DC Animated Movie

Screenwriter Alex Tse Bandies “Watchmen: Tales Of The Black Freighter” Animated Feature

Press Release:


From comic to feature film to animated short story, screenwriter Alex Tse has played an essential role in helping transition Watchmen beyond its initial incarnation.

Ironically, when it came to bringing the graphic novels classic story-within-a-story, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, Tse wrote the screenplay without knowing what that final incarnation would be.

Black Freighter went through a lot of incarnations we talked about doing it live-action, then 300 green screen-style, then we decided it would be animated so I wrote it without a firm idea of the format, said Tse, who had not previously written for animation. I guess I just didnt treat it any differently than any writing project I normally undertake. And Im guessing this was probably like nothing I ever will work on again.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter is the story-within-the-story of Watchmen, revolving around a mariner who is marooned on a distant island after his ship is attacked by the infamous pirate ship, the Black Freighter. He begins to imagine the Black Freighter setting sail for his hometown and attacking his family and engages in a desperate mission to return home and save his wife and children. Along the way, fear and desperation begin to play tricks with his mind, and rob the mariner of his sanity leading him to commit atrocities of his own as he tries to stop the marauding pirates. As told within the Watchmen graphic novel, the story acts as a distorted mirror image of the Watchmen super heroes’ plight.

In the book, I think it was written as a parallel to the Watchmen story with one major difference, Tse said. In Black Freighter, the sea captain thinks everything he is doing is for a good purpose. But then he realizes, no matter how well intentioned his acts have been, he has done some horrible things. In Watchmen, even though Adrian Veidt says he realizes the consequences of his actions and that he has made himself feel each death he has caused, he never seems to express that pain or sorrow. Theres no real remorse for what hes done. So either he doesnt fully realize it or he just doesnt care.

Tse said he was particularly focused on keeping the tragic tale grounded in a relatable situation that would allow audiences to understand the mariners plunge toward insanity.

I am not a huge fan of movies where youre just watching someone go crazy as a viewer, its hard to connect to that idea, Tse said. You need to be able to relate to his situation, to understand why hes going insane. With Black Freighter, it was important to keep it grounded in the cause of his madness. Hes been through a traumatic experience, hes alone, and now hes doing anything he can to get back to his home and save his family. So when he does these horrible, crazy things, you know hes doing it to try and save what is dearest to him. An audience can understand that situation.

Produced in association with Legendary Pictures, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter is executive produced by Watchmen director Zack Snyder, Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder, Thomas Tull and Wesley Coller.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter features the voices of Gerard Butler (300) and Jared Harris (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and is directed by Daniel DelPurgatorio and Mike Smith and written by Tse and Zack Snyder. Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter is produced by Brian McNulty and Karen Mayeda Vranek.

Click on the links below to discuss both the new Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter animated feature and the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter DVD/Blu-ray Talkback (Spoilers)

New Images From Animated “Watchmen: Tales Of The Black Freighter,” Now Available

Above is the cover art for both the Blu-ray release of the direct-to-video Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter animated feature. The title is also available on DVD. Warner Home Video has provided the following official details on this new direct-to-video release, as seen below.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter
Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 24th, 2009

Synopsis: They’re in the book. And on this disc. From the director of Watchmen and 300 come two tales from the celebrated graphic novel that do not appear in the extraordinary Watchmen Theatrical Feature. Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, featuring the voice of 300‘s Gerard Butler, brings to strikingly animated life the novels richly layered story-within-a-story, a daring pirate saga whose turbulent events may mirror those in the Watchmen’s world. Also, stars from the Watchmen movie team in the amazing live-action/CGI bonus feature Under the Hood, based on Nite Owls powerful first-hand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence. Two fan-essential stories. One place to watch the excitement. Watching the Watchmen begins here.

Bonus Features:
Watchmen: Under the Hood Bonus Feature
Watchmen: Story Within the Story Featurette
Watchmen: Motion Comic – Chapter One
Green Lantern: First Flight First Look

Click on the links below to discuss both the new Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter animated feature and the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter DVD/Blu-ray Talkback (Spoilers)

In related news, Warner Home Video has released three hi-res images from the Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter direct-to-video animated feature. Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look.

Stay tuned for updates on upcoming home video releases.

The DTV That Could Have Been – “Batman: Asylum”

Countless projects are shut down at various stages of production. Whether it’s just after the initial idea pitch or early into design work, etc., some productions just aren’t able to make it for one reason or another. This is a brief look at Batman: Asylum, a Direct-To-Video feature that could have been.

After the success of the 1998 direct-to-video feature Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, Warner Bros. Animation commissioned a new Batman DTV. Boyd Kirkland was slated to produce and Steven E. Gordon (X-Men: Evolution) was set to work on character design. The movie was dubbed Batman: Asylum. What made this project unique was that Kirkland was able to convince Warner Bros. Animation to allow all the characters to be redesigned from scratch for the project.

However, Batman: Asylum was eventually canceled and scrapped in lieu of the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker DTV. Thankfully, the character design work is available to view on Steve E. Gordon’s website. Below are two images of two of the redesigns Gordon did for the canceled movie. Click on the images below for a closer look.

For more Batman: Asylum images, head over to the official Steven E. Gordon website.
Thanks to Steven E. Gordon for his assistance.

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