The Hughes Brothers' From Hell was a tolerably good film, as a film, but one wondered why it bothered to conceive of itself as an adaptation of Moore's comic. The comic was a moody, discursive rumination on Victorian culture and economics, Masonic magick, and the challenges of trying to understand Jack the Ripper across the gulf of time and unsolved mystery. The scholarly endnotes threatened to run longer than the comic itself. The film was a nicely shot thriller focused on contemporary iconography of Victoriana --- gaslamps! fog! cobblestones! top hats! corsets! Yes, the movie scores points for letting Johnny Depp's Inspector Abberline smoke opium, but then loses them again by changing the book to make him into a psychic with visions that drive the plot. And while you might forgive a movie for giving us a Mary Kelly who's not quite as realistic as Moore's ragged, weary drab, sleeping in ropehouses and living on beer and stale bread, making Heather Graham the cleanest, best-groomed prostitute in history was absurd ... and then turning Moore's conceit that she and Abberline crossed paths a few times into and entire romance subplot was unforgivably stupid, even looking at the film on its own terms.
And The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wasn't even a good example of a stupid Hollywood blockbuster. It was just lousy. (Okay, when a thug discovers that Dorian Gray has mutant healing superpowers like Wolverine --- which I submit is a lame conceit that disrespects my man Oscar Wilde --- and asks him what are you? I'll grant that I chuckled when Gray responds, I'm complex --- but that was the only charming moment in the whole dreary thing.) That it borrowed a few fragmentary shards from Moore's witty, loving pastiche of Victorian literature only made the pain that much worse.
So now we learn that the film adaptation of The Watchmen will finally get made. The director of The Bourne Supremacy is at the helm. Sure, The Bourne Supremacy was nice enough, but to tackle Watchmen you need a super-genius. Recall that Terry Gilliam tried for years to do it, then finally gave up because he thought it was too ambitious. When the man who made Brazil decides that a film project is too ambitious to actually execute, you know you have some fundamental problems.
Rorschach has to be William H. Macy, who looks the part, can act up a storm, and would steal every scene he was in, as he should
Nite Owl could be a few different actors, but I quite like Alec Baldwin --- you get "famous hero aging gracelessly" for free
Ozymandias shoulda been Redford, but he's too old for it now, so I'd be tempted to cast against physical type and use Jeff Goldblum, the only actor I can think of who immediately conveys the idea of a character who thinks too much --- and I'd love to hear him read the line, "you know, that was another thing I wasn't sure would work."
Doctor Manhattan would be a good Johnny Depp role, since he needs to be both otherworldly and emotionally vulnerable
The Comedian could be Willem Dafoe: sure, he isn't a big beefy guy like he is in the comic, but he would immediately sell that the character is a creep dressed up as a hero, yet still be a bit sympathetic
Laurie Juspeczyk, the daughter of the Silk Spectre, unfortunately isn't much of a role, so any number of dishy actresses could do it, though it occurs to me ...
Sally Jupiter, the original Silk Spectre, could be Lauren Bacall, which suggests ...
Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, really ought to be a Paul Newman cameo, so long as we're wishing