"He's made it very clear that he doesn't want to have any association or affiliation with 'Watchmen' ongoing and that we not use his name to get people to watch it," Lindelof says of Moore.
It's no surprise or shock to anyone who's followed Alan Moore's career as a comic book writer that he would disavow and distance himself as much as possible from Damon Lindelof's upcoming HBO adaptation of his seminal "Watchmen" series, including Lindelof himself.
Nevertheless, the showrunner is forging full steam ahead with a heart "f--k you!" to Moore. He shared the expletive expression with reports at the Television Critics Association on Wednesday, but it wasn't meant necessarily as a dig to Moore, but rather a strange sort of tribute.
"Alan Moore is a genius, in my opinion, the greatest writer in the comic medium and maybe the greatest writer of all time," Lindelof said. "He's made it very clear that he doesn't want to have any association or affiliation with 'Watchmen' ongoing and that we not use his name to get people to watch it, which I want to respect."
And yet, he also says it's been "an ongoing wrestling match," per Entertainment Weekly. He made "personal overtures" to the famously reclusive author in an effort to elicit his support for this latest adaptation of Moore's series with artist David Gibbons, but to no avail.
And yet, in Moore's very refusal to be involved or throw his support behind Lindelof's latest television project, the "Lost" co-creator has found a strange motivation to forge ahead.
"I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you would tell Alan Moore, a teenage Moore in '85 or '86, 'You're not allowed to do this because Superman's creator or Swamp Thing's creator doesn't want you to do it,' he would say, 'F--k you, I'm doing it anyway,'" Lindelof explained. "So I'm channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, 'F--k you, I'm doing it anyway.'"
Lindelof also admitted to his own trepidation at playing in one of his hero's sandboxes. "I went through a very intense period of terror of f--ing it up. I'm not entirely sure I'm out of that tunnel. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for this. I had to separate myself a little bit from this incredible reverence to take risks."
Described by many as the greatest superhero comic book series of all time, "Watchmen" explores an alternate reality where superheroes have existed since the 1940s in a world tilting toward World War III in the mid-1980s.
Lindelof's story shifts the action to the present day in a world where vigilantism is outlawed, but it is a world built on Moore's original series. "Everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with. We were married to it. There is no rebooting it," Lindelof insisted.
Rather, Lindelof is building on it and like the original, he is exploring some of the biggest political and social issues of today. "What in 2019 is the equivalent of the nuclear standoff between the Americans and the Russians?" he asked. "It is race and the police."
But he also admitted "there is no defeating white supremacy -- it's not going away, admitting that his show will offer no "easy answers and grandiose solutions."
Moore broke into the American comic book industry in a huge way in the 1980s, deconstructing DC's "Swamp Thing" series, offering what many consider to be the best "last story" ever written for Superman in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" and redefining the Joker with what some consider his most definitive origin in "Batman: The Killing Joke."
Several of his projects have received the big-screen treatment, including "Watchmen" a decade ago, as well as "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "V for Vendetta" and "From Hell," and Moore has effectively despised and attempted to distance himself from every one of them. This latest adaptation looks to be no different, despite Lindelof's wishes.
The television adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" is set to premiere on HBO in October.