'Watchmen' Enlists 'The Leftovers' Favorite to Direct Pilot

Nicole Kassell will reunite with Damon Lindelof on the HBO take of the beloved graphic novel.
Courtesy of DC Comics; Courtesy of HBO
Nicole Kassell

Damon Lindelof is enlisting a familiar face to direct the Watchmen pilot.

Nicole Kassell, who helmed a pair of episodes of Lindelof's The Leftovers, has been tapped to direct the pilot for the prolific showrunner's adaptation of Alan Moore's beloved graphic novel.

Picked up to pilot in September, Lindelof is writing the script and executive producing the potential series via his Warner Bros. Television-based White Rabbit banner. Kassell will also exec produce on top of directing.

Kassell directed two key episodes of HBO's The Leftovers: season two's "No Room at the Inn" and season three's "It's a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World," which The Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman selected as one of the 10 best episodes of 2017. She directed the pilot for TNT's Claws and counts helming work on HBO's Westworld and Vinyl, FX's The Americans and AMC's Better Call Saul, as well as the finales for ABC's American Crime and the upcoming Hulu J.J. Abrams/Stephen King anthology Castle Rock. On the feature side, Kassell's directing credits include The Woodsman, which she co-wrote with Steven Farber. She is repped by WME, Management 360 and Frankfurt Kurnit.

Lindelof originally read the Watchmen comics as a kid in the 1980s and has said that the series continues to influence his work. "From the flashbacks to the nonlinear storytelling to the deeply flawed heroes, these are all elements that I try to put into everything I write," he said in 2009 ahead of the feature-film take. Lindelof has read Watchmen multiple times and, at the time, praised director Zack Snyder's film. "It's the most married-to-the-original-text version of Watchmen that could've been made," he said. "I want to keep it sort of insular," Lindelof said, referring to the multiple translations that have come from trying to translate the source material. "It's OK with me if people don't understand it because they don't deserve to understand it."

First published in 1986 and collected in 1987, Watchmen was created by Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins. The series was named one of the 100 best novels by Time magazine. Rumors of HBO tackling Watchmen first surfaced in 2015, when the pay cabler noted it was in preliminary discussions for a TV take on the property.