The Watchmen team standing together in Watchmen movie.

Tom Cruise’s Dream Role in ‘Watchmen’ Is Certainly a Choice!

The “heroes” of Watchmen work because many of us want to unpack what makes them not really heroic—one of the best examples being Rorschach. Call me unhinged, but the incel nature that is typically associated with Rorschach fascinates me when analyzing these characters.

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What I wouldn’t expect would be Tom Cruise wishing to play Rorschach. A lot of the team are not people you should look up to, especially the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). But in Zack Synder’s film adaptation of the Alan Moore comic, the casting for these characters could have been very different.

Synder was on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast with host Josh Horowitz to talk about his new movie, Rebel Moon: Part Two – Scargiver and talked about the casting for Watchmen. I was but a young teenage girl when Watchmen came out, and watching as Night Owl struggled to … perform … changed my entire life. I love him, I would die for him, and it is all because of Patrick Wilson.

But Synder revealed that there were some other big names originally in play for the film. Like Tom Cruise. “I wanted Tom Cruise for Ozymandias,” Snyder said. “Tom wanted to play Rorschach, which obviously he could have done, but we had Jackie already, and Jackie’s unbelievable. I certainly would have considered Tom in retrospect, if I hadn’t had Jackie.”

He also kind of sort of confirmed that Keanu Reeves was considered for Dr. Manhattan, a role that eventually went to Billy Crudup, by talking about his wife’s (and producer’s) love of Reeves. “I think—my wife is a huge Keanu fan, she’s always bringing up Keanu for every role,” Snyder said. “So it makes sense to me that we probably talked about that. He’s probably a good [choice for] Dr. Manhattan, but [Billy] Crudup is insane.”

Rorschach is my guy though

One of my pet peeves about movies like Joker is that the narrative around it is that it highlights this toxicity in men specifically who use their “woe is me, I am a small guy” attitude as a weapon, as though it’s the first time a movie has done that. People obviously point out that Joker is basically superhero Taxi Driver, but I will go one step further and point out that we already have Rorschach.

Played by Jackie Earle Haley in Watchmen, he is our guide through the messed up world of the Watchmen team, and he will definitely give you the ick, but Jackie Earle Haley played him in such a way that even the darkest parts of Rorschach are interesting to talk about. It’s not that I think Cruise couldn’t have done that, but I don’t think my weird draw to unpacking Rorschach would exist.

In that case, I might have reacted to Watchmen in the same way I did Joker. But hey, we ended up with Jackie Earle Haley, and that’s the best! But Cruise as Ozymandias would have been very interesting indeed.

(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.