12:47pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Watchmen': Jeremy Irons to Lead Cast of HBO's Damon Lindelof Pilot
HBO has found the leading man for its highly anticipated take on Watchmen.
Oscar and Emmy winner Jeremy Irons has been tapped to topline the pilot from Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers).
While the pay cabler has remained mum on character details for Watchmen, Irons will likely play an aging and imperious lord of a British manor.
Lindelof's take on Alan Moore's comic series is set in an alternate history where "superheroes" are treated as outlaws. Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original trailblazing graphic novel while attempting to break ground of its own. Lindelof penned the script and executive produces alongside Tom Spezialy and Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers), the latter of whom will direct the pilot. The project hails from Lindelof's White Rabbit banner and Warner Bros. Television.
Irons joins previously announced Watchmen castmembers Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens and Andrew Howard.
Irons' credits include his Emmy-winning role in HBO's Elizabeth I, his Oscar-winning role in 1990's Reversal of Fortune and Showtime's The Borgias. He is repped by CAA.
"Those original 12 issues [of Watchmen] are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along, it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with Watchmen," Lindelof wrote this week. "The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica. To be clear. Watchmen is canon. … We are not making a 'sequel' either. This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built. … But in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. … Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them."
Lindelof originally read the 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 a 2009 interview ahead of Zack Snyder's critically panned feature take. Lindelof at the time praised Snyder's film: "It's the most married-to-the-original-text version of Watchmen that could've been made," he told The Observer. "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."
Deadline was first to report the casting.