Alan Moore and David Gibbon’s 1986 Hugo Award winning Watchmen was considered by most to be unfilmable, though there were still multiple attempts to get the comic adapted to the big screen. Early stabs had Terry Gillian and Darren Aronofsky attached at different times. Eventually, Zack Snyder would get a feature film made with Warner Bros. (to mixed results), and there is a planned animated feature in the works, not to mention the acclaimed sequel series currently airing on HBO, but there was one other attempt to adapt it, and we now have the test footage to prove it.
David Hayter, a voice actor, screenwriter, director and producer who is best known as voicing Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid video games, and writing the screenplays for X-Men and X2, wrote and directed a test scene for a Watchmen film back in 2003, which featured Iaian Glen (Game of Thrones, Resident Evil) and Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, Thor, Black Sails). Hayter recently made the footage available online, having this to say about it:
“For any curious #Watchmen fans, Here is the final, color corrected clip of the Watchmen test I directed in 2003. Iain Glen as Nite Owl, Ray Stevenson as Rorschach. Score by the brilliant Joe Kraemer.”
The scene, taken directly from the comic, plays out fairly close to the original source material (as well as Snyders’ eventual version), with Rorschach informing Nite Owl that the Comedian has been murdered. It’s hard to gauge what the tone of the film would have been based on the clip, but it’s fascinating to watch for any Watchmen fans. Take a look: