pull a few different things and I’ll have a few eye twitches, and god no, try not to think that. . . Wing it, that’s my motto.

Q: The scene this morning you were shooting the cancer agent which is not in the book, so is there some bulking up of Veidt’s character as far as what we actually see on the screen, because he’s not in the book a whole lot.

Matthew Goode: No, no.

Q: He’s always present.

Matthew Goode: I mean that’s always sort of my way, that suddenly you’re stuck with a lot of exposition, and exposition is fine, and certainly in the book when he’s talking to his Vietnamese work group, suddenly there’s that sort of 45 pages of la-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, and that’s quiet worrying to do because how the fuck am I going to do that without boring myself to death and make it interesting. So that’s been broken up as you’re obviously going to have to do with any adaptation, there is going to be putting it into a different sequence and making it more interesting. So there has been, I wouldn’t say bulking up, rather then Adrian just being “bang” at the end there’s been sequencing issues. Which I think has been done particularly well, I can see Deb nodding behind me so I think she’s in agreement. I know what she’s thinking, wrap it up, wrap it up, keep ruining the movie.

Q: You don’t ever play Adrian at your own age, right? You’re always playing older or younger, I’m assuming.

Matthew Goode: That was one of the things, he’s meant to be in his forties with the rest, so there is one, obviously with the Watchmen in the 70s when it was first set up at Watchmen headquarters, that was sort of about my age. But he’s meant to be a particularly fine specimen of man. Suspend your disbelief. All though I don’t sort of play him at my age, it’s sort of meant to me that he’s a walking advert for Oil of Olay kind of thing. There hasn’t been too much, kind of, prosthetic stuff for me. Poor Jeffery on the other hand, he’s gone through the gambit, sitting in makeup for seven hours and getting a bit techie as one would do. Yeah, he goes from, like, 20 to 67. I tell you what, you’re going to love the opening of the movie, and I have to say, this is where I don’t think enough can be said for stunt men, stunt people whatever you want to say, but shit the bed, he gets the crap beaten out of him. I mean, thrown across room, busting through tables. ‘Cause in the book, it’s like “The Comedian’s Dead, bash, done.” Where as you really get to see why he’d dead in this one, and I think it’s a great opening to the film. And I just think the less I am involved with swinging punches the better because they make it look so good.

Q: But you do have some action scenes at the end.

Matthew Goode: With Karnac.

Q: So did you do training? Did you do training at all for the fights?

Matthew Goode: Do I look like I haven’t been? They’re going to give me super weak month’s course. No, they’re very, very busy with a lot of different sequences, so we were doing initial “Englishman-who-hasn’t-been-in-anything-apart-from-something-with-a-corset” kind of training. As you can see I’m still not very good. I think we’re going to get round to doing that in the next. . . you know when, it’s more around then, so I’ve got a little time off. So whenever they call me in I’ll be in my spandex and ready to go I suppose.

Q: You haven’t actually read the book, but is there any sort of super hero growing up that you ever wanted to play, did you ever want to do this where you found out now I’m doing a super hero, how am I doing?

Matthew Goode: No. I hate to shit on the question, it’s just not really. . . it wasn’t really my sort of thing. It nothing like I’m not enjoying this, but as far as sort of running around in a cape it’s never been really, and not really, my sort of thing. It’s not to say I didn’t chuckle and have a laugh when we’re all standing there with each other with our capes on, flexing our fake biceps.

Q: You’re late coming, you said, in to this, you came on after they had been filming already? You came to the set after filming?

Matthew Goode: No, I came straight from doing another project, so you know, I finished that. My audition was actually on a toilet seat in my hotel. The casting director came up from London, which was very weird, and we hung one of the bed sheets up behind me and I did the audition and I never expected to get it and then suddenly I got it and I went straight to from there.

Q: Do you guys, the cast, do you guys sort of hang out, because the characters all have these pasts, so I was curious if you guys had hung out to get that sort of familiarity with each other to bring to the show?

Matthew Goode: I mean, not specifically before the project, and often time because of the long schedule and sort of the way it’s sequenced, we are not all hear at the same time, but when we are then we, you know, beers gotta be drunk. So we do go out and have fun together. That’s best though, I mean you want to be as friendly with the rest of the cast as you can possibly be. I wouldn’t say it’s different from ay other project, but yeah we do have a laugh.

Q: Are you looking forward to being an action figure?

Matthew Goode: It’s all slightly embarrassing really, but the action figure is actually in one of the shots, I’ve been staring at it, staring at myself, and I have to say it’s incredibly life-like. SO yeah, it’s done, dusted it’s enjoyable, I think it’s something I’d probably put in the shitter. But it’s there for people to enjoy when they come round to their house, or people might go “God you’re an asshole.” So yeah, whatever.

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