Damon Lindelof Interview: ‘Watchmen’ showrunner
When it came to adapting “Watchmen” for the small screen, Damon Lindelof reveals “it wasn’t really a choice at the end of the day.” He had been approached by HBO and Warner Bros many times throughout the years about turning the acclaimed graphic novel into a television show, which required “a degree of insanity.” The Emmy-winning producer delved into the highly ambitious endeavor while appearing at Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel, conducted virtually by managing editor Chris Beachum. Watch our exclusive video interview with Lindelof above.
Lindelof’s version is far from a straight-forward adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘ classic comic book, which had previously been brought to the big screen with Zach Snyder‘s 2009 film. Instead, he picks up the action 30 years after the events of the book, imagining an alternate reality in which masked vigilantes take up the mantle of superheroes. Regina King stars as Angela Abar, a.k.a. Sister Knight, an Oklahoma detective investigating white supremacy in the city of Tulsa.
America’s legacy of racial violence permeates throughout the series, which starts with the 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, an event Lindelof first learned about in “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. That “Atlantic” article “changed the way that I saw my place in America, and the American experiment writ large,” he divulges. “I was just astonished and horrified by what happened there,” not just by “what was stolen,” but by the fact that “it was erased” from history.
He became creatively obsessed with “this exhumation” of the event, and thought that “Watchmen” was a vehicle by which to do that. “We handled it with the highest degree of sensitivity that we possibly could,” he explains, “understanding that we weren’t really the ones to tell this story, and then surrounding ourselves with people whose story it was to tell and getting out of the way when it was appropriate to do so.”
Lindelof has also been a producer for “The Leftovers,” “Lost” and “Crossing Jordan.” His work on “Lost” brought him 10 Emmy nominations with a win for Best Drama Series in 2005. He has received 11 WGA nominations and 8 from the PGA.