Exclusive: Why Alan Moore Hates Comic-Book Movies

Watchmen creator talks Hollywood...

It seems hard to believe after the epic struggle to get it to the big screen, but it’s only a matter of weeks before we can all go and see Watchmen at the cinema.

We, like you, can’t bloody wait. But there’s one man who definitely won’t be seeing it, not now, not ever.

totalfilm.com sat down with Alan Moore to find out why he hates the film industry so much.

As you might expect, he doesn't hold back. So if you’re easily offended, look away now...

1. Comics don’t work as films.

“The main reason why comics can’t work as films is largely because everybody who is ultimately in control of the film industry is an accountant.

These people may be able to add up and balance the books, but in every other area they are stupid and incompetent and don’t have any talent.

And this is why a film is going to be a work that’s done by dozens and dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of people.

They’re going to show it to the backers and then they’re going to say, we want this in it, and this in it... and where’s the monster?”


2. Hollywood is full of idiots.

“We had one particularly dense Hollywood producer say, ‘You don’t even have to do the book, just stick your name on this idea and I’ll make the film and you’ll get a lot of money – it’s… The League Of Extraordinary Animals! It’ll be like Puss In Boots!’ And I just said, 'No, no, no. Never mention this to me again.'”

3. Comics are better than blockbusters.

“There is more integrity in comics. It sounds simplistic, but I believe there is a formula that you can apply to almost any work of modern culture...

The more money that’s involved in a project the less imagination there will be in the project, and vice versa. If you’ve got zero budget, you’re John Waters, you’re Jean Cocteau, you’re going to make a brilliant film.”


4. Films are a waste of money.

“100 million dollars – that’s what they spent on the Watchmen film which nearly didn’t come out because of the lawsuit, that’s what they spent on The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen which shouldn’t have come out but did anyway.

Do we need any more shitty films in this world? We have quite enough already. Whereas the 100 million dollars could sort out the civil unrest in Haiti. And the books are always superior, anyway.”

5. Movie contracts are ridiculous.

“The League film cost 100 million because Sean Connery wanted 17 million of that - and a bigger explosion that the one he’d had in his last film. It’s in his contract that he has to have a bigger explosion with every film he’s in.

In The Rock he’d blown up an island, and he was demanding in The League that he blow up, was it Venice or something like that? It would have been the moon in his next movie.”

6. The modern American comics industry is ideologically flawed.

“Back when I wrote Watchmen I still trusted the viperous bastards, I had a different feeling about American superhero comics and what they meant.

I’ve recently come to the point where I think that basically most American superhero comics, and this is probably a sweeping generalisation, they’re a lot like America’s foreign policy.

America has an inordinate fondness for the unfair fight.

That’s why I believe guns are so popular in America – because you can ambush people, you can shoot them in the back, you can behave in a very cowardly fashion. Friendly fire, or as we call it everywhere else in the world, American fire.

If you’re up there in the stratosphere so that everything on the ground looks like ants, it might be insurgents, it might be an Iraqi wedding party, it might be some English soldiers.

There’s that beautiful bit of dialogue from the cockpit video when they say, “You’ve just bombed a load of Brits.” Their pilots say, “Woah, dude, we’re going to jail.” This is the Iraq war, not Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure!

I believe that the whole thing about superheroes is they don’t like it up them. They would prefer not to get involved in a fight if they don’t have superior firepower, or they’re invulnerable because they came from the planet Krypton when they were a baby.

I genuinely think it’s this squeamishness that’s behind the American superhero myth. It’s the only country where it’s really taken hold. As Brits, we'll go to see American superhero films, just like the rest of the world, but we never really created superheroes of our own.

And as Londoners, when we had that little bit of bother on the 7th July 2005 – after America had two big buildings blown up... Terrible shame, but we had a lot more than two buildings blown up during the ‘40s when America was providing most of the munitions to Hitler...

But when it happened in England, what was the reaction of the American forces on the 8th of July, as soon as those bombs went off? They pulled the American servicemen outside of the M25, because London was too dangerous for the armed and trained American military men.

Then after a few days, they thought, actually, this does look kind of bad, even for America, let’s creep back into London and pretend we’ve been here all the time.”

Alan Moore’s latest project, Lost Girls, is on sale now.


    • Organs

      Feb 4th 2009, 8:26

      Even as an American, I have to respect the man's words. It's easier to do that, being a fan of his works and agreeing that there's something wrong with the American film industry, too. And I'm not even trying to brown-nose. If anything, I had hoped he would've lightened up in some way, but I can't fault him for being stubborn for his beliefs.

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    • IGPNicki

      Feb 4th 2009, 8:28

      Wow! Moore certainly has a lot of reason to be mad at Hollywood, and its sad but understandable that he won't even give Watchmen a chance but wow... the guy sure knows how to go off on a tangent. I agree that America really likes their superheroes, but okay, suddenly we're talking about friendly fire and 07/07?? http://www.igp-scifi.com

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    • grifter101

      Feb 4th 2009, 8:40

      On the one hand - great to see a man with conviction and principles. On the other - cheer up beard-boy!

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    • HailEris

      Feb 4th 2009, 9:08

      Alan Moore is another far-left man who was content to get rich off of middle class white American fanboys. Now that he's living comfortably he can take "moral stands" and turn down Hollywood money, and savage the industry that made him a legend. (and legitimately so, his comic work is excellent!) His sentiments about Hollywood and even the comic industry are not even that far-fetched, but when he tries to tie it to some larger point about American culture, that is where he fails miserably. His belief that America "provided most of the munitions to Hitler" is also completely ludicrous. Pre-war trading did not include munitions. You could argue synthetic rubber and ball-bearings perhaps, but not munitions. And calling 7/7 "a little bit of bother" might apply on Planet Moore, but to the rest of us, it was a terrorist attack. And this from the man who was inspired by Thatcher to write V For Vendetta, when it's the leftists in his own country who have put cameras all over the cities, have government agencies forcing people to lose weight or lose health care, have "garbage police" making sure people don't toss a milk jug in the trash, or throw away perfectly good food. Big Brother is alive in the UK Mr. Moore, and it's come from the left. Even in 1948, Orwell saw the slow slide to socialism coming. Finally, superheroes are admired because at one time they represented an ideal for the rest of us to live up to. "With great power comes great responsibility" remember? But it was Alan Moore who chose to deconstruct the super hero. Now most of our so-called "heroes" in comics are full of self-doubt and failure to the point that they are no longer flights of fancy, but depressed and childish man-boys who alternately beat things up and then cry about it later. I own many Mr. Moore's books, and enjoy them for their characters, plots, and artwork, but I feel that his ideas about America are about as sophisticated and correct as any lefty blogger's.

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    • bucktown

      Feb 4th 2009, 9:21

      George Orwell was a socialist! Look it up! He did, however, despise both Stalin and Hitler and all that they stood for.

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    • fastandbulbous

      Feb 4th 2009, 18:03

      He's just like every burnt out hippie I've ever met- grouchy! Also I think LSD makes you a megalomaniac. I love his stuff but sometimes you need to separate the artist from the artwork.

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    • Stratburst

      Feb 4th 2009, 19:21

      Here's Neil Gaiman's take on the subject: "You can learn from your experience, but you can also learn from your friends’ experience, because your friends are walking through the minefield ahead of you and you go, ‘Ah-ha, don’t tread on that. (laughs)’ "Watching for example: Alan Moore. When I first knew Alan, he was quite excited by film. And then he edged over into, ‘Just give me the cheque. I’ll have nothing to do with it but at least I’ll have the book.’ "But the trouble with that point of view – the one that says, ‘I am not getting involved’ – is you wind up with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (laughs). You wind up with a film that is such a horrible, shambling travesty of this elegant, brilliant thing that you created, and now people think that’s what you did. "And, if you’re Alan, you eventually get to the point where you say, ‘I don’t want my name on here, I don’t want the money.’" You can read the whole interview over here: http://hollywood-animated-films.suite101.com/article.cfm/neil_gaiman_on_hollywood_interview

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    • 013133810

      Feb 4th 2009, 21:14

      Actually, Moore's idea about the US providing Hitler with munitions isn't that far. There were a number of companies that did business with Nazi Germany:IBM for one. I also remember reading about a Senator being forced to resign after it was discovered the law firm that he work for did business with Hitler, his name: Prescott Bush. Alan Moore is right though, most comic book movies do suck.

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    • savagehenrylee

      Feb 11th 2009, 19:28

      I'm so thankful that are artists as intelligent and as brave as Alan Moore, to stand against the hypocrisy of modern media and culture. He gave us some of the greatest works of fiction of the 20th century, and as near as I know, never hit his wife or buggered a child. We repay him by throwing his work to Hollywood directors - pearls before swine. One of the things I've always loved about Alan Moore, is that he's an intelligent, well-spoken writer. I think that's why he doesn't keep a blog or post in forums...

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    • doncobaino

      Feb 20th 2009, 14:22

      What an inciteful read, it must have disgusted him that one of the worst movies hollywood has thrown up was based on one of his comics. LOEG- which no matter what way you look at it was terrible.

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    • albie

      Feb 23rd 2009, 12:47

      "And as Londoners, when we had that little bit of bother on the 7th July 2005 – after America had two big buildings blown up... Terrible shame, but we had a lot more than two buildings blown up during the ‘40s when America was providing most of the munitions to Hitler..." What a crock of shi*. American firms dealt with Germany before the war. Hindsight is nice and safe. Moore is misleading people with these statements.

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    • albie

      Feb 23rd 2009, 12:50

      "There’s that beautiful bit of dialogue from the cockpit video when they say, “You’ve just bombed a load of Brits.” Their pilots say, “Woah, dude, we’re going to jail.” This is the Iraq war, not Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure!" Another misleading statement. I've heard the tape, they were genuinely upset. The idea of them going to jail came up sometime after they had learnt of the mistake they made, not right after. The way beardy puts it is misleading. And how manipulative of the bearded one to make a connection with Bill and Ted. The man is a snake in the grass.

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    • albie

      Feb 23rd 2009, 12:53

      The man makes good comics, but he's a bitter fool. Posing like that in his "Do you suspect I am God? Because I do." way for every camera. He loses all credibility as a critic of America when he does that. Get real. And Glycon is nothing, btw.

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    • CountJustin

      Feb 27th 2009, 4:41

      a bitter d****e

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    • asha23

      Feb 27th 2009, 16:19

      Um... Just a thought, but surely the 1,000,000 reprints of the Watchmen comic (all of which will sell out) will add to Alan Moore's extensive coffers. Another thought... If he hates movie adaptations of his books, then why has he sold nearly every single one of them to be made into movies in the first place? I just don't get why the man doth protest so much... Surely if he mans up and contribute to movie adaptations of his books (Like Dave Gibbons did with Watchmen) then surely the movie adaptations would be far more to his liking... It all just smacks of hypocrisy... He sells his stories to movie companies for top dollar (perhaps he gives them away... I doubt it though) and then carps on about how much he hates the industry... Simple solution Alan... DON'T SELL YOUR WORK TO MOVIE COMPANIES...

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    • asha23

      Feb 27th 2009, 16:24

      1. Don't sell your comics to movie companies 2. I bet Alan isn't moaning about the revenue generated by reprinting 1,000,000 copies of Watchmen 3. Get involved in your own film adaptations.. Be an Executive Producer. Maintain quality control 4. Stop being a carping old hippy and get with the programme. 5. Create some decent comics, like you used to make in the old days. 6. Just shut up and allow us to enjoy Watchmen you bitter old man. It's bigger than you now. You just wrote it.... This doesn't make you God.

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    • notsure

      Feb 27th 2009, 21:07

      Why so serious? Some one tell Eric Roberts /w a beard to STFU. Nice of him to write something with such integrity, then sell to, eh "evil naive Americans" and then bash the people who bought it. I'm more than sure that all the people that will be buying tickets are die hard comic readers. Oh wait those folks already bought your comic and read the story. So I can only assume that your appealing to the casual market for your own profit. This is a cinematic adaptation of a comic book is it not? Odds are folks are seeing this for pretty colors not social commentary. I especially liked the part about heroes that basically "outgun" the villain... Sound like another book people keep pushing on everyone else? Perhaps the concept seems foreign since doesn't have pictures in it. Perhaps he did read it and that's what inspired his heroes that don't respond to humanities every beck and call. I was going to matinee this one but after reading this I'll most likely obtain a screener copy. It only appealed to me as a trailer because of angst-y music and the same flashy tired treatment that makes me see another graphic novel interpretation or any Tim Burton movie. All with the same result; Lamenting wasted time and the desire to gouge my eyes out as penance. Do us Yanks a solid and judge us buy our diversity and not the stupidity of our leaders. As I'm sure you have agreed with everything your administration has done. Leave the flea market jewelry at home as it might get caught in your Hagrid beard when you go to stroke your ego and go have one of those warm pints your so fond of.

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    • BeefOven

      Mar 3rd 2009, 11:53

      You spoke of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in a negative context. I don't think we can be friends any moore

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    • thepete

      Mar 15th 2009, 1:04

      All this criticism of Hollywood from a guy who takes every photo like he's a rock star? "Hang on, let me take this one with sunglasses on!" Oh yeah and no British super-heroes? I'll give you no men in tights, but what about Doctor Who? Captain Scarlet? Thunderbirds? James Bond? Don't forget that America comes from British stock, bub. Our imperial spirit is genetically inherited from the last great western empire--YOURS. That said, "Watchmen" is one of my favorite books ever and the movie was actually pretty enjoyable, even for a purist like me. You might be surprised if you went and saw it. And I agree that Hollywood does suck, but it will ALWAYS suck if someone doesn't try to change it.

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    • aquaman78

      Mar 15th 2009, 18:37

      Yeah, this guy is a total fart sniffer. I am sooo sick of hearing whiny Brits telling Americans what they are or what we think. Are there lame Americans? Absolutely. Policies that benefit "Corporate America"? Absolutely. But the British have become the ultimate hypocrites. Just because the world has passed the UK by and are they become the equivolent to middle management in world politics, it's not all right for any other nation to ensure their nations safety and prosperity, because they no longer control the world's destiny.What's funny is that all these leftist Brits try soo hard to make it seem like their little, insignificant nation is somehow relevant, or even more laughable, innocent of crimes against humanity. To sit there and act like the British are some sort of community of martyrs and not one of the biggest profiteers of other peoples suffering is outrageous. The United States and its people have a looong way to go before they can even be considered in the same neighborhood of British imperialism. If the Brits were able to, they would still be operating their nefarious imperialism on the world and these leftist Brits would rationalize it just like most Americans do with their governments actions throughout the world.Moore is guilty of "when in doubt, blame American Imperialism". How uncreative. What a fool he is for associating the complete lack of creativity in Hollywood(with which I generally agree) with American Imperialism. What a stretch.

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    • Lolli

      Jul 10th 2009, 7:50

      Hahaha! Well, thats a simplified view of the world if I ever heard one...almost as if we were in a comic book!! First of all, talented as the man is, there are plenty of Hollywood writers that are more talented then he is. There are uncreative films in Hollywood, but why are we judging by the worst? Hollywood is still an incredible institution, and are responsible for all of my favorite films. The guy is just like a PC billboard. The whole James Bond thing is easy to explain tho. I think the guy is simply dead set against a successful heterosexual. Sure that sounds silly, but look at him?

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    • adamcochran

      Jul 10th 2009, 13:04

      where he was asking why people dont make their own superheroes i think its because there are no more original superheroes to be made, marvel with their vast amount of powers makes it hard to come up with new powers, DC with their more realistic superheroes like batman and watchmen now with their gritty style of crime fighting, its real hard to even think of a new superhero before researching the guy youll make and finding out...damn its been done

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