The heavily anticipated action film, The Watchmen, opens today. I’ve been reading and listening to tons of reviews of it because a.) I am a fan of the graphic novel, and b.) I am friends with one of its’ stars, Jackie Earle Haley. He is married to a good friend of mine’s sister, Amelia, and frequently when they come into town from San Antonio, we all go out to dinner. Jackie plays the masked anti-hero, Rorschach, and is being singled out across the board for his performance. I find this tremendously inspiring. He was a child actor and teen star in the 70’s (”The Bad News Bears” and ”Breaking Away”) and then worked sporatically in the 90s, finally moving to San Antonio to produce corporate videos when the rest of the work dried up. In 2006, his luck changed. He appeared in two films. And for his incredible portrayal of a just-released pedophile in Little Children, he was nominated for an academy award.
That’s it right? Success. You can’t get higher than that right? Your career path is now set, you are back from inobscurity. Well, no. Not in this case. For The Watchman, Jackie knew he was right for Rorschach, but the studio wanted movie stars. O God, movie stars. Jackie called in some friends, they made a crude Rorschach costume, and he made an audition tape in his house. He sent it to his agent and told him to get it seen. Well, it was, and I think that we all know what happened after that. I have yet to see the film. I really want to see it at the Alamo, and it will probably be sold out for a while. In every review I’ve heard of the film, and they haven’t all been favorable, no one has anything but glowing praise for Haley’s performance, singling out the scene where the mask comes off as being the most psychologically compelling moment of the film. I’m glad that the world is seeing that face. Hopefully, this time, they will remember it.