By Amy Ryan
Updated August 04, 2020 at 11:05 AM EDT
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For 21 years, Watchmen fans have probably been casting the film version of the classic Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel in their minds, but now, just in time for Comic-Con, we have the official announcement about who will star as Moore’s costumed crimefighters in the forthcoming version that Zack Snyder (300) is directing. According to the Hollywood Reporter, our heroes are Jackie Earle Haley as the foul-tempered Rorschach, Matthew Goode (the handsome, tennis-playing aristocrat of Match Point) as hero-turned-pitchman Ozymandias, Billy Crudup as nuclear-powered superhero Dr. Manhattan, Patrick Wilson (Evening) as nerdy tech-wizard Nite Owl, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Denny) as cynical mercenary The Comedian, and Malin Akerman (pictured) as second-generation heroine and Nite Owl love-interest Silk Spectre.

Now, I probably wouldn’t have cast any of these actors, if only because most of them seem too young to be playing middle-aged (more or less) pariahs who’ve long since been forced into retirement. Maybe Snyder is casting younger for the sake of flashback scenes, and he’ll age them digitally or with makeup for the latter-day sequences. Or, maybe he just wanted good-looking, marketable, sexy faces. (And inexpensive ones, too, to save money that will be needed for special effects.) That would explain the casting of Akerman, probably best known for sly sexpot roles like Harold and Kumar’s almost-fling (thwarted by disgusting hubby Christopher Meloni), or E’s threesome crush on Entourage, but not yet for anything like the dramatic, emotional arc she’ll have in Watchmen (Silk Spectre has a lot of baggage). Nite Owl is supposed to have gone soft and flabby; that hardly describes the buff Wilson, as anyone who saw his athletic, often shirtless Little Children performance can attest. Goode still seems too wet behind the ears to play Ozymandias, who becomes a powerful tycoon after hanging up his cape. Morgan also seems too green to play his role, a battle-hardened, cigar-chomping, middle-aged man of action. (If Robert Rodriguez were directing this movie, this would have been the place for one of his trademark Bruce Willis cameos. Me, I’d have picked someone like Ray Winstone.)

addCredit(“Malin Akerman: Jeffrey Mayer/”)

Still, I’m happy about Crudup, a chamelonic actor who’ll face a realchallenge playing Dr. Manhattan, and not just because he’ll have toshave off all his body hair, paint his skin blue, and run around in thebuff. The harder task, which I’m confident that the skilled actor canhandle, will be playing a being whose powers are so godlike that he’slost touch with the hopes, fears, and dreams of ordinary humans. AndI’m especially happy about Haley, whose Oscar-nominated performancelast year opposite Wilson in Little Children proved he can play the brooding, intense, violent Rorschach without losing audience sympathy.

Think you could have done a better casting job? Do tell.

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