Jovan Adepo Interview: ‘Watchmen’
“It was an opportunity that I felt really blessed to be a part of,” says Jovan Adepo. The actor appeared as a young version of Will Reeves in HBO’s “Watchmen” and his performance delivered the most jaw-dropping twist of the series. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Midway through Adepo’s appearance in the episode “This Extraordinary Being,” Will beats up some robbers while wearing a hood. A noose is still tied around his neck from having just been briefly hanged by racist white supremacists. Suddenly the audience realizes that Will is the secret identity of Hooded Justice, the first ever masked vigilante from Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel. The episode serves as his previously untold origin story.
The discovery of Hooded Justice’s secret identity is made when Angela Abar (Regina King) lives out her grandfather Will’s memories by ingesting a drug called “nostalgia.” The episode plays out like a dream, full of sepia tones and continuous long shots. Adepo says it took “endless rehearsals” to accomplish the lengthy takes, “you had to be on point with your blocking,” he says. There are many moments where he and King swap places as their characters meld during the memory sequences. “That wasn’t a camera trick,” he reveals, as it required precise timing to subtly slip in and out of place with his co-star.
Will Reeves faces hate and discrimination at nearly every turn. He joins the police force, but it’s filled with racist men who are unwilling to accept a black man in their ranks. And he is also secretly attracted to men, but his lover Nelson (aka Captain Metropolis) forbids him from revealing that he is black or gay to anyone. As Hooded Justice, Adepo says Will has “the ability to hide himself behind the mask…but if someone is pretending to be someone that they’re not, they are always going to have that yearning to show people who they really are.”
Adepo believes that Will truly thought he could provide justice by wearing a police badge, but the crushing reality of racism forced him to take another path. “I think he had a duty once he decided to pick up the mantle of Hooded Justice,” explains the actor. But the vigilante profession comes with a cost that eventually seeps into his home life as he represses important aspects of his identity. “If he had the choice to pick,” offers Adepo, “he would love to be just Will Reeves. The complete Will Reeves.”