The Hollywood trades are all reporting the cast for Zack Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen graphic novel.  Although a number of big name stars including Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise and Jude Law had all expressed interest in participating in the project, Warner Brothers' determination to keep costs down evidently discouraged the big name thespians.  Billy Crudup will portray the enigmatic (and godlike) Dr. Manhattan, the only character with 'real' superpowers and the role that Keanu Reeves supposedly coveted, while it will be Matthew Goode, not Jude Law, in the crucial role of Ozymandias. 


Jeffrey Dean Morgan will play the twisted Vietnam vet known as The Comedian, with Milan Ackerman taking on the key female role of the Silk Spectre, and Patrick Wilson putting on the padding in order to portray the Nite Owl, a victim of middle-age spread.  Ace character actor Jackie Earle Haley will assay the key role of Rorschach.


Filming of this long-delayed project, which has been in development for years and had attracted a procession of directors including Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, and Paul Greenglass, is set to begin this fall.  Zach Snyder, who apparently has succeeded where so many helmers have failed, plans to shoot Watchmen using the green screen technique he used on 300 -- a method of shooting which along with the film's relatively modest casting costs should keep the film's budget at a level where Warners feels the dark superhero saga has a chance to be very profitable.


Moore and Gibbon's Watchmen has been justly described as 'The Great Gatsby of graphic novels,' because like Fitzgerald's masterpiece it combines huge continuing sales with real literary merit.  Needless to say a solid Watchmen movie could result in the Watchmen graphic novel ending up as the #1 best-selling graphic novel of 2008 (or whatever year the movie is released in--Moore's V for Vendetta enjoyed that kind of success in the wake of its movie adaptation in 2006).