Want to see what New York would look like in a movie version of a comic book circa 1985? Well, here it is! The street was created in Vancouver, B.C. for the new superhero movie Watchmen, set for release late next year. I spy a Richard Nixon campaign poster!
"Since the New York City that is rendered in the graphic novel is so particular, it was very important to me that our backlot speak the same language, the vernacular of WATCHMEN," wrote the movie’s director, Zack Snyder (300) on the Watchmen‘s official site. "In addition, the backlot needs to function as many different parts of the city, countless store fronts, street corners, alleys, etc. So, with that in mind, we set out to build own own custom backlot here in Vancouver, BC. In my opinion, the results speak for themselves."
Set in an alternate universe circa 1985 based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ critically acclaimed comic book, nuclear warfare is about to break out between America and Russia. The government-sponsored Keene Act has forced superheroes to hang up their capes, but then The Comedian (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, you know, Denny from Grey’s Anatomy?), a "robust ex-hero commando," mysteriously free falls out a window and his death sparks the interest of one of the country’s last remaining vigilantes, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley, the creepy guy from Little Children). His investigates The Comedian’s death and warns many of his other former costumed colleagues, including Dr. Manhattan, Night Owl (Patrick Wilson, who was also in Little Children), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), Sally Jupiter (Carla Gugino, Laurie from American Gangster), and her daughter, The Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman).
According to All Movie Guide, Watchmen the comic book was "heralded for bringing the world of superheroes into the literary world."
Watchmen gave the super-powered mythos a real-life grounding that had been missing in mainstream comics to that point. The film adaptation had languished in one form of development hell or another for years after the book’s release, with various directors on and off the project, including Terry Gilliam, David Hayter, and Darren Aronofsky, as well as Paul Greengrass, whose eventual dismissal stemmed from budget conflicts with the studio.
But with Mr. Snyder at the helm, the Watchmen movie seems to be coming a long nicely. Here are a few interesting facts about the new backlot:
• 5,800 feet of neon requiring 24,000 watts of power
• 100 unique and custom-designed graphics created for the various storefronts
• 5,000 square feet of custom posters
• Street had to work for 1938, 1945, 1953, 1957, 1964, 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1985
• 1,040 feet of 1:1 scale New York streets
• 98,400 square feet of exterior scenery
• 12,500 square feet of interior scenery
• Building heights range from 23’9" to 42’6"
• 10,325 16-foot 2x4s
• 3,600 sheets of OSB (plywood-like construction material)
• 384,000 square feet of foam brick
• 200,000 nails
• 3,500 tubes of construction adhesive
• 160,000 lbs. of steel I-beams support the facades
• 300 cubic meters of concrete
• 6,000 square feet of glass
• 4,800 square feet of plexiglass
• 20,000 donuts were consumed by the construction crew
• 20,000 gallons of water and 3,000 gallons of Gatorade was drunk by the crew