Jeremy Irons added another Emmy nomination to his collection this year for his performance as Adrian Veidt in HBO’s “Watchmen.” The legendary actor, who has previously won three Emmys, has mostly appeared on stage or film over the past decade, with “Watchmen” being his first regular TV role since “The Borgias” ended in 2013.
So what was special about “Watchmen” to bring him back to the small screen? Showrunner Damon Lindelof. “When you find somebody who really wants to tell a story, who is so enthused about how one could continue such an iconic graphic novel as “Watchmen,” and make it relevant, I found this very attractive,” says Irons, in an exclusive Gold Derby interview during “Watchmen’s” original airing on HBO.
Irons admits that while there used to be a perception about television being of lower quality than film, times have changed. “My feeling was one puts as much effort into a television film as a feature film, but half the population are probably watching the football on the other side. So I think, ‘Well, that’s a bit of a wasted effort,'” explains Irons. “That problem has gone away now because we can stream stuff, we can watch programs on catchup and how lucky we are to be able to do that and what it does is elevate television into almost being film.”
Part of the pull for Irons was the enigmatic nature of Adrian Veidt. The character is in the graphic novel from which the series takes its inspiration, where Adrian transported a giant creature to New York as a way of getting all the warring nations of the world to come together to face a common enemy. As he is introduced in the HBO series, he is decades removed and isolated in a mansion on a picturesque hillside, looking for a way out. The character is far removed from the main action of the story, which mostly takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The audience is left wondering a great deal through my story,” notes Irons. “As it continues and then finally when I got the final episodes and I saw how it came together, I was full of admiration.” He chose to be like Adrian in not knowing what was happening in the main story, only reading his parts of the scripts. “I remained in Adrian’s mindset, obviously wondering what was going on but not knowing and wanting what he wanted in living the life he led,” he recalls. “I found that route to be interesting, to be bizarre, to be comic in some ways and I loved all that.”
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