David Hayter, the screenwriter of the excellent big screen adaptation of Watchmen, has written an open letter to fans that would make Ayn Rand proud. Not because it espouses the power of the free market or the rights of the privileged classes. No, because it blithely references violence against women.
The letter itself is a fascinating glimpse into Hayter's psyche. He is cajoleing people to go see the movie again, seemingly trying to drum up business for a film that has, apparently, fallen short of expectations from a studio standpoint. He makes an impassioned plea, suggesting reasons folks might want to see the film again. And he goes more than a little too far:
And yet… You'll be thinking about this film, down the road. It'll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.
Trust me. You'll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.
Now, I don't want to spoil the film or graphic novel, so I'll just say that Sally (the original Silk Spectre) has a very complicated relationship with another hero, the Comedian. The film is much more overt about the relationship, and connects some dots that the graphic novel only feels the need to hint at. Sally is definitely in an abusive relationship, and she goes back.
Is that really how you want to sell your movie? I can't imagine likening it to rape is a great idea, even amongst the fanboy audience. Now, to Hayter's credit, the site has a postscript apology from him that goes beyond the standard "if anyone took offense." Hayter rationalizes the remark, and makes some meagre case for the metaphor, but it still makes me gravely doubt his judgement. Who thinks that referencing rape, even if it part of the story, is appropriate or a good idea?
I'll say this, David Hayter has made it likely that I won't be seeing Watchmen again.
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